You want to join a car club because you enjoy driving your old car around. Car clubs are about driving cars around, aren't they? And besides, you'll be able to get a red-plate permit at a fraction of the cost of full registration, won't you?
As they say in the classics: :"And what part of Fairyland are you from, sport?"
Established car clubs are about many things, and driving old cars around is often only a minor part of their being. The bigger, older, and richer the club, the smaller that part is likely to be.
Here's how it works.
A group of enthusiasts, much like yourselves, who like driving cars around, get together and form a club. Soon others want to join them. The early days of a club actually involve a fair bit of driving around. Then the club gets bigger.
Because of the size of the club, it is beyond the scope of just having a word to your mates about a weekend run. You need to have a newsletter. The size of the club also means that planning must go into it. Meetings, often on a monthly basis have to occur to plan things.
Once meetings, on a formal basis occur, the club has changed, and a new type of member is attracted: the Anal Bureaucrat. These bastards love meetings, and above all, they love structure and organising others, because this is POWER.
Also, as membership increases, funds roll in. The AB's will then insist that the club needs property: clubrooms, library, etc,etc. The meetings slowly become the focus of the club, because this is where the AB shines. Talk about, rather than driving cars becomes the important factor.
The club becomes an Owner's Club, not a Driver's Club. Ownership of, rather than use of, cars becomes most important in this Club. In fact driving is secondary to talking about cars at meetings. Events become short little drives to places where more talking about cars can take place. I know, I've been in clubs where a drive of over 50k's is preceded by a debate about whether a bus should be hired!
The Owner's Clubs also increasingly attract the Restorer Purist owner. This particular genus will "restore" a car to better than new "showroom" condition. They become instant experts on that model, and bore the bejasus out of anyone within earshot. They are also that painful arsehole who will insist on pointing out stuff that others don't care about, like: "You know that you should have used a BSF 1/4" bolt there, instead of a 1/4" AF, and besides that nyloc is not original."
These little twerps do this for POWER, because their normal lives are so bland and useless. They are also the ones who reckon their cars are too good to use, and will arrive on car runs in moderns, and still bore the shit out of anyone within earshot.
Into this little mix you introduce a genuine bit of POWER, like the right to determine who is granted the right to have a Permit, and a Red Plate, which amounts to registration at a quarter of the full rego rate, and the system goes toxic.
The Anal Bureaucrats will assume positions of control in the club, Prez, VP, Secretary and Treasurer, because no one else wants to do that stuff, and the old system gave them considerable CONTROL.
Under the old VicRoads system the system was thus:
The Club Permit Scheme allows the members of VicRoads approved clubs to use their vehicles for a low cost that reflects the limited use of their vehicles.
Vehicles issued with Club Permits can only be used on a highway in connection with official activities organised by or under the auspices of an approved club, and in preparing the vehicle for such club activities. There is also a provision for a club to issue a 'Special Use Authorisation' so that members can use their vehicles for 'one-off' activities such as a family wedding providing there is no commercial gain associated with this use.
And there you have it! A door an anal donkey could bolt through.
The AB's, who position themselves into the key posts in the clubs, make themselves the Keepers Of The Keys To Freedom. And they wield their power ruthlessly, and often in contradiction to VicRoads regulations.
I will re-emphasise that : THEY OFTEN ACT IN CONTRADICTION TO VICROADS REGULATIONS!
Let me say straight off, the founders of the Feral Sports Car Club are all veterans of the old car game. We've all been on Committees in Owner's Clubs, and other so-called Competition Clubs, which suffer from the same degenerative condition, and we were determined to do something different.
Forming the Club.
We decided it would be a good idea to form a club. We rang up VicRoads for some guidance as to what actually constituted a Club capable of being recognised by them. They were pretty vague about it, but reconned if you sorta had about 6 to 8 members, that'd be about it. When pressed, and asked if Incorporation would be a help, they said,: "Oh! Absolutely!".
So, on a hill called The Monk overlooking Castlemaine, 8 of us (4 blokes, 3 partners, and 1 daughter) formed the Feral Sports Car Club. We divied up the positions on the Committee, and that was it. Got stuck into the piss.
Incorporation. Why do it, apart from VicRoads liking it?
The answer is this little clause:
"Members and office bearers are protected against personal liability for the organisation's debts and other legal obligations."
To read the rest of Consumer Affairs blurb on Incorporation click .http://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/clubs-and-not-for-profits/incorporated-associations/become-an-incorporated-association
So, after forming the Club, and reading the stuff on Incorporation, we figured we would have to have a Club bank account, which was a bit of fun. "The name of the account is what?" asked the lovely lady, of the two aged reprobates in front of her. Anyhow, she complied.
Then we downloaded the Model Rules from Consumer Affairs, which you can get from the previous web page.
