Through the Windscreen: Spring 1998

In the last issue of Moss Motoring, we posed the question, “Are there too many British car clubs and are there too many British car meetings in the course of a year?”

Thank you for the many responses you wrote, faxed, and emailed to me offering your opinions. At the outset, let me say that currently on the Moss Club Database we have a total of 440 British car clubs listed, and that’s by no means all that there are! (If your club is unlisted, then send me details—you could be missing out!) Also, as a guide, we are listing nearly 70 events in our comprehensive calendar elsewhere in this issue, and it’s only February! So we have lots of clubs and many events on which our hobby is based.

Of course there were many differing shades of opinion. The people in the eastern part of the country certainly don’t think there are too many events. But then again, we must bear in mind their driving season is much shorter than that on the west coast, where some people felt there were perhaps too many events year-round. However, overall, the general consensus is that things are just fine as they are, and I’d like to offer a couple of quotes from the many we received.

“First, there are lots more British car events now than just a few years ago, and few people have the time, or desire, to attend them all. So we tend to pick and choose which we attend based on time and money available.

Second, as the number of classic British cars declines, ownership tends to become more concentrated with a fewer number of owners. Just think how many people you know who own two or more British cars. Then think how many of those multiple cars get left at home!”

—Lloyd Decker, Kansas City MG Car Club

“I do not believe there are too many British car clubs; however, I do believe there are far too many single marque clubs! Here in a large midwest city where I live, we have an MG club, a Triumph club, an Austin-Healey club, a Jaguar club, and a Mini club! That’s too many. We should have one single British car club. By breaking ourselves down into so many separate entities, we have almost no contact with each other and this is a shame. Each of the cars in our respective groups have their own unique qualities that members of other clubs may learn to like—but who would know? Plus, we leave out so many other enthusiasts who own cars such as TVR, Lotus, even Rolls Royce, who, because of small numbers, don’t get the attention they deserve if they belong to a single marque club.

Of course, I only address this on a local level. The single marque national clubs are still the best way to share information on a specific marque, and are also the best way to meet people having a similar interest across the country. However, on a local level, instead of having several, 50-member, single marque clubs, by joining together you could end up with a 250-member British car club! Imagine the ideas that could be developed by such a diverse crowd. Imagine how interesting the newsletter could be with all the different stories emanating from the different cars. A final plus is that by banding together in today’s climate of ever-increasing restriction on owning and driving older cars, the old adage of ‘strength in numbers’ could prove very true.”

—Robert Rushing, St. Louis, Missouri. 

Robert, all I can say is that there are quite a number of British car clubs in existence which accept ALL types of British cars, from Minis to Saracen armored cars! They all get along very well, and the stories in the magazines are, as you say, interesting. There are also several major umbrella organizations, such as the Chicago British Car Union and the San Diego British Car Council, who put on superb shows. But these are not, strictly speaking, clubs.

So I guess at the moment, it seems the majority of you are happy with the number of individual clubs and also the number of meetings each year.

One final note, however. It really saddened me to read in one club magazine that “all the officer positions are vacant” together with a front page headline stating “This organization is dying—Help needed!” To which I say, hey people! You know who you are—get with the program and support your local club!

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