Car Clubs: Family Fun On and Off the Road

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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.

car clubs first Model A sighting
This was taken when my husband first set eyes on the car.

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.

car clubs rendezvous point
Our most frequent rendezvous point is the parking lot by Shari’s restaurant.

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.

car clubs convoy
Our modern iron minivan was often at the rear of the convoy. We didn’t mind.

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.

 clubs touring the countryside
We’ve had many adventures on the road.

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.

elvis himself
Elvis, crooning to the audience.

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.

1930 Fordor Sedan
Here is our 1930 Fordor. The original owner was a cook at this school.

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!

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12 thoughts on “Car Clubs: Family Fun On and Off the Road”

  1. When I was younger, my parents were part of an antique car club, and though I remember being bored at the meetings, I loved going out into the parking lot and exploring all of the old cars. It was great to hear about the history of each of those cars and the owner’s pride in their restoration of it. And then, of course, getting to ride in one was awesome as well.

    • Sarah,

      What kind of car was it, do you recall? Yes, I’m sure the meetings were not the favorite activity of our boys, either. For them, the highlights of the meetings were the refreshments! They were good sports, though. I’m glad you have fond memories of your family times in the car club. Thanks so much for sharing!


  2. Oh my goodness! How cool! My hubby is a “Ford man” and I bet he had no idea we could be in a card club without said car. I’ll be sharing your post with him. This is really a great read! Love your old iron! It’s so neat!

    • Nicole,

      I’m so glad you liked the post, and I hope that your husband gets inspired to look up a car club in your area. We have had so much fun, and have gotten so much support from the car experts in the group who were eager to share their knowledge in a kind way. Happy motoring!


  3. I go to so many car club events, especially in the fall and winter months! Thank you for sharing your club story..loved it!!

    • Holly,

      What kind of cars are you most interested in? Whenever we go to cruise-ins, where anybody can bring any kind of classic car, I’m drawn to the sporty little European models, like vintage Triumphs. How fun to know you enjoy car events as well!


  4. I’ve been debating getting involved in a local Jeep club because I am a diehard Jeep lover and don’t plan on owning anything else moving forward.

    • Britt,

      Well, I definitely think you should look into it. I’d love to learn what you find out. Thanks for your comment, and happy Jeep-driving!


  5. This is an eye opener. Had no idea such clubs existed. They sound like fun too!

    • Betty,

      I’m finding that’s the case with a lot of people. I wouldn’t have known about car clubs were it not for my husband’s car restoration project. It really has been fun! Thanks for your positive comment.


  6. This is a really good post! I didn’t know that there were things like this! It sounds so interesting!

    • Amanda,

      It has been a lot of fun! Maybe you will get the chance to experience one sometime. Thanks for commenting, and have a super week!



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