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Hot Rods the rise & demise of car clubs over the years

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by HOTRODPRIMER, Jan 13, 2019.

  1. I used to belong to the local volunteer fire dept. And I can be abrasive and willnever win any popularity contest. They tolerated me because I could fix the old fire trucks they started out with. thn they got grant money and more modern equipt . and began having rigged elections and electing captians ect. Then they wanted to charge everyone in the area a yearly fee. Tried to make it mandatory. and I protested and stated I would see them in court. So I left. You can buy a yearly Subscription on a voluntary basis. but if your not a member they will charge $500 to come if your have a fire. I told them all my stuff is paid for. If it catches on fire don't come let it burn down. The woman who lives just south of my other place had a electrical fire. And they are much older than me. And she didn't call the Fire Dept. She called me. I went and first thing pulled the electric meter. and then addressed the fire. Rats had chewed some wiring. Someone not the owners had called the fire dept. I had the fire out and was waiting on the electric coop to come and reinstall the meter before they showed up. boy where they mad. Its all about folks wanting to be big shots and boss other folks.
  2. Two meetings a week? that's 104 meetings a year if you attended every one, you wasn't fooling about being gong ho !

    Maybe our second Thursday night meeting once a month might be the reason for our longevity. :D HRP
  3. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 5,868


    Hot rods have some tough competition, these days. Let's see... you could buy an old vehicle that's got questionable (traditional?) modifications/fabrication, less power, less comfort, that comes with a bunch of rules (if you buy it and share making it your own, online)... OR you could buy a modern car that makes 3x the horsepower w/ half the cylinders which can be bought on credit and driven in comfort and without issue for 75k+ miles.

    Is it anywhere as cool? No. Is it fun? You may not think so but the masses at these shows say otherwise.

    I know a bunch of young car guys. They're into what they can afford, what their peers are into, and what's cool now. It's easy to buy a 300 hp car and drop a couple thousand into it and have 400+ and then drive it a thousand-plus miles for a road trip with your pals.

    Then, as that guy gets an itch for more, he can buy an LS-powered car and again for a few grand he can be making well over 400... and that's all bolt on and supported by hundreds of businesses.

    I think some of these cars are VERY cool and fun to drive. Yet, few have the same soul and presence as a hot rod but they're doing the same things that the original hot rodders started back in the day...
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2019
    TrailerTrashToo and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  4. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 25,498

    Jalopy Joker

    might want to change that as members age some may "pass on" paying
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  5. Fitnessguy
    Joined: Sep 28, 2015
    Posts: 1,443


    sometimes i wonder if it's easier in a smaller town like yours. I ran a ball club in my later years and the worst thing is relying on adults to show up as promised.
    mad mikey and trollst like this.
  6. Fitnessguy
    Joined: Sep 28, 2015
    Posts: 1,443


    I use the term old boys club but not meaning old guys. most of my car buddies are all older than me. I was born a couple decades too late. I just mean that one car club is super clicky and won't give anyone outside the time of day.
    Joined: Jan 20, 2019
    Posts: 1


    The current mind-set of the younger demographic of car owners guides their lack of interest in classic cars or in clubs. If it doesn't involve cellphones, mobile devices or rap and hip-hop, they don't want anything to do with it. Their idea of a classic car is a 14-month old Audi with a customized interior so they could install 8 16-inch sub-woofers to terrorize the normal people in their neighborhood. The glory days of car clubs are over.

    Our club has been trying for years, with no (zero) success to get new, younger members into the fold. One reason is that today's kids are growing up with little need of mechanical know-how. Have a problem? Find an app to fix it. They can tweak and finagle their precious little wireless routers and gaming consoles to work perfectly; as long as it doesn't involve turning a wrench, it's a beautiful day. One of our members just the other day told a story about how he was working on his classic and asked his grandson go underneath and pass him up a bolt. "Sorry, I don't go under cars" was the response.

    Our entire membership body is now all at or past retirement age. We have been a club for 35 years this year, and most likely this will be last year we will hold our weekly cruise nights. We are getting to old to perform all that is needed to make the cruises work, several members have passed away and there is no reason to expect that the crowds we draw will have drivers who wish to join because they also are of the same age and related problems. Personally, I saw this coming 10 years ago and suggested we retire the club at the end of our 25th annual cruise season while we could do so with a great legacy behind us rather than quitting because we're physically not able to continue. 10 years and we could not engage ANY younger members.

