by Paul J Williams
In May of 1991, a small group of gay men who shared an obsessive fascination with automobiles traveled together to attend a classic car gathering in Austin called “Golden Girls”. Hosted by a gay group in Austin called Classic Chassis Car Club, it was notable that, up until then, car clubs had been bastions of straight males with their muscle and custom cars; yet here was a car show made up of autos owned by gay men who were more concerned with how stylish and elegant their cars looked rather than the strength of the engines or the acceleration for a quarter mile.
Even existing, seemingly prestigious car clubs like the Cadillac Club or the Lincoln Club were often comprised of stodgy, more conservative, older members. Gay visibility in Dallas was becoming increasingly prevalent and the Dallasites in attendance realized that a club such as Austin’s was needed back home.
Within a few months, in September of 1991, Classic Chassis Car Club-Dallas was founded with 19 members: David Chase, Alan Colvin, Roy Davis, Lee Ford, Tommy Glazener, Joel Haralson, Mark Lawson, Gene Lewis, Jack Lewis, Mark McCay, Danny Milburn, Ron Owens, Randy Parker, Mike Shelby, Mark Smith, David Spearance, Donna Wolff, Rhett Wolff and Glen Wofford. Although formed primarily as a gay group, CCCC-Dallas was certainly not “anti-straight” as evidenced by its lone female charter member. Official bylaws were drafted and officers were elected. President was Ron Owens, Vice-President was Tommy Glazener, Secretary was Glen Wofford and Treasurer was Rhett Wolff. (Ron Owen was later followed by successive Presidents Alan Colvin, James Gudat, Steve Hamp, John McCall, David Sacha and, most recently, Tim Bunkley.)
Given the desire to gather publicly and show off their cars, the membership agreed to hold monthly meetings at Prince of Hamburgers, a drive-in hamburger joint on Lemmon Avenue located approximately where Plaza Car Wash stands today. Believing that there must surely be more gay people in town who either owned a classic car or who loved classic cars, the members decided to reach out to the community in two main ways. First, ads were taken out in the DALLAS VOICE. Secondly, CCCC-Dallas members gathered with their cars at JR’s Bar and Grill on Cedar Springs during happy hour. Onlookers were intrigued by the sight of the classic automobiles and, in those pre-internet days, face-to-face networking helped grow the club. By the end of 1992, the membership had grown to 75 members comprising a total of 174 cars of which there were 46 different years and 26 individual marques. Cadillac was the most popular brand with 62 cars, followed by Lincoln with 18.The year 1966 was the most popular year represented with 18 cars, followed by 1964, 1968, and 1970, with 9 cars each. By 1996, membership had reached 120 and the club hosted its first “Golden Girls” car show. With time, exposure within the gay community broadened as members drove in the annual Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade. Often, CCCC-Dallas had the largest single club entry in the parade.
Members believed that the club gave them a place to not only enjoy the shared fascination with cars, but also was a place, outside of the gay bars, to be oneself. In keeping with a gay sensibility, events were often very “themed” with members expanding their collections to include related items such as period luggage, dressed mannequins, memorabilia, and printed and advertising materials to accompany their car displays. Also in 1996, CCCC-Dallas joined Lambda Car Clubs International (LCCI) and became part of a much larger world-wide umbrella organization of Gay Classic Car Clubs in the U.S. and abroad. LCCI hosts an annual nationwide gathering of members and their cars, and CCCC-Dallas hosted this national event in 2004. CCCC-Dallas has also hosted the statewide Golden Girls events in 2000, 2004, and 2008.
Today, the club has over 130 members representing a total of 436 automobiles making it the largest gay car club in Texas and the fourth largest in the entire LCCI membership of local clubs. Since its first meetings at Prince of Hamburgers, the club has met at the Love Field Antique Mall, Marco’s Italian Restaurant on Throckmorton, Klein’s Diner, the downtown El Fenix, and is currently meeting at Ojeda’s on Maple. In addition to the GLBT community, the club shows cars at citywide events, including the Dallas Auto Show, various charity parades, and other similar events. CCCC-Dallas is constantly seeking to grow and diversify its membership in both age and gender.
The most common misconception regarding membership is that one must OWN a classic car to join, yet nothing could be further from the truth. The only requirement for membership is a love or a passion for all things automotive, especially classic or vintage cars and trucks. Younger members often bring a passion for newer cars which in time will be classics and ensure that the club continues well into the future. Classic Chassis Car Club-Dallas is committed to the ideals of stewardship and cultivation of future classic car collectors of all ages and ideologies. We are open to anyone who has a love and passion of classic vehicles. While we are proudly gay in our membership’s orientation, we also recognize that our main interest and impetus is the preservation of our collective heritage of the automobile; and, we seek to use that interest as a tool to spread tolerance and understanding.
“Good things happen to those who love old cars” –Unknown