Don't even think of modifying the rules, because it costs money, and anyway, they are never referred to after that.
Then you fill in the details, post it off, with the fees, and wait.
Not too long after, you receive a nice certificate back in the mail declaring that you are an Incorporated body. This is tantamount to a birth certificate. You exist in the eyes of the law!
The next thing you do is ring up VicRoads, say that you are a car club that has been incorporated, and could they please send you the forms so as to be recognised by them in order to be able to participate in the permit scheme. It's as simple as that!
A couple of days after that the forms arrive. You list your membership numbers, and the cars that you have. Note! Not all the cars need to be going. You can include cars that are "projects". In fact no-one will check up anyway. You are ,after all, dealing with a bureaucracy, and, as long as all the spaces are filled in, who gives a shit?
Most important is that the main office holders get named and their signatures registered, for these punters: the Prez, the VP, the Sec, and the Treasurer, all have the right to sign off on permits.
The forms, with a little verbiage stating why you are different from other clubs in your area, and the Inc Certificate, are sent off, and a nervous wait ensues.
Soon after, a letter, with the official form saying that you are ridgy-didge arrives, but you are still suspicious!
The test comes when you present a car at VicRoads, without a roadworthy certificate, but only The Form!
I have replicated our Form above. You will have to make your own header, but, copy the wording of this form exactly, because it works.
Might it be said that when we first approached VicRoads to get our first permit, we were a tad nervous. It couldn't be this easy, could it? Something's gonna have to go wrong.
We sat there in the office, waiting for our number to come up. We had a copy of our VicRoads doc saying we were ridgy-didge with us. The girl called us up, giggled at the name, looked at her computer and frowned. "Excuse me," she said, and disappeared into an office. We sweated.
"Oh! It's all right," she said, "The computer hasn't caught up with new clubs!"
She took our money, gave us the permit form, and a week later the red plate arrived. AS SIMPLE AS THAT!
As a matter of interest, the owner of the car, the Safety Check Officer, and the Committee Person were all the same person, the ultimate DIY rego system.
At this point, I'll just summarise. You need just 4 mates, with partners to bolster the numbers, and 4 cars, to form a club and be able to be recognised by VicRoads to issue Permits and plates. You do not need to get Roadworthy Certificates to get your cars on the road, and you do not need established car clubs to tell you what THEY think you should do. They hate this, and, quite rightly, feel very threatened by this.
The New System
Under the old system the AB's had a lot of control, as everything was directly related to club events, and I was pleasantly surprised that they even agreed to go to a Logbook system.
To be fair, there were enormous loop holes in the old system which the Police, and the Insurance companies hated.
The was no definition what the following meant
in connection with official activities organised by or under the auspices of an approved club, and in preparing the vehicle for such club activities.
You could be driving around everyday organising an event that was to be run in the near future. You could be hundreds of miles from home trying to find an "intermittent electrical fault" which only showed up under those conditions. The coppers hated it because they did not know the rules, the insurance companies hated it because they work on strict actuarial formulae, and VicRoads hated it because it was impossible to define those terms.
The new system is elegantly simple:
Under the new conditions of use, permit holders are no longer restricted to club sanctioned activities when using their vehicles. Club Permit vehicles can be used at any time for any purpose other than for the carriage of goods or passengers for hire or reward.
A logbook is issued to permit holders to record the use of the vehicle over the permit period. A log book entry must be made each day that the vehicle is used (unless the vehicle is within 100 metres of the garaged address).
A logbook must be carried in the vehicle, or on the rider in the case of motorcycles, at all times the vehicle is in use.
But, as is obvious, it is a threat to the AB's, and it does mean an end to "business as usual". It comes as no surprise that the NSW road authorities, under pressure from the car club peak bodies, did not go down this route.
A Few Traps To Avoid.
Once you get going, you will be noticed, and others will seek to join you. Flattering though this may be, avoid the temptation to get big, because you will end up as yet another Owner's club, and the Anals will take over. Remember, you are under no obligation to accept anyone to your club.
Here's what we did.
We set a limit of Full (i.e. voting) Members. Others who join us as members are Associate Members till a vacancy occurs. The have all rights, except voting rights.
We have an AGM that lasts 1 minute, and no other meetings.
We do not accept anyone who just wants to join. They are invited to come along, to see if we get along, providing their car is acceptable, but if they are a pain in the arse they are pissed off.
We have minimal fees, enough to cover the cost of Incorporation, and the website, plus $10 to keep the bank account open. Any surplus we drink.
We are perfectly happy to run the club until we feel it is no longer fun, and then we'll kill it off. The absence of any property or assets makes this easy.
We are local, very local. If you live too far away, you'll be unlikely to participate, and are probably just wanting the Red Plate facility. Start your own club.
