While wandering the fields of the Lonestar Round Up I came upon Dennis O’Brien (O’Brien Truckers) and we got on the subject of car club plaques. Dennis has 12,000 patterns and has made literally thousands of these plaques—some for clubs, some for individuals, and some to replace longtime lost identifiers. When it comes to cast aluminum vintage parts our go-to guy is Dennis. He made our Deadliners Car Club plaque (Kim Brizio made our jackets), which is for magazine guys who no club will have—so we started our own. It’s actually a pretty good club; no meetings, no officers, most of us don’t get along, and if given the opportunity we would pluck the coil wire out of the other guy’s distributor—and then sell it back to him! (The best thing I ever did was place a cut-down Dixie cup painted black into the intake snout of an air cleaner. It took several air cleaner on/air cleaner off procedures before a certain editor finally looked inside. That was a good one.)
For starters, it got me thinking about all those old car clubs that came before. I have been a member of the L.A. Roadsters (it was Magoo’s fault) and currently the California Roadsters (I was hoisted onto them by Don Prieto). Early on I was an associate member of the Vintiques of Pomona (longtime hot rodder and SoCal pinstriper Ron Foreman brought me in). I have never come across a car club that wasn’t fun and am always amazed at the talent in residence. It did get me thinking about the car clubs that came before in the areas that I grew up, live, and work.
I spent my early years in Garden Grove, California, and then went to high school and college in Anaheim and Fullerton, currently working in Irvine, and residing in Newport Beach. I haven’t seen much in the way of car clubs in any of these towns and you would think I would be aware of this. I must admit I am probably the worst member a club could have. Every time the group wants to go on a run I am usually out of town. I spend more time at rod runs the vast majority of my club members have only heard about and will never attend. When they want to get up on Saturday morning at 0-dark-30 I’m comatose and out for the count until at least 10 a.m. (Those wee hours cranking out late editorials is tough on an old guy! Besides you too would need copious amounts of rest if you had to deal with Senior Editor Ron Ceridono on a daily basis. He did, however, wrangle up the artwork, or stole most of it, for our Deadliners plaque.) When I am at a club function I generally eat most of the doughnuts, never have enough money with me, usually can’t find my keys, and when I do I usually get lost; most of the time the guys just leave me in the parking lot and take off.