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Join the Club – What Car Clubs Can Offer the Auto Enthusiast
If you love a particular type of automobile – especially if you own one – you’ve probably considered joining one of the thousands of auto clubs around the country. There are a lot of benefits to belonging to a car club, from socializing and gaining resources connected to your favorite car, to the innumerable charity events in which the car clubs participate.
Fun and games with car clubs
People started forming car clubs back when the automobile first gained popularity. In fact, the earliest auto clubs served an important function, helping motorists find out which roads they could drive their “horseless carriages” on, sharing tips on good roadhouses and hotels, and helping each other plan trips around visits to this newfangled thing called the “gas station.” Some car clubs – most notably the Automobile Association of America (AAA) – still offer these services, but most are devoted to celebrating specific types of cars, from Model Ts to modern sports cars.
At their most basic, auto clubs offer an opportunity for like-minded people to get together and talk about the vehicles they love. Most clubs have regular meetings, and most put on at least one car show or “cruise-in” each year. But many auto clubs offer the chance to do a lot more, like participate in a long distance car rally. Your club could arrange for a special group discount to an automotive museum, or finagle a tour of the facilities of a major car manufacturer. You and your club could drive your classic cars in a hometown parade, or donate them to present the homecoming court on your local high school football field.
A great place for nuts and bolts information
Maybe you’d like to do something a little more, well, racy. Groups like the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) host racing events all across the country, and small local clubs often organize friendly races for their particular car type at local tracks and fairgrounds. Good-natured competition also comes to play with road rallies and “poker runs” sponsored by various car clubs, often for charity. If your passions lie in the muddier aspects of driving, there are car clubs for off-road enthusiasts, with members getting together to enjoy their sport.
Once you’ve joined, fellow club members can help you track down and purchase parts and accessories, or even restored vehicles. They can give you advice on current market values, point you to experienced restorers, and trade knowledge on maintenance, insurance, detailing and authenticity.
You can really have pride in your chosen car when your auto clubs gets together for an informal cruise, stopping bystanders in their tracks as 20 or 30 gleaming cars cruise down your town’s main drag. Cruises are a great way to meet fellow car enthusiasts, to hear their stories of the great cars their father or uncle had, and to share the excitement of restoring a vintage automobile. Some people forge lasting friendships, even going so far as to plan family vacations around cruises and conventions.
If you love cars, then auto clubs are a terrific resource. Many clubs have members who are experts on specific makes and models, and clubs often have informal libraries of information that club members can use to research everything from authentic accessories to original paint colors. For the true car enthusiast, auto clubs are a wonderful way to make friends, learn about cars and enjoy a great, family-friendly hobby.