So there you have it. The how and why of forming your own club. It's not really rocket science, just take it step by step, and you'll do it. It costs bugger all, far less than your fees to an Owner's club, and you don't cop the grief.
If, after this, you still have some queries, email me, The Wolf, at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll help you out.
I don't know what the system is in other States, but a Google search will take you there, I'm sure.
THE AIM OF A FERAL DRIVING CLUB IS TO HAVE FUN, OTHERWISE THERE'S NO POINT.
Back in October 2010, I wrote this article, which has since attracted enormous attention, and generated admiration as well as fear and loathing amongst the Forums and car clubs. Since then, I am aware of about 10 new clubs starting as a result of it because the organisers of those clubs contacted me. There may be more who just breezed through the process, and did not need any more info from me. Anyway, I am here revising that article because circumstances have changed with VicRoads.
Much of the article remains the same, and if you want to visit the original, just go to http://feralsportscarclub.net/CarClub.html
The New Car Clubs?
When you get massive changes in the regulations like this, then it is obvious that the nature of car clubs is also going to change.
What is a car club anyway? Is it a collection of old farts gathering once every month and banging on about thread sizes? Is it a collection of anal hub cap polishers? It may be, but it doesn't have to be.
On its simplest level, a car club is an organisation recognised by VicRoads as a car club. A "club" according to the Oxford Dictionary is: An association of persons interested in the promotion of some object.
In our case, the object is driving down dirt roads, camping in the Outback, visiting good pubs and having fun with our mates in cars that are not tarted up. We do have organised events, but, you don't have to have them.
You can have whatever object you want, and so long as you have cars, bikes, busses, trucks and/or tractors etc that are 25 years old or older, VicRoads will recognise you.
For example, you, a couple of mates, or family members might live in the bush, on larger blocks, and have a few cars and bikes. You form a very local club for social purposes, and while you are at it, you can get your Land Rover fire truck on a 45 day permit, and your neighbour, can get his old Bedford truck with the water tank on it, and your other neighbour with the Grey Fergie with the slasher on it. You are a motoring club and can do whatever you like with your vehicles as long as you don't do it for hire or reward.
What the new system means for the old clubs is that they can no longer dictate terms to their members, because it is so easy for those members who are aggrieved to just leave, and set up their own clubs. It was easy before, as I pointed out in the previous version of this article, but it is now much easier with fewer restrictions.
It is now perfectly possible to take your car to work, as long as you comply with the Logbook requirements. If you have 4 cars, each on 90 day permits, you can drive them for 360 days a year.
Dangers to the System.
I have noticed in the Chat rooms and the Forums that what I am suggesting, and what we are doing is "threatening the permit system", because we are going against "the spirit"even though they know I'm not suggesting anything illegal.
This is just nonsense, and what they are really saying is: If you don't do as we say, then VicRoads will take your plates away.
I don't believe anything of the sort will happen. I now have 4 vehicles on permits, and every time I visit the local VicRoads I chat with them. They are amazed, and pleased by the large numbers of newly permitted cars that are on their books since the new scheme started. The car owners are voting with their feet.
VicRoads, like all Government Departments, are run by the bean-counters. Do you really imagine that they are going to kill the goose that is laying golden eggs by the bucket loads?
The coppers are happy because the new system is easy to police.
The insurance companies are happy because they can accurately assess risk.
The only threat to the new system comes from the car club peak bodies if they decide to lobby for the return of the old system., and they know that their individual members will not support them.
VicRoads does not require any registration holder to submit themselves to annual safety examinations. Many clubs, under the guise of "safety" corral their members to submit to this, before they renew their permits. There is absolutely nothing on the VicRoads Permit Renewal Form that even mandates annual inspections, in fact VicRoads states that documentation is only required "On the initial issue of a club permit". This is a means of control by clubs over their members.
Also VicRoads does not require a Roadworthy Certificate for any car, on the very good reason that "Roadworthiness" is a precise legal term, within the meaning of the Act, and very few cars 50 years and older could actually meet that requirement. They require either a roadworthy certificate, or an official letter from the club.
So why do clubs ask for it? A bureaucratic cop-out, and a blunt instrument to hold over their members.
I will post the Form that the Ferals use later, but, any club Committee member has the POWER to say that a car is fit to travel on a public road, and VicRoads will accept it. Simple as that. The rest is bullshit.
Why don't they do it? YOU ASK THEM!
Don't get me wrong, I don't really care what owner's clubs do, but what I get pissed off about is that, like religious fundamentalists, they think their way is the only way, and will discriminate against anyone who, for example wants to present cars like we drive.
In the country, there is generally just one car club per town, and they enforce their rules. This article is directed towards helping the many, especially in the country, who don't want to conform to the Owner's Club model.
So.......what do you do about it? I'll tell you what WE did in 2005!