I have been into refreshing classic cars and had the privilege of working with a 1965 Ford Thunderbird, 1963 Buick Special, and various BMW's. Each car was fun and interesting in its own way and always fun at the local cruise nights. I found local support for each, the local clubs were helpful but I never realized what I was missing until I picked up a 1961 Corvair Monza and attended my first HACOA club meeting.
HACOA, Heart of America Corvair Owner's Association, is the local Kansas City club. The club is over 60 members strong and most members have more than 1 Corvair. The knowledge within the club is extensive and there are many outlets for parts; new old stock, reproduced items, and used. One would think these items are all that would be needed to keep a club alive but I learned quickly that it's the people that keep this club (and others) thriving. Over 65% of the members generally make the monthly business meeting and program and then there are monthly social events (often multiple) where the cars always aren't the center of attention. Every person in the club is friendly, helpful, and a joy to spend time with; either socializing or working on cars together. I've been a member of this club for 8 years now and owned as many Corvairs. I've held positions of Social Chair, Vice President, and President.
I felt pretty lucking living in KC with this great group of people. Then I started meeting other Corvair owners from other clubs around the world and quickly learned that location has nothing to do with it and simply put, the best people elect to own Corvairs. Clubs often host regional events which give us multiple days to spend with individuals of these other clubs. Kansas City MO, Tulsa OK, Oklahoma City OK, Wichita KS, and Arkansas clubs rotate an annual Round Up event (this year happens to be in Branson MO). The same holds true for the Texas clubs, hosting a rotating HOT (Heart of Texas) each year and then New Mexico, Denver CO, and Colorado Springs CO host the rotating Tri-State event each year. Circle City out of Indianapolis IN has co-hosted an annual Performance Workshop for the past few years with the North East Corvair Council. And lastly, there is an annual National Convention each year in one of the three regions where we have had Corvair owners from Australia, Mexico, and the Netherlands.
The one thing in common with all of these events/clubs is the people. No matter where you go the nicest group of individuals can be found driving, restoring, or showing off their Corvairs. For me, that is what the hobby is all about. The car in design and styling pulled me in but it was the people that have kept me around...and will keep me around for as long as I am able.