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ol' yeller

How Can The BCA Survive?

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I am not a BCA member because my main interest is the Buick 'muscle car era'. I feel the BCA's main interest is showing pre-1960s Buicks. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, it is just not for me. I have seen the Bugle publication before and have met several BCA members over the years, and my idea of what the BCA is and what it represents has not changed.

I would guess a number of my peers would feel the same way. Something within the BCA would need to change this perception.

I was a member of the Buick Gran Sport Club of America (GSCA) from 1992 - 2007 and have been a Buick Performance Group (BPG) member since inception (2002). When I first got into this hobby, all my friends would meet at this-or-that racetrack. Twenty years later, nothing has changed - we're still meeting at racetracks. I'm not a 'show person' or a 'race person' - I'm a 'people person' (so I've been told :D ). I go to events to laugh with friends from all over. Racing at a national event was previously discussed here, and I also feel it would be a step in the right direction. I also like the idea of a 'roaming' event venue, even though I would unfortunately only be able to attend 'local' events. A roaming event does gets more people involved.

The BCA needs to find a way to make most 'Buick' people happy. Besides the Buick Performance Group (BPG), Riviera Owners Association (ROA), and Buick Gran Sport Club of America (GSCA), what other 'Buick exclusive' clubs exist? It was stated earlier that these groups fill a void in the BCA. I agree. The BCA needs to fill the void to attract these members.

Also, to attract members, you have to give people a benefit. What are the benefits of BCA membership? Here are the current BPG member benefits -

BPG member benefits

Hopefully some of these ideas can help all of 'us' Buick people.

I always have stated - "The cars bring us together, the people keep us together" :cool:

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Some interesting stuff. It seems to me from some of the comments is that, like Buick itself, perception is much of the problem. We have Brian with pre-war cars reaching out to other groups interested primarily in performance (I never saw mention of a '36 Century though). We have Roberta with a race car and a '56 Special in the wings. We have folks like me who have collections that span the decades (while I don't have what would be considered performance cars, a couple of them weren't slouches in their day and one has seen some significant modifications...not to mention that I want to round out the collection with a turbo car from the 80s). We have the chairman of the BPG speaking more eloquently about loving all Buicks than some BCA members. We have folks that belong to some or all of the aforementioned groups.

We have performance-minded Buick enthusiasts who don't know all the BCA can offer.

We have BCA members who don't know what some of the other Buick clubs offer.

We also have individuals who have expressed a preference for one type of event over another.

The primary BCA membership benefit is an excellent monthly magazine. The Bugle is not only high quality, but there are a number of classified ads for cars and parts that you may very well not see anywhere else. The BPG membership benefits have been listed, but many of them don't apply if you don't get to the event.

As for what is in the Bugle, Pete has some influence, but if, say, numerous requests were made and articles submitted on say, the history of the GS, Stage engines, turbo cars, etc., then they would wind up in the Bugle. To a degree, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

The reality is that no club is going to be all things to everyone. Hopefully though we can all remain civil and continue to talk to each other, hopefully keeping the peace and even getting closer.

Personally, while I'm no racer, I would like to have the opportunity to run a 1/4 mile with my Buick friends...regardless of which Buick I bring - the dual carb '41, the '54 Estate Wagon, the '66 Wildcat, or the '76 Indy pace car. That would certainly add an element to the event. Of course, I would be concerned a bit about breaking my cars though too, since I'm not a racer.

Mark - I'd love to hand out Bugles with application forms, but I'm unwilling to give away all my old Bugles and, if we all get on the bandwagon, there aren't enough old Bugles to go around.

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I have been a member of the BCA since 1969 (BCA 1308) and was a member of the GSCA from 1990 to 2002. I still go to the Michigan -Ohio race at Norwalk that is run by Roberta and Bill, and although I stopped racing a couple of years ago, ,I still go to see the people.

I agree that there are people on both sides of the fence that can't seem to see what the other person sees in the different Buicks. I still catch some flack from BCA members because my 72 GS has headers and flowmasters and my 37 coupe has a 455.

The muscle car group is much more acceptable of my 40 convert and my 69 Sport Wagon than the BCA people.are of mt muscle cars.

I believe the BCA has lost its way and needs to go back to their original premise. Since the 400 point judging system has come into play, the BCA has gone from a group that enjoys old cars ,to a bunch of trophy hunters. The BDE was formed for that reason , and although the BCA is losing members and has financial problems, the BDE is growing and is financially well off. This should tell you something.

