Starting a British Sports Car Club

The response to our “Join a British Sports Car Club” invitation in the last issue of the Moss Motoring has been nothing less than amazing! We’ve received a constant stream of letters and SASEs asking for details of local British car clubs from the Moss club database. In the majority of cases, we were able to find an appropriate club for you and your car.

However, some questions have arisen from your letters. First of all, are the established clubs themselves really doing enough to make local owners aware of their existence? Secondly, what do you do if there appears to be no club in your immediate area? There have been some cases where we have been unable to help enthusiasts in search of a club—either there isn’t a club nearby, or, if there is, they haven’t notified us of their existence! If you belong to a club, and are interested in obtaining information, useful hints or in gaining new members, drop us a line.

Forming a club is not something to be undertaken lightly since it requires a major commitment on the part of the organizers. However, if you and your friends feel that there is a need to be filled, then by all means, go for it! We recommend the following guidelines to help you on your way. If it is to be a single marque club, then you should first contact one of the national bodies catering to that particular type. Check with them for other activity in your area, then request their assistance in forming your club. Normally, they are more than willing to help.

To get your club underway, your first step should be to get people to come to your inaugural meeting. This is where yon need as much FREE publicity as possible! Find a suitable location, preferably not the local McDonalds or Big Boy, but somewhere that you can sit and talk, and even check out each others cars in the parking lot. Tell the proprietor of a small eating establishment (or similar business) that this could mean increased business on a slow night of the week! If all else fails , then ask people to contact you by phone to gauge the amount of interest in the possible club.

Now, it’s time to enlist the help of the local media. You might start with an announcement of your first meeting through: your local newspaper, flyer. free car trader magazine, local radio and T.V., and, of course, flyers in repair shops and under the wiper blades of suitable candidates for the club. Your first announcement need not be too sophisticated, but must give time, place and phone number. If you’re putting an ad in the newspaper, you might include a photograph, along with your announcement. Perhaps a local auto business might sponsor the cost of a flyer in return for their advertisement on the other side. The main thing is to get the message out.

The Meeting. The most important thing is to have a plan of action and be ready to take charge. Although you should be willing to hear everyone’s ideas, the first meeting is up to you, so an agenda is in order. Here’s the basic idea:

1. Welcome the people who turn up—introduce yourself and give a brief history of your own personal involvement with the car.

2. Pass out sign-out sheets for people to record their name, address, phone number(s), car(s) owned, preferred meeting night and frequency, and finally, type of activity they see the club undertaking.

3. Talk about how and why you see the club forming and invite individuals to talk about their immediate interests in the club. Don’t try to form committees to elect any officer at this time. Try to assess who look like candidates for your committee—usually they are the ones who aren’t afraid to stand up in front of the group and speak.

4. Announce your suggestion for the first club event—a Sunday drive to a scenic spot, a place to picnic, a visit to a local car museum, air display, or even a meeting at a friendly local garage where you can discuss general problems and maintenance tips.

5. Suggest a meeting night and location for the second meeting. Try to be decisive and not get too many contradictory ideas under discussion at this stage.

By now you should have some idea as to whether you are going to finish up with a viable club at all, and can get people of like mind together to plan for the future. One thing to remember is that most clubs have a hard core of dedicated, enthusiastic volunteers who shoulder most of the work, while the rest of the members move around them. Don’t try to do it all yourself! Delegate, share, threaten, cajole, but do get some help.

Sometime in the future we’ll talk about finances, starting a club newsletter, rules and constitutions—all the logistics of club life that most members take for granted. We’ll also show you how to run various types of rallys and car events in detail!

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