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Looking Forward: The Future of Car Clubs

#1

I own a 1953 MGTD and recently attended my local British Car Club meeting. We followed the usual format, read the past meeting minutes, treasurer’s report and discussed any open past business. The final item on the agenda was new business, especially the forth coming list of summer cruise-ins and shows. I am always interested in what is coming up in our area and whether I might think about taking my car to one of them however one of the announcements and following discussion concerned me.

One of the local libraries had asked if members of the club could come by with their cars for a cruise-in. The library was holding a young children’s reading program and wanted the cars to highlight the program. It seemed interesting to me but it brought up a big discussion as to whether members would be willing to attend or not.

The concern voiced during the discussion was about young children being around the cars. That children can be messy and love to touch things was presented by one member. Many other voices expressed apprehension with children and their proximity to their car. I could not believe what I was hearing. I had to step back and take a wide look at the club members themselves to understand where this was coming from.

Most of our club members tend towards being older rather than younger. I looked around and saw the faces of grandparents, most over sixty, and the discussion reminded me of a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson.

When I am grown to man’s estate

I shall be very proud and great

And tell the other girls and boys

Not to meddle with my toys.

How absurd it all became.

When I go to cruise-ins and shows, I let children sit in my car. I sometime let their parents join them. I consider my car to be nice and I have had I have had it since I was in college. I find enjoyment in having children sit in my car having only a couple of rules for them, no food or drink and no pushing or turning buttons.

So, what do I get out of this besides the initial reward of happy smiling faces? To let you know, I have a hidden motive in letting children sit in my car.

It started a few years ago when I went to a local car show. I sat and talked with members of a Model A club. They were lamenting that the interest in their cars was waning, no one seemed interested in cars that were on the road before they were born. They didn’t look fast nor sleek. The club members wondered what was to become of their cars once they were gone. They hoped that their cars would end up in a museum or a private collection.

I thought about this for quite a while. What would be come of my MG and our club? The answer seemed simple. If our club was to survive it needs new blood. It needs young people that see something in our British Sport Cars. Maybe it would be a memory about sitting in a sports car when they were young or seeing a group of unique cars cruising on the streets. The idea was to get younger people interested. I see a future in our car club and others by allowing children and adults touch and sit in our cars.

People enjoy a certain type of car because it presents them with a certain feeling or brings back a happy memory or past event. That is reason I love my car; I relive my college days. I believe that other people will feel the same. Who knows, one day that little kid sitting in my car may be a club member or maybe he or she will ask me whether my car is for sale. They will have to wait for now but one day who knows, and the love of the automobile goes on.

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#2

Feel the same way. I enjoy letting the occasional kid, or even the occasional adult sit in my cars. It’s usually a photo-op too. It’s great fun and a way to share and strike up conversations. On much rarer and supervised occasions I’ve even let others drive them. But at the same time I understand other owner’s reluctance. I don’t see a significant influence on the hobby.