We’ve Gathered Some Advice for You
In today’s diverse and globally-connected world, we consider any group a “car club” if they’re brought together by the passion of what you can achieve behind the wheel. Some clubs meet in coffee shop parking lots to share their builds, some connect on social media, some hit the trail for hand-ons bonding, and some connect via zooms or other online forums. A few clubs dabble in all of these methods and more.
To gather advice for whatever the future of car culture brings, we spoke with leaders from four diverse, modern-day clubs. Their differences abound: Some lead older, more established clubs; some lead newer clubs; some operate online, some in-person. They live in different places, have different backgrounds, and they cater to very different audiences.
Lambda Car Club was founded in secret back in 1981. Today, with 32 regional chapters throughout the U.S., it’s the largest car club for LGBTQ and LGBTQ-friendly auto enthusiasts in North America.
JeepFreeks, founded by Travis Daines in 2012, is an Instagram account thousands of followers strong. It’s a place for off-roading Jeep aficionados around the world to connect, learn, and collectively obsess over all things Jeep.
Ladies Offroad Network, founded in 2016 by Charlene Bower, is an education-focused club with chapters where women can bond, get out of their comfort zone, and work on their off-roading skills together.
Capitol Car Club, newly established by Charley Phung, is an artfully curated, in-person meetup that occurs in a different location around Sacramento each week. Its goal is to dissolve the exclusivity common to the on-road car scene in California.
Diverse as they are, the leaders of these groups share a surprisingly common set of core values about car culture, stewardship, mentorship, accessibility, and respect. We asked if they had any advice for novice club founders out there.
Here’s some wisdom they had to share:
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Starting something new is hard work, but doing it well requires wisdom that isn’t new at all. It’s easy to get distracted by shiny new opportunities, but what people really respond to are tried and trusted values. And most of all: consistency.
“There are regions in the country that do not have any car clubs and they're desperate, and then there are regions that have plenty. Don't reinvent the wheel. Do some research and find out what the need really is. See if there's already a group that is somewhat aligned with your principles. They’re likely looking for help organizing. It may not be exactly what you want, but if you step up and you become part of their leadership, you can help make the club into what you think it should be.” – Carl Derry, President of the Yankee Chapter of Lambda Car Club
“If you do things at a certain level, where everyone gets treated the same and everyone feels seen and has a good time, you’ll create brand ambassadors for your club. Word of mouth is a thousand times better than any hashtag out there. It's simple, but it works. – Charley Phung, founder of Capitol Car Club