Edited by The Old Guy (see edit history)

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Guest BJM

The Old Guy is my personal barometer of the health of the BCA. Sage advice for sure.

On the surface, I want the 400 point judging for 2 reasons. Stewardship and integrity are important to me so having BCA seniors keeps that bar high. On the other hand, sometimes these cars drop out of sight. So it becomes more of a personal achievement thing or a pedigree for resale at a high dollar auction.

So I'm with Old Guy on this one. How much hand wringing goes on at a BCA National to pull off the 400 point judging? Coordination, accuracy, getting judges, upsetting some people over scoring.

I keep thinking, "by gawd, I'm going to restore my next Buick to win a BCA senior gold." Jeez I'll probably never get a car that nice but i still want to bring what I have to a national meet.

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What a great thread this has been!

I too agree with The Old Guy as I am into touring with my ORIGINAL prewar Buicks. However, I do not condem those who upgrade or hot rod their cars to enjoy their particular version of the hobby. After all, I often get replacement parts for my cars from those who modify theirs. If it were not for these parts, many original cars would not be original. There is room for everyone in this hobby and we all need to recognize and respect this fact.

I will be taking my 24 Buick (Cut Down) Truck to a big "End of the World" cruise-in this weekend. It is mostly for hot rods, but this thread has inspired me to take over a dozen old bugles with my BCA number filled-in on the sponsor line of the BCA application form. Who knows how many in the crowd might also be interested in my version of a modified Buick.

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Sean and All,

There's one thing for for sure we've got more passion about our Buicks than any other car people I see at shows ( well maybe the Studebaker folks are close) But no nicer people anywhere.

RY

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this is an age old topic, held by many a club, be it auto related, work related technical societies, you name it.

Here's my experience and observations;

I have joined BCA over the years, 3 times ( at least). I joined each time for different reasons. [ and just as true , I let my membership lapse for different reasons].

I joined when I got my first car a 1938 Buick. Local guy club members told me I should join BCA as a source of information and parts, to keep my car running. And so I did, and that was a long time ago; check my member #.

I can't remember how long I stayed a paid up member, but money was hard to ration out as a teenager, and I let my membership lapse,... at the time I had acquired all the info I needed.

I then got very busy making a career and cars took the back seat along with club memberships.

I rejoined about 20 years ago when I had more time for car hobby stuff, because I remember the good info and friends made thru the club...but again let my membership lapse, as there was little to hold my interest being so far away from others in the club.

I have again rejoined BCA this year at the urging of Thriller and others locally.

The reason I joined was to be part of a 'fraternity' of Buick crazies, both locally and south of the border ( yes, that's you guys in the northern states). I expect to remain a member for the forseeable future, but who knows...

So a club of this type will appeal to different people based on what they want from a club.

Members will come and go, and if the natural order of things is a slow reduction in total members as we compete with other clubs, we need to make the necessary adjustments. That doesn't mean to say we become spectators in this. We need to remind ourselves of the changing reasons why we are members, and how these things will appeal to different people.

Enjoy the club, enjoy the events, travel to events put on by others, talk about the friendships, talk to new members to let them know they are welcome,( new member retention is likely just as big an issue), and be ready to help a fellow Buick lover of all years and models and by all means make joining easy ( ...hand them a membership application or help them apply, and mayube consider a student membership status for the young guys). I know, I have heard it too, hey if he can afford the car, he can afford the membership dues... well I can tell you from experience that if given a choice, as a perpetually broke teenager, I'd gas up the car and go out for a drive, over paying up next years dues, if it came down to it.

The rest will take care of itself.

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I was pondering the possible dynamics of a joint BCA/BPG event in Columbus, OH, for example. Then something became very clear . . . some cultural changes will probably need to evolve first.

It seems that the BPG members are more interested in racing, hence the perceived desire of them to have their events at "race tracks". Similarly, the BCA members generally have issues if their show field/swap meet/indoor swap meet is NOT at the host hotel, or nearby. I suspect that unless a joint event was held at a NASCAR track, the proximity to the host hotel of the events would not be really possible. Except that NASCAR tracks generally don't have a 1/4 mile drag strip next door. So much for that idea!

When our North Texas Chapter was formulating the bid for the 1994 BCA National Meet, our lead person was Pete Phillips. When the contract was signed with the host hotel, there was sufficient open space beside it to have the show field and outdoor swap meet there. A year later, it was covered with concrete and buildings. When Pete saw that, he freaked. Although he was told the hotel owned it, the hotel's manager didn't "control" it.

