Roamin’ Oldies – a club for ‘old cars and young at heart’ – The Observer News
By LOIS KINDLE
The Roamin’ Oldies Car Club celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Based in Sun City Center, the approximately 100 members of the group like to get together simply to share their love of cars and trucks: fixing them, driving them and showing them off. It is billed as “a car club for old cars and the young at heart”.
The Roamin’ Oldies includes people from all over southern Hillsborough County, Palmetto and Bradenton.
“They own everything from antiques, collectibles and street canes; racing or sports cars; award-winning restorations; an occasional tractor; and works in progress of dubious ancestry,” said Paul Courter, the club’s director of communications. “The cars are the center of attention, but it’s really the people who make the club. Members quickly become friends and are happy to share their knowledge and experience.
“No one is a foreigner for very long and there are no social strata,” he continued. “The guy you talk to about carburetors might be a company president or a delivery driver. The closest thing we’ve got to royalty is a mechanic who can tell you why your old pickup coughs under acceleration.
Roamin’ Oldies membership is open to everyone, even those who don’t have a vehicle to show. All it takes is a love for cars and trucks. The annual membership fee is $24 per year.
One of the club’s favorite activities is its monthly cruise, which takes place on the first Sunday of the month, weather permitting, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the MiraBay Village mall on US 41 in Apollo Beach.
The event is free for attendees and visitors and includes entertainment by DJ Joey Ferrante. Between 75 and 100 vehicles are usually presented.
Owners and viewers vote for their favorite car or truck displayed, and the vehicle with the most votes is named Cruiser of the Month.
But that’s not all.
Members of Roamin’ Oldies also showcase their vehicles at a wide variety of shows, hosted by other organizations in places like Plant City, Tampa, Palmetto, Ellenton, Lakewood Ranch, Old Town Kissimmee and more.
How it all began
The story goes that a few car enthusiasts who wanted to get their vintage vehicles out of the garage and hit the road got together in 2002 to organize a club. Their first rally included eight cars and took place on a Sunday afternoon in the old Walmart parking lot in Ruskin. Membership grew gradually through mailings and word of mouth.
Club members initially drove to events hosted by other organizations, but later decided to organize their own monthly cruise. Thompson Auto Parts signed on as title sponsor and a DJ was hired to make the monthly event more festive.
Other sponsors include Gateway Classic Cars, Haggarty Classic Car Insurance, Mark McElwain Custom Exhaust and the Florida Railroad Museum. “Our events are open to anyone with a vehicle they want to share or have on a wishlist,” Courter said. “Our cruises typically show a range (of vehicles) from a 1920s Model T hot-rod to an electric Tesla or next-gen Corvette.”
For more information, visit www.roaminoldies.com/.