DIY Car Club
by Lauren Morrison
Working on your own car can be rewarding, especially when you take your finished efforts out for a spin. But, finding the space for do-it-yourself car care can be a rare commodity, especially in crowded urban areas, gated communities, or where garage space is otherwise occupied. Well, our Lauren Morrison found a car club in Sacramento, California that’s designed just for DIY’ers.
LAUREN MORRISION: “Whether it be a homeowner’s association that frowns on you fixing up your car in the front yard, or a garage that’s just too small, finding the space to work on your car is a pain, but not if you’re a member of the DIY Car Club here in Sacramento, California.
ROBERT MITCHELL: “It’s always been a hobby and a passion. I built my first car when I was 9 years old in my dad’s tool and die shop. That’s just me.”
LAUREN MORRISION: A passion, and nowhere to practice it, is how Robert Mitchell came up with the do it yourself car club concept.
ROBERT MITCHELL: “It started out with 3 of us working out of a little 600 square foot garage that was part of an old auto shop and…..we found more people that wanted to get involved.”
LAUREN MORRISION: With about 40 active members today, the club has moved to a larger space, where members can rent a spot by the hour, day, week, or month to do anything from a tune-up…to a full on frame off restoration….like Kate Dargan and her 1951 Chevy pickup truck, “Irene.”
KATE DARGAN: “It’s her time now. She gets a whole new look for her next 50 years.”
LAUREN MORRISION: While this is Kate’s first restoration, that’s part of the beauty of the club…there’s always another gearhead, like Cliff Miller, hanging around to bounce ideas off of.
KATE DARGAN: “I mean, he can look at the parts and say, oh that goes there. So it’s kind of like having a friend, or your uncle hanging out with you working.”
LAUREN MORRISION: While you’ve got first timers, you’ve also got old pros, like Miguel Willet, who estimates he’s had around 500 cars in his lifetime….but the 1967 Firebird Convertible he’s working on now is something special.
MIGUEL WILLET: “One day, I came home and it was gone. My dad had sold it. So I think I’ve been looking for one the rest of my life.”
LAUREN MORRISION: While Miguel actually uses several different shops he says this car club keeps him coming back.
MIGUEL WILLET: “I find that I’m here more than those places, mainly because the access to other people, the camaraderie, you know, somebody brings food and you know you need to eat and you’re not stopping and they show up. All that stuff means a lot to me.”
LAUREN MORRISION: Young or old, expert or novice, there’s really only one rule to join…you’ve got to have some kind of vintage vehicle. Beyond that, the club has you covered.
ROBERT MITCHELL: “Jack stands, floor jacks, tune-up equipment, most of the general basic tools they would need if they don't have them themselves to completely restore a car.”
LAUREN MORRISION: With members who come from far and wide…
ROBERT MITCHELL: “We have people in the Bay area that drive all the way up here and bring their vehicles to work on them because there’s nothing like this around.”
LAUREN MORRISION: This gearhead gathering place is a do it yourselfer’s paradise!
ROBERT MITCHELL: “Everyone here loves old vehicles, one way or the other. It doesn’t make any difference whether it’s a Chevy, a Ford, a Dodge, a Pontiac, an AMG, an Alfa Romeo. It doesn’t really make a difference. They all love old, classic cars.”