    All good things come to an end. Radio and television are dying a slow death, same with newspapers and now car clubs. It had to happen eventually. If the younger folks aren't concerned with it, neither should we. Enjoy and bask in the memories of the days and years you've partaken with your club, and leave the kids to enlighten the world with their belief in a flat earth, that the moon landings never happened, that jet aircraft con-trails are actually mind-control chemicals being sprayed down on us, that the Sandy Hook massacre never happened, and that all science is a lie.
  8. The Throttlers of Hollywood and The Oilers from San Diego area were early clubs, also GCRC of Glendale, before them there were several "Timing Associations" with plaques from before WWII Here's the link to the club plaque site:
  9. lumpy 63
    Joined: Aug 2, 2010
    Posts: 1,319

    lumpy 63

    I just hang out with a bunch of guys on the weekends , we help each other with our Hot Rods , bullshit and eat lunch together...Everybody has their strengths and weakness's in different skills IE chassis work , engines , wiring , paint etc. We like racing and daily driving our cars. Pretty sure if we called it a club it would turn to shit in a hurry.
    Chavezk21, Hombre, rockable and 4 others like this.
  10. I'm afraid you have summed it up quiet eloquently, the age of guys in car clubs determines how much longer they will exist. HRP
    mad mikey likes this.
  11. oliver westlund
    Joined: Dec 19, 2018
    Posts: 773

    oliver westlund

    maybe...i have 3 new members this week though, one mid 40s guy, one 30 yr old, and one late 20s, we have a guy whos 25, our goal is to have a few high schoolers before the year is out, just folks working on cars together, raising some funds to help here and there, kicking back as much as we can to the local schools, putting on events. we are super new but all members so far have been working on cars for years, as long as we all get along idk why we cant continue for a long run
  13. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 11,753

    from Raytown Mo

    Only been 18-19 years since that photo haha
  14. Read through this and have to toss in my two cents. As one young guys (currently 26) the landscape of clubs is a evolving thing not really dying out. True the clubs full of vintage tin is slowly going away, car clubs in its base form are still going on. I am currently the President of the Columbia River Camaro Club out of Portland Oregon. The club has been around since the early 80's and has seen the ups and downs of most clubs. We currently have 80 members (40-50 super active though) we still do garage days, nice long drives and host car shows to fundraise for local charities. The old hot rod based clubs around here have gotten where they all go to the little cruise ins to get their trophies and that's it. I looked at joining one those clubs but was snubbed or looked down at due based on my young age at most of the clubs I talked to, so a lot of the older clubs are dying out because they don't want the younger crowd in their clubs. Mainly because the younger crowd doesn't want to sit at "Insert grocery store" parking lot every weekend to win a cheap trophy.

    Now the younger generation are forming clubs or "teams" or "crews" as I have heard it at the few tuner type shows I have attended. The problem I have seen with these groups is that they are super loose and poorly organized and most are very rude to anyone outside of their "click". I think the era of the organized clubs are going away, hope to be proven wrong though.
    chevy57dude and oliver westlund like this.
  15. oliver westlund
    Joined: Dec 19, 2018
    Posts: 773

    oliver westlund

    THAT is why i started my own club! uphill battle but i wanted to get a bunch of guys together who enjoy this! who can be friends or at least friendly. lend a hand, lend a part, whatever. i like a wide range of cars although i do have a love affair with 40s and 50s rods. our club isnt limited by what you drive and is a lot more about having the same interests. we exclude bad attitudes. not saying you cant give a guy a light ribbing about this or that but no shaming or running a guy down if he puts super lame wheels on his car lol if he thinks its cool thats good enough. THATS THE WHOLE POINT. I dont build cars for anybody to enjoy but me so i really dont care if you hate it. i appreciate compliments though haha. ps good to see another young oregon car guy on here!
    Hombre likes this.
  16. Clik
    Joined: Jul 1, 2009
    Posts: 1,881


    So, how do you get a news letter out or mailers for schedule of events with no dues?
  17. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,980

    from SW Wyoming

    I have one observation to share, and that is to say when clubs try to become a service group, and raise signifigant amounts of money, is when I have seen problems, and some of those were huge problems, develop. I wouldn't mind joining a club whose sole focus was cars (and trucks). If I want to give service back to the community, I would rather join a service group. Too many egomaniacs and paranoics rear up when dollars are involved, and I don't like either one of those types.
    Hombre, mad mikey and TrailerTrashToo like this.
  18. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,751


    When I first got into hot rods and customs 20 years ago (!) I met a good group of guys in a local club called the Hellcats. Young guys around my age that had some old cars that were doing their best to make them look cool and run hard. It was a good entry point for me since I had no family with any automotive experience, and we all kind of learned together. Some guys in the club were really talented and other guys, not so much. But it was fun. As time wore on, it became a bunch of bullshit club drama, especially since the self-proclaimed leader was a big personality who was not particularly tolerant of divergent ideas. It dragged on like that for a few years with guys trying to hold onto some "rockabilly" lifestyle. I was in college, had plans to go to grad school, and wasn't going to let that bullshit drag me down, so I opted out and haven't been part of a club since.