We already had the Plano Centre contracted for the awards banquet, so I suggested he talk to them about moving the entire event up there. I heard dialogue about it would not be accepted by the members who HAD to have everything at one physical location. I asked "What other options do we have, at this time?" By that time, I'd been to Mopar Nats several times and also a Super Chevy Sunday or two--both events held at race tracks but with no groupings of hotels nearby, requiring "drives' to get to. It didn't seem to affect those enthusiasts, but it was Pete's observation that BCA members would not like it. At that time, I'd never heard of the necessity of an indoor swap meet, but the concept has some merit. End result, we moved everything to the Plano Centre and all worked out well.

It would seem that with the, generally, LOTS of meetings and such which go on at the BCA National Meets, one has to pick and choose and prioritize what is participated in or attended. In some respects, it seems like we're trying to condense 5 days worth of stuff into 3 days, and then have Sunday as the "leave for home" day. Scheduling of the event, itself, can be tricky due to school schedules not being really standardized throughout North America and Canada. Too early in the spring/summer, complaints of "Too early, the kids aren't out of school yet!", too late, "The kids start school next week!" (or similar).

As for location, everybody seems to want to go to "a destination city" rather than otherwise. There have been exceptions, though, which have worked reasonably well.

With the expanding number of vehicles eligible for 400 point judging, driver's class, modified class, and such which we now have at the BCA National Meets, having the event at a race track makes more sense, to me, than trying to find a hotel cluster which enough room to do all of that and have the swap meet, just as using a convention center makes sense for the same reason . . . available space. It's much easier to find hotels with meeting rooms than outside parking!

Using a race track for the event venue also means more space for vendors active in the hobby, plus "main players" to attend and set up shop and show their products for all to see. Parts, publications, restoration companies, restoration shops, etc., just like at one of the other larger specific-interest vehicle clubs have on their "manufacturer's midway". LOTS of possiblities!

With the daytime focus at "the track" for searching for parts and such, or watching the racing action, that would leave the evening hours for the meetings (rather than have them happen during the day, as they presently do). So, everybody heads for the hotel about 5pm for a 6pm meal and 7:30pm meeting, an 8:30pm meeting, and 9:30pm meeting--each evening.

Now, one thing I've noticed about the Mopar Nats event is how multi-generational that event is! One year, I saw a grandmother holding her grandchild (under the Viper tent) as the parents were, obviously, out looking at cars and such. Fathers, sons,daughters, and wives attend too. One year, I watched a father watch his son put drag slicks on the front of his Dodge K-car (which also had some hot rod stuff under the hood), as the mother and younger sister watched. Easily, I could imagine the grandfather smiling as he also watched, if he'd been there. The cars in the "Young Guns" section of the car show were interesting, too, including a Plymouth Acclaim which had been modified with suicide doors and enough custom stuff to make a show car enthusiast drool--all done in a high school auto shop class by a group of students. Of course, they spent about 5+ times what they probably paid for the vehicle, but it was one heck of a learning experience they'll never forget.Key thing is that all generations were involved, either as spectators or participants! Of course, the "car show" in the parking lot always reveals some interesting cars.

I can't help but suspect that many BCA members might be totally surprised at the enthusiasm for Buicks outside of the BCA group, if they might attend a Buick event similar in format to the Mopar Nats . . . I'll admit, I'm not sure just how close the BPG event might come to this--or if it might exceed what I've seen happen at the Mopar Nats events over the years.

One thing which might be emulated is the "biggest and best" show event for Buicks, which can help the Buick side of the hobby greatly. Let the BCA run the car show and judging events, let the BPG handle the "performance oriented" activities. Perhaps BDE or other BCA Divisions might want to help too? Then, in the evenings, everybody sits around the host hotel restaurant and swaps "information" with old and new friends. There could be some seminars held at the track with the main "heavy duty" meetings held at the hotels after dinner. When the BCA Awards Banquet would be held might be something to consider, or if its format might be modified somewhat.

It's obvious that any of the car groups which have their annual main events at a drag strip (as National Trails near Columbus, OH or Indianapolis Raceway Park at Brownsburg, IN) do not really mind driving to the event from where their lodging might be. Most who have show-quality cars do trailer them to the race tracks, then put them back "in the box" at the end of the day--especially if they come from across the nation. Or unload them at the hotel and drive them to the track. Of course, dedicated race cars aren't street legal, so they are trailered anyway. Contrast this with the observed "one stop, one location" orientation of BCA operatives--at least from what I've seen.

