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Old car club is more cars than club

"Jack Rasmussen of Greenbank talks about this 1930 Ford Model A roadster pickup that he and his wife, Gaila, drove to Boston last year.Jon Jensen/staff photosSome Whidbey Island fans of old cars formed a club about four years ago, but you might have a hard time getting them to tell you its name or much about it.It's not a secret - they just enjoy cars more than clubs, so they haven't paid much attention to the usual details of organization.This is the perfect car club: No dues, no bylaws and no officers, said one of its members, Ross Horton of Greenbank.In fact, he's hard-pressed to tell you the name of the club.I think it's the Whidbey Island Old Car Club, he said Saturday as the group held its annual Labor Day barbecue at his home. Horton said there were membership cards printed up at one time, but he can't remember much about them - including where his card is.This club is more of a friendship group for car nuts, said Nikki Dalgarn. She and her husband, Jim, live at Useless Bay and drive a restored Model A Ford.If you're wondering if women get as interested in old cars as men do, she might not be the one to ask. That car was a Mother's Day gift to me in '64, and I've never been behind the wheel, she said with a smile.The Dalgarns used the car regularly, and their son drove it to high school. Then two years ago her husband decided to restore it, she explained. He found Jack and Ole, and they were more than happy to help.His new compatriots in the restoration project were Jack Rasmussen of Greenbank and Ole Olausen of Freeland. All three own Model A Fords and are part of the Whidbey club.Horton said he belongs to three car clubs: The very informal one that he thinks he knows the name of, a club for owners of Chrysler products because of his 1949 Dodge, and Whidbey Cruzers, a group of mainly street rods that he got into through a guy on the island who did some work on one of his cars.The Whidbey Old Car Club meets the first Saturday of the month for breakfast at a Coupeville restaurant, where the talk runs to buying parts through swap meets and on the Internet, upcoming car shows, and just about anything else. Those meetings, like everything about the club, are very informal, and visitors are welcome. All that's required, Horton said, is an interest in old cars.Restoring the cars provides many stories for their breakfast gatherings. For example, Horton's 1949 Dodge Wayfarer Roadster has three taillights - one each from Oregon, Maine and Pennsylvania.And after the cars are in tip-top condition, driving them can provide more adventures. Rasmussen and his wife, Gaila, drove their 1930 Model A Roadster pickup to Boston last year, visiting friends along the way. The truck, which had a side-hinged cover over the bed so it functions as a trunk, will cruise at 60 mph. They took U.S. Highway 2 east much of the way, and returned on U.S. Highway 50 from Pennsylvania to Colorado.The only mechanical problem on the month-long journey was a burned-out headlight bulb - and Rasmussen carries spares.It was fun, he said, driving the truck into Dearborn, Mich., to the factory where it was built 69 years ago.Perhaps one of the reasons this is a more casual club is that it's not focused on one type of car. Brian Martin of Coupeville has a red 1954 MG convertible. Harry Josephson, who lives at Mutiny Bay, drives a 1958 Imperial, a 22-foot-long pale blue behemoth with tailights set into the fins.Nikki Dalgarn said driving a restored old car is fun because people invariably wave to you, and many will strike up a conversation as soon as you stop. You can't drive these cars without people telling you their memories, she said.In fact, some of this club's work is in a museum. Its members have the distinction of being the folks who fixed up the first car on Whidbey Island, the Holman that resides in the county museum in Coupeville.Most of the members of the club are retired, and they say that's an advantage when rebuilding a car, because it takes a lot of time.It helps if you're a mechanic, said Josephson.Added Martin, Either that or have a very thick wallet.Another nice thing about this hobby, according to Nikki Dalgarn, is that the end product only gets more valuable. They won't depreciate in value. There's always somebody willing to buy it.Olausen says that depends on what price you put on your time and effort.You can never sell them for as much as you put into them. "

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