A shared love of cars gave birth to the GaSCar antique car club.
"We just loved cars and wanted to get together with people who like cars as much as we did," said John Force, one of the charter members. "I ran a wrecking yard, and I had a few cars, so I called up Michael Jerome (another charter member) and put together a group. We had our first meeting at his house and then we held meetings from house to house in Aiken. As we gained more people, we moved to Augusta. We've been going ever since."
Since 1974, the car club has brought people in the area together to share an interest in antique cars, but the love isn't kept within the club.
Members participate in several parades each year, showcase their cars in shows and educate the public about the cars during community events. They also support a program that specializes in training people to restore and service antique cars, said Mark Petry, one of the club's board members.
"Our goal is to spread the appreciation of antique cars as both a hobby and as a piece of history," he said. "One of the biggest thrills we get as a hobbyist is having young people come up to us and ask us about our cars and the history of it. They are fascinated because the cars are so different from anything you have today."
With more than 150 cars in the club, it's easy to keep showcases at parades, car shows and parades fresh, Mr. Petry said.
"There aren't too many people in this club who have just one car," he said with a laugh. "It's like Lay's potato chips; you can't have just one."
The car club isn't just a "guy thing," either.
"We have about 63 families in the club to date," he said. "We say families because a lot of times when people think of old cars or old-car clubs, they assume it's a bunch of guys playing with their cars. With our club, we really do have entire families involved -- wives, children and in some cases even grandchildren."
His wife, Robin, said that she has enjoyed being a part of the car club.
"Before being married, a car was old, new, blue, yellow, green and so on. I've learned that there is a lot more to cars than that," she said. "There is a lot of history. We do a lot of research on these cars and have a chance to share that with people. That's what I really enjoy about being a part of this club."
GaSCar has also cultivated friendships, which has kept the club together for 35 years, Mr. Petry said.
"This gives you a common language. We all speak car," he said. "Your race, color, creed -- it doesn't matter. It's about our love of cars. It's our common ground."
Reach Nikasha Dicks at (706) 823-3336 or firstname.lastname@example.org.