Also, it's been observed that some car event promoters/owners have no problem with having their events at the same location for 5 years at a time. By the same token, moving the shows around each year, as the BCA and others do, also makes sense and exposes more of the country to Buicks and their owners. BOTH have their own compelling discussions of viability.

I suspect that a joint BCA/BPG event could be good for both groups, but I also suspect that each will lose some participation on either side of the "show/race" fence as a result. Finding a way for EACH group to not lose it's individuality in the process might be a task, too! But that's not a reason to not try and make it happen! I also suspect that for insurance purposes, EACH group would need to have highly-defined sections of the race track property they would be responsible for, per each group's existing insurance policy specifications.

A Brice Road full of Buicks might be an interesting sight!

Regards,

NTX5467

Edited by NTX5467 (see edit history)

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Interesting thoughts there NTX.

I, for one, would prefer BCA meets NOT be in "destination cities". Since I generally try to be one of those two generation families at the event, frankly, destination locations drive up the cost. I'm not suggesting events be held in the middle of nowhere, but I suspect that Rochester was less expensive than the Twin Cities, for example (although I may be wrong). There are still interesting things to see and do.

I guess in thinking about the National meet, people are there for different reasons. Some show up for Saturday judging and unload the car for as little time as possible. Some are there to take in the tours in a location they may never have visited before. Some are there to spend time on the show field with the Buicks. Some are there for the people - friends old and new. Others may be other things I haven't thought of or a combination of things.

Personally, I'd like to see some racing as well. I'm not sure whether or not I'd like to see how my slow Buicks would do. I'm sure my boys would definitely enjoy some 1/4 mile action.

At any rate, some folks need to either drop their prejudices towards owners of Buicks they don't think belong, or at minimum shut their mouths and not be openly hostile.

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Thriller,

Well Iowa 2010 is as close to "the middle of nowhere as you can get". Just kidding. I too, am not crazy about destination cities. Taking my 63 thru 6 lane traffic is not my idea of Fun.

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While looking at Ames, I looked at various options in Nashville. It would have been more expensive for the most part and almost 3 times as expensive at Opryland.

Can anyone from prior years tell me why we cant have drag racing at the Nationals anymore ? I know the BOD decided that a while ago but I wasn't on the BOD then.

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Possibly due to items NOT in the BCA's insurance policy? But, considering that whenever you sign up to race at a drag strip or road course, you sign a waiver which releases everybody from any responsibility from accidents, deaths, or other losses--last time I was at one. Seems like that waiver would also release your personal auto insurance company from any liabilities, too? I know the fine print of car rental agreements typically forbid their vehicles being used for such purposes, too. End result, when you set a tire on the strip, might plan to at the event, or just enter the pits you sign the waiver saying "You're on your own--at your own peril".

OR might it be that although the BCA activities would be earlier in the day, prior to the strip's Main Event that afternoon and evening, the BCA didn't desire to pay the track's rent for that time frame as it was not a profitable thing for them to do? Cost prohibitiveness? Not enough participation, which might not be the case in a joint BCA/BPG event?

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

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They did have racing at the 2003 National but it was off site. If I remember right they had to quit racing because of insurance issues. Even with the waivers there is always a possibility someone will try to sue. There must be someway to have racing involved with national car clubs, the GSCA and Mopar nationals do it all the time.

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By the way there are several NASCAR tracks with Drag racing venues next door in Bristol, TN, Rockingham , NC, Las Vegas, NV and Charlotte, NC... maybe more. All are pretty far a way from any major hotel grouping with the exception of Charlotte with about 11 hotels within a 1/4 mile (no pun intended) of Zmax Dragway as well as a major mall and numerous restaurants within a mile. One of the hotels has been the host hotel for several AACA Nationals and will be for a 2010 Early Ford National and a few other clubs. Maybe it'll be a host hotel for a BCA National sooner or later!

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Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL -- SW of Chicago also has Route 66 Raceway (drags) within the same convines of the Speedway grounds. I also believe that the city of Joliet is restoring and planning to start tours of the "Old Joliet Correctional Facility" (ie; Old Joliet prison). How cool would that be!!!!????

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They did have racing at the 2003 National but it was off site. If I remember right they had to quit racing because of insurance issues. Even with the waivers there is always a possibility someone will try to sue. There must be someway to have racing involved with national car clubs, the GSCA and Mopar nationals do it all the time.

In 1999 at the BCA Columbus National Meet, we had time trials at National Trails, it was not part of the BCA National, but a off shoot of it, we had 10 or 12 cars participate, and was basically free, due to a long time relationship with a BCA member at the time, we got rain out. In 2000 we went the regular test and tune at Richmond Speedway in Richmond, VA, where the Blackhawk was first shown and run on the dragway.