    For myself, I don't really give a shit if I belong to anyone's group or not. Many of the guys I was in the club with as a kid are guys I'm still very close with. But in my mind I associate a lot of these clubs with the Rebel-without-a-cause wannabe, rockabilly badass lifestyle which I think is a pile of horseshit. I started to realize that the builders I respected the most didn't look like Mike Ness or Brian Setzer, but instead looked like regular people and just happened to love custom cars and be talented as hell. Whether my jeans are cuffed or my lack of tattoos has zero bearing on my knowledge of custom cars or the the construction thereof, and I don't need to belong to some exclusive social group to enjoy what I can just do on my own. I still hang out with my old friends from the club, they're still working on cars, and now we can bring our wives and kids out to enjoy the fun with us, with no stupid affiliation to cause drama.
  19. The Bomber
    Joined: Dec 10, 2005
    Posts: 528

    The Bomber
    from mass.

    Been a long time member of a car club. A lot of member changes have happened over the years , some got plain disinterested in cars along with at meetings there's always an idiot or two that drive out existing or potential members with their BS turning everything into a big pissing contest, also happened at another club i was in. Couple of guys want to keep it at pre- 48 cars,others argue we have to add later years to attract younger guys or guys who just aren't comfortable in the smaller ,older cars. There is another factor, being in the Northeast, in winter a lot of the older members go to Florida ( can you blame them?) ,along with present day overcrowded traffic conditions, making driving a good distance to a meeting during rush hour a chore, especially for a one hour meeting with hardly any members attending. The clubs who get together for a cruise or coffee , etc. have the edge... no meetings, no BS, etc.
  20. buikwag
    Joined: Apr 21, 2005
    Posts: 472

    1. Buick Nailheads

    The internet using emails to all members.

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
  21. After 47 years and all our members are reaching retirement or retired we just don't want to host shows anymore, some of our members don't travel like they use to but we still have a few that do.

    Every year we pass the hat for local charities like meals on wheels, we have one meeting a month and we still use Roberts rules and I am the President and have been for a good number of years, probably because no one wants to be an I get railroaded but don't mind,you guys know I can talk.

    We have a VP, secretary that sends out e-mails and treasurer.

    And after 46 years we finally have a club plaque. :D HRP

  22. As some of you may know, I grew up in SoCal in the 50's and early 60's. I always thought that the car club's of that era were pretty cool although I never belonged to any of them. Time warp to the year 2000, this was when I bought my very first brand new Harley, I had owned many over the years but this was the first new one. At that time, included in the price was a free one year membership to the Harley Owners Group and I also joined the local chapter. It didn't take long to realize that this wasn't a club but more of a donation collecting group, they always had their hand out expecting you to contribute to one thing or another. I never renewed my membership!

    In 2011 the opportunity arose to play Faith Grangers movie "The Deuce of Spades" in our theater, we did a cruise in as well as a "one time" showing of her movie. The local car club, of which I knew several of the members, were a very large part in helping with the advertising and assisting me in crowd control on the day of the show. So, when I was asked to join their club, I couldn't very well refuse. Now, as I mentioned, I knew several of the members and a few of them were and still are friends. None of them, about 40 total, shared my love of a "traditional hot rod" or custom. Most of the members were into stock restored cars and those that did have modified cars were in to the bling and strange combinations of styling from differing eras. Nice people, one and all, but their idea of a great time is to sit in a parking lot somewhere in their lawn chairs with their hoods up. After 2 years, I dropped out, this just wasn't my idea of fun times!

