1950 Chevrolet 3100
Published September/October 2013

Join the Club

Arizona auto enthusiasts unite over their love of classic rides

BYHeather Larson
Although Dan and Tammy Tideman were shopping for a dune buggy, Tammy eyed a car kit she went nuts over. The couple bought it, and Dan found a new passion in the process. Now at the wheel of his tan Mini Mark on a Volkswagen frame, Dan says he feels as though he’s riding a motorcycle with four wheels. He can feel the highway and smell desert flowers — if the leather-cleaning product he uses to keep his car in top condition doesn’t overpower nature. This zealous auto lover fit in easily at the Kit Car Club of Phoenix, where he now holds the office of president.
This club is just one example of Arizona’s many car collector groups, from ones focusing on specific makes to those featuring a potpourri of brands and models. Here are a few of the state’s car clubs.
Membership requirements: Prospects should have an interest in vintage vehicles, but don’t need to own one. The club, which aims to preserve automotive history, is open to members with all makes of vehicles. “We advise people to join a club before buying a car,” says Ron Sotardi, vice president of the Tucson-based chapter of AACA. “When members are ready to buy, they can purchase from someone in the club or get a recommendation from them.”
Car shows: The group attends shows so members can exhibit their vehicles. This October, the group plans to attend Tucson’s St. Gregory Car Show and the Sun ‘n Sand Region Meet in Palm Springs, Calif.
Benefits: Sotardi says members of the club help each other when they have problems with their vehicles, or can at least recommend appropriate repair shops. 
Club camaraderie: The club has monthly outings such as a progressive dinner, with stops at multiple restaurants; a breakfast cruise; a miniature golf tournament; or a visit to Flandrau Planetarium at the University of Arizona. 
Membership requirements: None. You don’t even need a car, but most of the members’ automobiles fit the definition of kit cars, meaning they are handcrafted and not made on an assembly line. 
Car shows: This club attends the City of Mesa Open House at Falcon Field each March; the Mesa Market Place car show in September; and the KOOL Radio and Commemorative Air Force car shows in October.
Benefits: “The group takes me away from everyday life,” says Dan Tideman. “I consider our club more of an extended family, one that does very little bickering.” 
Club camaraderie: Members of this club travel to places such as Winslow and Bisbee for overnight visits, motor the Arizona portion of Route 66, dine out, and drive their prized possessions in parades.
Membership requirements: You must own a classic car, any make or model that debuted in 1972 or earlier, but it can be under construction. Members need a driver’s license and should be at least 21 years of age. “Sharing your time, skills, and knowledge to help others in the club helps you get the most out of your membership,” says Lee Coleman, president and owner of a 1953 Cadillac and a 1939 Chevy sedan.
Car shows: In February 2014, the club will host the Cruising the Phoenix Greens Show at Steele Indian School Park. 
Benefits: According to Coleman, some members have the most beautiful garages, including lifts and tools, in existence — ones that would put commercial establishments to shame. And they share them with fellow members looking to tinker. 
Club camaraderie: Dues fund an annual family dinner, plus the club gathers for picnics and other events.
Membership requirements: There are no requirements to join this regional club; however, club members encourage a fondness for any model of classic automobile. 
Car shows: Members host the Sedona Car Club Show in September, and individuals choose other shows they want to attend on their own.
Benefits: “We exchange tips about everything car, but if you need something done around the house, we take care of that, too,” jokes Larry Currie, president and owner of a 1973 Jaguar Roadster E.
Club camaraderie: Al Moss, a member who recently passed, created an event during which members cruise to garage sales, and then meet for lunch, giving awards to the member who discovered the best find and other silly accolades. In addition to this event, now known as the Al Moss memorial event, the club visits restaurants, holds picnics, and tours wineries and museums.
HEATHER LARSON lives in Tacoma, Wash., where she writes for such publications as Better Homes and Gardens and RV Journal
For More Information
Learn about insuring your classic car with AAA Insurance call 1-800-298-6066 or visit AAA.com.

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