Lone Wolves and Salty Runs

hen it comes to clubs I have always sided with the famous Groucho Marx who said, “I'd never join any club that would have me as a member.” I’ve always been a lone wolf. 

While it is true that I have a certain affinity for uniforms, patches, insignia, and flags, I don’t necessarily want to wear or wave them. Just not my style, it’s in the blood… true blue, old stock, Anglican, no-fun blood. We don’t wave flags and we barely even dance.

Excuse me a moment. “Waiter, gin and tonic please.”

As I was saying, it is a very staid sort of blood and my brand practically prohibits the joining of clubs. Why bother with group decisions, rules, group picnics, and all that camaraderie nonsense when you know that somebody is always gunning for the president, or for one of the officers? Ick.

Not to say that all clubs are bad news or full of petty jealousies. Many do great community service, fundraising for charity, organizing of events, and the draining of beer kegs. A car club is one I can actually kind of get behind. There is a like interest that can be used for mutual benefit. You break down in Tehachapi and your brothers are obliged to drive down from San Francisco to come bail you out. Killer. What a deal! Information gets shared and everybody helps out when it is time to block sand all the bondo on your ride – right? Everybody helps.

Many years ago, when I still owned my minty fresh ’68 notchback ‘Cuda, I joined and helped to organize a short lived car club devoted to the Chrysler brand. I can’t remember what names were bandied about at the one and only “official” meeting, but we wound up with 'The Scat Pack' as an homage to the Dodge advertising campaign of the late ‘60s. Great name, especially for a car club based in San Francisco. Insert bad homophobic or poopoo joke of your choice here. Some members went and got very nice jackets made and I wound up with a photograph of the group. The ostensible president of the club no longer owns a car of any sort to my knowledge, one guy went Ford, and I divorced my wife. Needless to say, the picture is not on my wall and why I even have it in a box is a mystery. Sentimental scat pack rat, I guess.

Proud owner of the ’69 Road Runner in the background, Toby Barber, left, and Chiselers President Frank Kozik (Kevin Thomson photo)

Times have changed and interests have shifted. In today’s San Francisco, you are more likely to find young men joining a fixed gear bicycle or moped club than a car club. There are still a few holdouts however, and one of the best that comes to my mind is “The Last Originals.” For the Moparite there used to be absolutely nothing… until now.  Now SF can boast of a true Mopar-centric club called 'The Chiselers.'

Started just this year by pop artist Frank Kozik, The Chiselers have quickly amassed a membership of typically SF oddballs, artists, musicians, and filmmakers. I attended their first ever car show at “Thee Parkside” and got a few pics of some of the finer cars in attendance.