Most of us, at one time or another, have belonged to a car club or we considered joining one. To be an official car club, at least the way most states see it, you must have some sort of structural organization, and that means by-laws. To some, this may cause drama and destroy the club, but if you do it right you will end up with a club that can and will endure just about anything and still come out ahead of the game. For this new feature, exclusive to Street Legal TV, we bring you the Car Club of the Month.
For the past twenty years in San Diego, California, a group of Mopar enthusiasts have been getting together to talk about their love for Mopars. It’s been tossed around what day they actually formed the club, but they like to say they first met on July 4th, 1993, and that works for them.
Mopar Club of San Diego
- President: Jeff Walker
- Vice President: Cliff Cunningham
- Secretary: Julie Walker
- Treasurer: Ben Giangiulio
- Car Club Council Rep:Charlie Shawl
- Webmeister: Paul Polenz
- CruzMeister: Jim Signorelli
- Tech Advisor: Steve “Hollywood” Williams
- PentaGram Editor: Bob Gough
They are the Mopar Club of San Diego, and they meet at Casa Machada, a Mexican restaurant on Montgomery Field in Kearny Mesa, California, on the second Wednesday of each month, to talk about cars, learn from occasional guest speakers, and socialize with other gearheads.
The restaurant has room for about 80, which is slightly less than the 134 current members who keep this club strong. They like the location because it has a huge, adjacent parking lot and not much traffic – and no shopping carts in the lot. The meetings typically begin with reading the minutes, and then the agenda, announcements and they get on with business. They do a small raffle each week to raise money for the club and to give away small prizes.
Like many car clubs, they are all enthusiasts or they wouldn’t be there. But being a part of the club can involve anything from just showing up to becoming a club officer, or just volunteering your time to help out at car shows or events.Current club webmeister, Paul Polenz, did just that, managing the web site for about nine years now.
Polenz joined the club about ten years ago after running into a member of the club who invited him to a meeting. Polenz attended, liked what he saw, and joined the club that night. He likes the friendliness of the members and how they’re always willing to help.
He owns a Road Runner and hopes to get it completed soon so he can attend more shows, but for now he accepts the assistance from club members. In addition to managing the web site, he also volunteers with their yearly show, and any other events that his busy schedule allows. Polenz is grateful for the friendships he has made, even if he only sees them once a month.
While many club members participate in other car shows, the club hosts it’s own car show that they hold every year, and although the club is particular to Mopars, their All-American Car Show, now in its 16th year, is open to every American-made vehicle, no matter what you drive.
They hold their yearly car show, currently, at the MiraCosta College San Elijo Campus in Cardiff, California. In the past, they’ve tried Alpine, and Carlsbad for a few years, but the current location seems to have gone over well, and they’ve had great feedback. It has proven to be a great location in Southern California to hang out for most of the day.
The entry fees from the show, sponsorships, and raffles are the source of income for the club; after expenses are paid, the proceeds are split between the USO of San Diego and Homefront San Diego. Both of these charities assist local San Diego military personnel and their families. Neither of these charities receives any federal funds so events like this are a great help to our military personnel.
Another event that they have been participating in for quite a few years is the Coronado Speed Festival at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado. The Coronado Speed Festival takes place during Fleet Week in San Diego.
During the event the club sponsors the car corral and also helps with parking and judging cars for the car show. The club has a few members who are present or past military, so they do have a vested interest in helping military families.
Their car show this year will be held on Saturday, July 19th beginning at 8:00 AM running through about 2:00 PM. As always, they’ll have great raffle prizes including a large screen HDTV, a 50/50 raffle, People’s Choice and Judged entries, a DJ, food, and vendors. If you can attend, they typically have 200+ cars at their show.
We’ll be there to cover it again as we have in years past. For those in the San Diego area who wish to attend, the show is open to the public at no charge, to show a car is just $30.00 – going to a great cause.
The club isn’t always about business, though, and they also plan cruises and events for the club to keep things exciting. They’ve been to K1 Go Kart indoor tracks, Museum of Miniatures, a private drag race museum here in our own home town, the Lyon Air Museum, and even to tour Edelbrock many years ago. We hear that they’re planning another cruise after their All-American Car Show this July, so if you’re in the area check them out and you might be able to get in on a cruise with a bunch of gearheads in their Mopars.
If you’re not in the area and are interested in finding out how to help sponsor a show for a great cause, or want to get a sample of their monthly newsletter, The PentaGram (see what they did there?), give them a shout out at their web site. The newsletter contains information about upcoming shows and events, classified ads, and reports on activities that club members participate in, as well as a monthly car feature of a member’s car. Or you could get it just for the rant that PentaGram editor Bob Gough adds every month – it’s quite entertaining!
If you belong to a Car Club and you want your club featured here, please get in touch with us and let us know about your club. There are going to be some rules to keep the CCotM officially positive, and the first rule is that you must be an official club, not just a bunch of guys and gals who meet for pizza and do burnouts! You must have at least one show per year that gives back to the community – money raised may go to a charity, to the military, children – something good. And finally, you must be able to share some pictures of your club and members’ cars – it’s that simple.
You can reach us at [email protected] and tell us a little bit about your club, we’ll send you a brief questionnaire to fill out so we can learn more about your club. Please also provide the name and contact information of who can best represent your club. In the meantime, enjoy the gallery below of a few club members’ cars and trucks.