    I suspect that this kind of activity, or lack there of, is the main reason for the decline in car clubs. It is simply boring! I would love to see a more traditional kind of club, a group where everyone shares the same interest like the car clubs of the past. I imagine that I'm not the only one that shares this view as shown by the popularity of the Hamb. There are a lot of younger people that have the same passion for the "traditional" stuff as us old farts, I see them at the Hamb Drags, StrayKat 500, Hot Rod Dirt Drags and the Hot Rod Hill Climb. There has to be something more to it then sitting in a lawn chair in a parking lot!
    Hombre, trollst and oliver westlund like this.
  23. greg32
    Joined: Jun 21, 2007
    Posts: 2,064

    from Indiana

    I'm a member of Vintage Tin. This year is the club's 50th Anniversary. Which we will celebrate at the 50th Nats in Louisville. This club started with pre 48 only, and you had to build your own car. That's where the club thing came in. What a group of talented guys. Body men, machinists,welders, painters,chassis builders, etc. Everybody helped everybody. It's evolved like everything else, late models allowed, guys buying cars. But, a lot of this group is getting older. Have a few second generation guys, and some newer, like me. No one wants to run it full time, so we have four presidents per year. Works great. Our 50 bucks a year dues buys pizza/snacks at the meetings. I probably eat that much. No charity fund raising. Some local events, but our deal is the road trips. Gotta drive em. In the end, it's fun hanging with like minded guys, and having the network of talent we have.
    Hombre, oliver westlund and 1stGrumpy like this.
  24. I've been adopted into a couple of different car clubs around the country (because of my work) and the results were very favorable. They're usually the type where there's not much structure, but one guy usually heads things up. He's the one that says, "I'm going to such and such car show this weekend, who wants to go with me?" And about 6-8 guys chime in and we all go.

    The one that stands out the most was last winter when the Colorado Springs Rod and Custom guys took me in and gave me some direction after my wife passed. I really enjoyed their fellowship and I was able to refocus my life and get going again. Thanks guys! :cool:
    Chavezk21, Hombre, e1956v and 4 others like this.
  25. exterminator
    Joined: Apr 21, 2006
    Posts: 1,521


    I joined a well know car club in San Berdoo in 73 when it just started. Here I was a young GI with three young kids, a model a roadster, and not much money, I enjoyed the club and people at first. Awhile later, the club had guys who joined and believed that the cars should be high quality and few looked down on my car since it wasn't a show car. After a period of time - I dropped out. I still drove my car around and enjoyed it so it wasn't a big deal. Then 1987 I moved up to the High desert and met another fellow hot rodder who lived a few miles away and we later started our own roadster club who had no rules no dues and it was fun. All you had to do is own a roadster. Did not matter how fixed up it was- a car to have fun with. I really enjoyed the club! Oh yeah, everyone of us were president and it said president on our plaques. we had someone design our club shirt and jackets. I still have my plaque and jacket from my first club and use to think of putting that on a hunk of junk and driving it around. Never did it though . LOL Exterminator
  26. oliver westlund
    Joined: Dec 19, 2018
    Posts: 773

    oliver westlund

    i think the way around those issues is having well laid out plans as well as books any member can ask to see at any time. our plan is to nominate worthy causes ie our local booster club or the fund raiser the high school does for the childrens hospital, or something of that nature, then we take a club vote on what we donate to. we have a separate account used only for the club. and club events. having a group of guys who get along and trust each other is a big part, voting on everything and being transparent is the other big part. may not work everywhere for everyone but so far we are firing on all cylinders, just got another member app late last night.
  27. Mike
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 3,518


    I think the comparison is valid. a 1970 Challenger is a bitchin' car, and I would love to own one. Also, a 1970 Challenger is simple and primitive when compared to a 2010 Challenger, and that's already a 9 year old car. I'm confident that I could do just about any repair on a '70s machine, but I do not have the desire learn the skills required to do repairs on a modern car.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2019
  28. donno
    Joined: Feb 28, 2015
    Posts: 421


    Met a guy that had some parts I needed, went to his place to pick them up. I was all ready a member of a club. He asked if I was interested in joining the club he was in, said he would SPONSOR me, and when the other members ok'd me and APPROOVED my car, I could pay t he $100 dues. RUN, Forrest, RUN!!!
    Hombre and mad mikey like this.
  29. We have roughly 80-100 members every year & about 2 or 3 are under 30.
    Our car shows look like a retirement home picnic.
    This hobby is so expensive that most young guys don't even consider owning a special interest car.
    My two kids are exactly the same.
    Later in life, once the kids grow up & leave & the bank account fattens up a little, us old guys want to try & rediscover our youth.
    The first thing I did was go out & buy a car/project.
    Glad to be back in the hobby but it's definitely not getting cheaper.
  30. ChuckleHead_Al
    Joined: Mar 29, 2004
    Posts: 1,842


    Money in clubs humm dumb idea, you're just asking for trouble, anything with officers/president is stupid. It should be about quality people and cars not the amount of members you have. These clubs with hundreds of members don't even know one another yet they fly the same plaque. The main reason I can see younger people not getting into this hobbie/lifestyle is because it's getting so damn unaffordable. If you're just letting people into your club just because, buddy your club won't be around long.

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