In 2001 we did not do any racing, but in 2002, the Kokomo Meet we raced at at Bunker Hill, IN 1/8 mile track, the sponsoring chapter took the money as part of registration and turn it over to us to pay the track, and we had a few extra bucks to pay out some money for races we were able to work out a payout.

In 2003 we were able to do the same thing at Milan. In 2004, at Plano, TX, nothing was planned to race, and in 2005 we were able to time trial at Lancaster, NY speedway, and pay at the gate, no races were held.

If you go to the BOD minutes at New Page 1 July 2005 you will find the comments of the BOD on drag racing at the BCA Nationals, there was no follow up message in the Bugle to explain their concerns, as Willis has already stated, and is the rule of the tracks, you sign a waiver saying you relieve the promoter and the track of any wrongdoings by you or your pit crew or car, so therefore there are no legal actions against the promoter, so there is absolutey no reason to not have a drag race at a BCA National, so lets plan on doing it at the next National event with a nearby track, you know we have several members that have Bonneville Salt Flats type Buicks that will be showing off, yet this year, as well as others at Maxton, NC, and every year we have at least 6 or 8 Buick Drag Racing events, where some of the fastest cars in the country are Buicks, it is not necessay to belong to a club to attend as they welcome all Buicks, it's time for all of us Buick lovers to try to attend as many Buick events as we can, we have to engage each and every Buick person we can, so even if you aren't a member of the sponsoring club you can attend their event.

Midwest Buick Challenge, Osceola Dragway - Osceola, IN

Septemer 26-27, 2009

May 11-15, 2010, the 30th Anniversary of the GS Nationals in Bowling Green, KY at Beechbend Raceway Park.

May 21-23, 2010, the 20th Annual Buick Race Day at Summit Raceway Park, Norwalk, OH.

AND

2010 Buick Performance Group Nationals to be held on July 30 through August 1 at National Trail Raceway in Hebron OH (near Columbus). Let's gather together the largest number of 1969 - 1974 factory stage1 cars anyone has ever seen since the Buick muscle car days of Flint.

More to come!

Edited by BUICK RACER (see edit history)

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OK...so how far from Ames is there a drag strip? I found one in Cedar Falls, but that is about 100 miles. Ames used to have a drag strip - Ames Drag Strip.

Yesterday I stumbled onto the Modified Driven class...so it got more likely that we will be driving the '76 as well as the '54. I'd be curious to see what Spirit and I could do...all in fun, not serious racing mind you. A few quick lessons from Roberta and I'd be happy to give a shot.

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THANKS for that recap of racing events which happened during BCA National Meets, Roberta!

At the meets we did in Plano, one thing Plano isn't near is a drag strip. Texas Motorplex is a good hour on the other side of Dallas. There are some other tracks in North Texas, but at least an hour's drive through "traffic". Most of the old and OLDER tracks in the more "inner" Dallas/Fort Worth area were closed/sold so the land could be redeveloped for other uses. As far out of town as Texas Motorplex was when it was built, "civilization" is now encroaching into its formerly more agricultural area.

Enjoy!

NTX5467

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Guest BJM
OK...so how far from Ames is there a drag strip? I found one in Cedar Falls, but that is about 100 miles. Ames used to have a drag strip - Ames Drag Strip.

Yesterday I stumbled onto the Modified Driven class...so it got more likely that we will be driving the '76 as well as the '54. I'd be curious to see what Spirit and I could do...all in fun, not serious racing mind you. A few quick lessons from Roberta and I'd be happy to give a shot.

Derek,

To the best of my knowledge - Eddyville Raceway is the closest and it's not close. Boone Iowa - which is a destination for an event - the Boone and Scenic Railway Excursion - has a dirt track raceway and I think it is set to do a circle 8 but I don't think we want to run our pristine Buicks into each other! :)

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The closest Drag Strip is Humboldt County Drag Strip. 50 mile north of Ames near town of Humboldt.

From which I have 5 trophies albeit 40 years old (the trophies I mean).

Blacktop west of Jewell doesn't sound as fun of a idea as it used to.

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I bought my 1961 Buick when I was 15 in 1997.

I joined the BCA shortly thereafter, but my membership has since lapsed.

I just found my original card and will re-join.

I'm 27 now and I don't see too may people in the under 35 crowd with old cars, so I'm concerned about the knowledge base disappearing for all cars, not just Buicks.

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