We are a group of like minded individuals who enjoy kit cars, replicas and all types of classic and exotic cars. We enjoy building, driving and displaying our automobiles. Many of us have cars we have built or are currently in the build process. Others in the club have bought their kit car or replica as a turnkey finished vehicle. We participate in many social, charitable events, and fun activities that take us all over the Metro Detroit Area.
The general membership meeting are held the 3rd Monday of each month (except December) at Savory Grill in Utica. Meeting starts at 7:30pm, arrive earlier if you want to eat. Anyone is welcome to come join us and see what the club is about. Next meeting is November 18, 2019.
45288 Van Dyke, Utica, MI 48317
History of the GTSCA
I had just captured first place in Hand-built Sports Cars at the 1974 Detroit Autorama with a customized Bradely GT. I was overflowing with enthusiasm, filled with exuberant pride and eager to join my first car club. Energetically, I approached the club displays at Autorama inquiring about membership. People were equally receptive…until I told them my “car” was a kit car. Their initially warm reception turned to frosty indifference as they suggested I try another club. Response were the same, to a man. Here I was, young, energetic, with a class-winning car,and nobody wanted me in their club!
A year passed with no club affiliation in sight. My cheery optimism had long since turned to cynical dejection. Only my wife was left to rebuild my sagging ego. Finally, she’d had enough. “Why don’t you start your own club?” she wailed. “Well” I thought, “Why don’t I?” and ran an ad in the Detroit Trading Times in March, 1975. Under the “Autos, misc.” heading, a column dominated by dune buggies, I sandwiched my ad: “Kit car owners wanted to form a Club, Avengers, Bradleys, Invaders, Lasers, etc.In the first week I received two calls. Did this mean there were other kit car owners out there? I gambled and ran the ad for another three weeks, producing a total of 14 inquiries. In May. Our little group met for the first time to form a club, with dues-paying members and monthly meetings. Our short ad became a repeater in the Trading Times, and calls continued to dribble in, one at a time. Using the charter from of a defunct street rod club as a guide, we drew up our own charter ,set dues at $10 per year, with a $10 initiation fee. Although it took time to create a complete membership package, the slick , comprehensive end product was well worth the wait. In addition, we outfitted ourselves with custom T-shirts and jackets.
We contacted the state of Michigan, not wanting to do anything halfway, and charted our club as a nonprofit organization. In the meantime, fervent discussion ensued over the title of out yet unnamed group. The outcome of these numerous and sometimes lengthy discussions was “ The Grand Turing Sports Car Association.” Quite a mouthful for an infant club! Response to our newspaper ads had slowed, and after looking under every greasy chassis in town for new members, we printed some flashy red, white and blue 11x17-inch posters and displayed them in the grease monkey haunts of the town. Before we knew it we had 30 members Our confidence boosted, we widened our scope of advertising to include kit car magazines and swap meet newspapers. Members were armed with club brochures to distribute to curious admirers of their custom cars. And up to five years later these same admirers have turned up at our doorstep. Business cards increased our visibility, and a newly formed membership committee relentlessly tracked down potential members. The club library, began with a few odd pieces of kit car literature, grew to include manufactures’ brochures and assembly manuals.
The need for order and organization became apparent almost immediately. A door-prize raffle, we found, was a great incentive for members to attend meetings, and Roberts, Rules of order provided a well run meeting format, with a written agenda following. The agenda was compiled by the executive board at its regular meeting a week after the general meeting. Our annual “coming out party” has been a well-attended and successful event since the club’s inception. It is the first driving event of the calendar year, a car show and picnic held at a local park for members and their families. Preceding the event, a cartoon depicting a grease monkey beginning to work on his kit car, with parts scattered all over the floor, is mailed to club members. In the ensuing four months, the same cartoon appears in the monthly club news letter, with the car closer and closer to completion until the day of the picnic, when it’s finally done. This kind of fanciful innovation really keeps interest alive When our membership reached 50, we finally had enough cars to produce some grand shopping mall shows. One of the greatest benefits of these shows is the new members we recruit from among the onlookers. We’ve recruited more members in this manner than in any other.
As in any organization getting people to volunteer for committees is a challenge. It takes a lot of creativity. Let’s face it, if you wait for volunteers ,things don’t get done. We’ve found the most successful ploy is to delegate authority, U. S. Army style. We change our pace, and the scenery, in the spring and summer by staging breakfast drives to key point restaurants in the area. Dinner runs and outings to lakes and other picnic places offer perfect opportunities to display member’s cars. No matter where you take your kit car, you end up with an instant car show. Special recognition is awarded annually in three classes; Most Active Member, Most Active Car, and Tinker’s Dam which is presented by the president to a member he feels has contributed something special to the organization. Concours judging events classed for roadsters and GT coupes are held in conjunction with picnic, and awards are presented in each class These and similar events are a boost for the members, and generally keep morale and enthusiasm high.
Promotion is the key to keeping a club in the public eye, and gimmickry is a vital ingredient. At one of our mall shows we built an intermecchanica-Porsche Speedster in three days and drove it into the mall under the watchful eye of local television cameras. The winter months are probably the hardest times to keep members’ interest and enthusiasm from waning, especially in infamous Michigan climate. We have had great success in treating our members to guest speakers from such automotive empires as B.F. Goodrich, back to life, custom painting and the use of flaring tools for running fuel and brake lines, among other subjects. Local libraries provide a wealth of 16mm automotive movies. Participation, too, is an essential ingredient to a successful club. Each member must feel important and needed. Our monthly newsletter, the Transaxle News, keeps members well informed, and the club participates in all local autoramas and rod runs as well as donating time and coverage to community charities.
Without planning, nothing can come together, and without a tight schedule and rigid understructure, you won’t have a tight organization. Clubs have come and clubs have gone before us, but you can bet you won’t see that happening with the Grand Touring Sports Car Association!