I never thought I would be a member of a car club. When I was growing up, I didn’t work on cars. My dear dad made sure I knew how to change a tire, and taught me how to drive a stick-shift, but that was about all I could do. So why am I celebrating ten years as a proud member of the Beaver Chapter of the Model A Ford Clubs of America (MAFCA)? Let me tell you how car clubs entered my life, and let you know why it has been great for our family.
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Here’s How it All Started
During February of 2008, my husband was in a serious car accident. As a result, he needed to find an activity to strengthen his fine motor skills. At the suggestion of a friend, we purchased an old, rusty 1930 Model A Fordor Sedan. It had been sitting in a barn for years as someone else’s potential restoration project that never happened.
My husband and his friend brought it home on our flatbed trailer, pushed it into our shop, and that was the beginning.
You Don’t Need a Drivable Car to Join
Everything on the car had to be taken apart. My husband realized this restoration was going to require a lot of help from experts. Where could we find those experts? The friend who had encouraged my husband to get started on this restoration also had a Model A, and belonged to the Beaver Chapter of MAFCA. We, along with our two boys, joined in 2009. The nice thing was, we didn’t have to drive a Model A to belong, which was a good thing. We were a long way from having a drivable Model A.
Monthly Meetings and Informative Seminars
Don’t worry, I am not going to go into detail about the restoration process. Although it was very interesting, I basically had nothing to do with it. I’d just like to share my thoughts on the beauty of car clubs from a family perspective. Yes, my husband learned a lot from the other club members about the process of restoring our Model A, but that was just one of the advantages to being in the club. In addition to providing educational seminars about specific aspects of Model A restoration and maintenance, the monthly meetings provided an opportunity to socialize with and encourage each other. We also had the opportunity to sign up for a really cool activity: Tours.
Touring Around in Our Modern Iron
About once a month, the club would organize a driving tour. Members could sign up once the details were announced at a meeting. A regular tour usually happened on a Saturday. Cars would rendezvous in a designated spot, and the tour leader would give out a map and itinerary.
The cars would convoy to the first destination, usually on back roads. Even though our car was a long way from being restored, we could still participate. There was a term for modern cars joining the tour: Modern Iron. In our case, our modern iron vehicle was our family minivan. The rule was that any modern iron had to follow behind the vintage vehicles in the convoy. I must emphasize: We were never made to feel badly about this. In fact, people seemed relieved to have a modern iron vehicle along, just in case someone had a breakdown.
Tours often went to interesting historical sites, parks, museums or other noteworthy local destinations. Quite often, the tour would end with lunch at a fun location. People were always very glad to have us join in, and were very good about including our boys in activities.
Travels Far and Wide
In addition to the local tours, the Beaver Chapter traveled to regional and national meets. Regional meets happened every year and national meets happened every few years. Local car clubs volunteered to host, and our family even attended one international meet in 2010 up in Richmond, British Columbia. Cars came from as far away as Australia for that one. On the journey to Richmond, the Beaver Chapter spent a memorable few days in Victoria, B.C. Our boys will never forget that trip.
Potlucks, Parties and Pancake Feeds
Many car clubs hold annual functions, and the Beaver Chapter is no exception. Every January, the club holds a formal banquet. Usually, it’s an opportunity for folks to dress up in vintage or vintage-look fashions from the 1920s and 1930s. This past banquet was a departure from that. It was a 1950s theme, and our special guest was Elvis himself.
In past years, on July 4th, the club has hosted a pancake breakfast at the home of a vintage machinery collector. Our boys always enjoyed touring the old caboose. The many barns and outbuildings, full of antique vehicles and toys, were open for touring as well. In December, instead of a monthly meeting, the club always holds a potluck. Families participate in activities such as gingerbread house decorating, and there is always musical entertainment. One year, we enjoyed listening to a mariachi band.
Model A Ford Youth Scholarship
To encourage young people to participate in the hobby of restoring Model A Fords, MAFCA has established the Model A Ford Youth Scholarship Fund. Scholarships are awarded to high school seniors who intend to go to college, are MAFCA members, and who have demonstrated an interest in restoring Model A Fords. The $1,000.00 scholarship is renewable for the four years the recipient is in college. It’s a pretty sweet deal, and we were very fortunate our boys were each awarded the scholarship during their respective senior years. Thank you, MAFCA!
Might Car Clubs Be In Your Future?
Just in case you’re wondering, yes, our 1930 Fordor Sedan was finished in 2013 with a lot of encouragement and support from the folks in the Beaver Chapter. We are grateful, and have enjoyed many fun journeys.
What a wonderful feeling it is to be driving down the road and be the reason someone smiles. We get lots of waves and honks as we drive around. We honk and wave right back.
Now that you know about my experiences with car clubs, might there be a car club in your future? Maybe you already belong to one. I’d love to learn about your experiences. If you like what you’ve read and would enjoy access to free printables for gardeners, travelers, teachers and bloggers, please consider subscribing to my blog. Happy adventuring!