By Brian Davis – Published in October Ed. British Marque Car Club News
I recently saw a meme that read “You only live once – Don’t leave it covered in the garage”. That got me thinking about what motivates me and other Illinois Flat Land British Car Club members to get their cars out of the garage on a regular basis?
For me it was connecting with a small group of like-minded enthusiasts with its roots in Monday morning meetings at the local doughnut shop. That was about eight years ago and boy has it evolved!
The original gathering consisted of four retired guys that liked to eat, talk and drive an eclectic group of British cars. I’m guessing that there are lots of clubs that have a similar group of members? As our weekly meetings became a regular thing, we referred to the get-together as “Motoring Monday” and it soon became a much-anticipated part of our week.
The earliest Motoring Monday conversations included the typical tech. issues, tips and shared experiences. It didn’t take long before we were planning our mid-week drives to local taverns and destinations. That’s when EATS was born!
EATS . . .The Easily Amused Touring Society, combined not only our proclivity for eating but also our desire to get behind the wheel of our cars and go for a drive just for the love of it! We were blessed with a member that was very familiar with many of our Central IL backroads, diners and dives. We ALL still had “working wives” so we were on our own for lunch. How fortuitous!
EATS originally had only four members but that changed over the years. Some members moved away or had work/family conflicts and new folks just naturally took their place. Each change in makeup added a new twist in the conversation and, of course, a change in the mix of vehicles and experiences. One key component has remained the same – driving your British car, weather permitting.
In 2020, everything changed. COVID was on everyone’s mind that March as restaurants and taverns began to shut down and health mandates (masks and social distancing) took hold. That was the end of Motoring Monday, right? No way!
Where could we go that was open, had enough space for social distancing and served food? How about our garages? Motoring Monday evolved once again. By then our group had grown to a regular group of six or seven and all of us had garages and each of us wanted to get into “Hosting” rotation.
COVID’s cloud had a silver lining! Each Monday the host would be responsible for providing a garage, coffee and a variety of homemade and store-bought goodies.
Another bright-spot to these new venues is that we were exposed to everyone’s garage, cars and projects. Who knew that a pandemic could present us with such wonderful “Car-Themed” venues? Soon a Motoring Monday Host List was created and everyone was anxious for their turn.
Around half of the EATS members live in suburban subdivisions or small towns in McLean Co. IL. THAT gives us a two-fer. We get to drive our cars for +/- 40 miles and visit an interesting car collection (garage).
Other things have changed too. We now spontaneously have:
- “Show & Tell” – New tools, products, and event listings
- Live Tech Sessions – The EATS Experts can help diagnose issues
- Give Aways – Almost every host has some parts, tools, stuff to offer
- Magazine Swap – British Marque News, Organization Magazines, etc.
- Club Planning – EATS members are also “Active” IFLBCC members.
If you’re looking for a way to stay motivated and connected with the local British car community, consider starting small and see what develops. I think you’ll be amazed at how much your LBC passion will grow.
As I said at the beginning “You only live once – Don’t leave it covered in the garage”.
By Brian Davis
Co-Director, Illinois Flat Land British Car Club