Improving with age

Posted on 10 Aug 2006 at 3:37pm
By Ryan Short – Contributing Writer

Dallas’ Classic Chassis Car Club celebrates the joys of collecting vintage autos



LAND SHARK: John McCall, above, current president of the Classic Chassis Car Club, sits atop one of his big-finned Cadillacs.

Some people cannot start their day without their morning Starbucks drips. For others, a five-minute smoke break or a chocolate snack from the vending machine satisfies a daily crave.

But for John McCall Jr., what makes him happiest is his fleet of vintage automobiles. And he’s not alone.

McCall is is the acting president the Classic Chassis Car Club of Dallas, a social club with more than 100 members all with one passion in common: vintage cars.

“It’s an addiction,” says McCall, the proud owner of admittedly “a lot” of vehicles. For most members, once that first antique auto is purchased, a classic car neophyte can easily turn into a collector and then into a buying addict.

Founded in 1991 with a roster of a dozen enthusiasts, Classic Chassis organized and met at a now-departed Dallas landmark: Prince Burgers on Lemmon Avenue. Membership soon swelled, and the club quickly outgrew its space. Over the years, Classic Chassis has moved from various restaurants and locales around the Oak Lawn area. Most recently, the group met at the neighborhood staple Marco’s, but once again is in search for another establishment to host its members (most of whom are scattered across Dallas and Tarrant counties).

Like many hobbyists, while the collectors may share an interest they have diverse views on how to pursue it. Some are hardcore thoroughbreds who collect many examples of the same vendor of car, such as Cadillacs for McCall. Others search for a varied line of cars to embellish their collections. Most cars are domestic, though there are a few foreign selections.

But in the end, McCall says, everyone in Classic Chassis comes together for the camaraderie and shared love of the classics however that may be defined.

Though Classic Chassis began as a strictly gay organization, the current membership is mixed with gay and straight enthusiasts alike.

“You don’t have to have a car to be a member,” says McCall, though he does note that most members have multiple cars.

Of course, the difference between a gay and a non-gay club is clear at auto shows. “We don’t just show cars, we display them,” McCall says.

Exhibits can be elaborate and kitschy, complete with mannequins, accompanying luggage and easels. Each exhibit is well thought-out and visually fun to enjoy.

Classic Chassis interacts year-in and year-out with various city affairs, such as the annual Mother’s Day Swiss Avenue Tour of Homes, the home tours in Oak Cliff, and the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade on Cedar Springs Road each September. In fact, Classic Chassis has a presence statewide with a day at the State Fair in Fair Park. All of this, and the eye-catching items they drive, has served to make the group one of the most recognizable in the city.

At monthly meetings, members enjoy more with their involvement than merely waxing nostalgic over works of auto art. Various speakers and professionals come to talk to the crew of Classic Chassis about how to tend to their collection. Technicians and mechanics instruct in assorted aspects of cars and car-related interests.

What an organization like Classic Chassis provides is more than simply information, though; members feel a sense of nostalgia, fellowship and a chance to indulge in a passion with others who feel the same way.

For more information, visit Classicchassis.com or call 214-446-0606.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, August 11, 2006.

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