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ol' yeller

How Can The BCA Survive?

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Even if 10 minutes is recommended for each car, if you also have to spend 15 minutes finding each vehicle on of the class the team is judging, that can make each vehicle's judging consume more like 30+ minutes.

With all due respect, I'm going to call you out on that exaggeration. The vast majority of the cars are properly registered and the judging captain should have the master judging sheet for each car. If you know what you are looking for, especially for the "expert" judges who consistently only judge one class, it shouldn't take anywhere near an average of 15 minutes to find a car on the show field. Besides, even if one is harder to find, you would probably go by others in the class that need to be judged, so stop and judge them first (of course, the senior cars are the exception to that as they are to be judged first). As it is, there are judging teams that are taking 20-30 minutes per car when they are all together.

Perhaps mixing things up is what is necessary to get these folks to listen to Pete and Alan when they say up to 10 minutes per car and don't kill the car.

Getting off soap box....

GSJohnny - I wouldn't call it analysis paralysis. We have had quite a variety of contributors, members and non-members, from a wide demographic, make comment in this thread. As a majority of our Board of Directors are members of this forum (actually, there is only one who I am unsure of, although I know another isn't a regular), hopefully they are getting some ideas and thoughts about this feedback from the membership. The reality is that, while this may not be a true demographic sampling of the general membership, there is quite a cross-section, so the input is valid. There are differences of opinion without it turning ugly...this implies to me that we are either grown up or that this topic is something we value. Besides, most of us aren't doing any analysis...we're just offering our thoughts and reacting to the thoughts of others.

Essentially we have 3 scenarios - one is to maintain the current level of membership...from the financial information we have seen, this provides insufficient revenue for our expenses, so either expenses need to be cut (difficult when nobody wants to make cuts to the Bugle), or revenues need to increase (dues increase which is already in place). The second is declining membership...this is a more difficult challenge, since it is hard to prepare for...what I mean by that is the size of decline may be difficult to predict, hence budgeting becomes more difficult. The best scenario is with increased membership. The easiest way to actually accomplish this is from the grass roots promotion. If each of us can talk to say 5 Buick owners who aren't members, and even if only one of them join, that would lead to a doubling of the membership. So, if we each talk to 5 folks, and one in 100 join, then we have on the order of 4-500 new members. I'd like to hope we could come up with better than a 1/100 join rate. But, if we all stuff our hands in our pockets, and tell the BoD that they had better do something about it, well, we may just be shooting ourselves in the foot.

OK, so you may be able to count a bit of simple math as analysis...but I'm still typing, so I'm not paralysed :rolleyes:

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derek,

no offense taken on anything. i just wanted to point out what i perceived of the topic. but with 11 pages now, we should be starting to talk scenarios about what can or should be changed vs can't/won't be changed.

it's october and the spring shows will be here soon. if we make and implement changes(also need plan b,c,d etc) now, we can see the effect then. constant improvement will make all things a lot better.

john

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Change can be a wonderful thing, lack of change can be very detrimental as can very fast change with out the communitcation. Go back to problem solving 101, 5 whys, anyone in their 40's or 50's has seen lots of change in their lives, folks in their later years may or may not accept it, younger folks only know what they grew up with, so hence the problem. How do we fix it? Well, take a kid to a car show, take a Buick to a High School and get a dealer to bring a Enclave or LaCrosse and you bring an old Buick to compare, take a Buick Race Car to a technical School or Community college, hook up with the Professor for the Auto department, and get the folks out to the drag races/road races, whatever. show them our web sites as boring as they might be, we see the USA from a different perpective than most tourists, car related stuff and history abound, Then there is always the eating together commardarie that goes with it! Make friends with anybody with a Buick, whether it's a beater or a greatly restored car, it doesn't matter, we all need to be Ambassadors for the Club, make a new friend, keep them for life! The BCA then survives!

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roberta,

we took 3 cars to the ct chapter show. we dont take the keys out and if anybody is interested in the cars, we offer them the chance to get behind the wheel. i put a sign on the skyhawk racecar saying 'get in and try it'. it's funny watching them trying it out. but the kids love it. some adults too.

note; some people from the ct chapter asked me if we were bringing the hawk. we had to rush for 2 weeks to build a motor and installed it. all just for this show.

john

you coming to cecil?

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Roberta is the" voice of sanity " in this insane world. She is also our newly elected chapter director. I thought the present director raised the bar, and did great things. I expect next year will be even better.

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I started this thread because I was concerned that all I was hearing was how the BCA won't survive unless we woo the younger set. Within the first page I discovered that there was a semantics issue. I was including myself as one of the older guys (at age 56). It seems many would view me as one of the younger people they want to keep. That was enlightening. Yes, this has reached 11 pages but the discouse here has been largely civil and only a few diversions away from the topic. Thank you all.

My hope is that those of you in local chapters take some of the ideas written here and try the ones you think will work. I don't truly fear the demise of the BCA in the immediate future. We have a strong foundation and, from what I see here, a willingness to find ways to help our club not only survive, but prosper. I have been lucky to have joined an inclusive and active local chapter, The Puget Sound Chapter. Our membership has been, and is still, growing. The key to our success has been putting on events that the membership wants. We have found that it takes the involvement of nearly every member to continue to put on these types of events. Getting people to join is only the beginning. If they are not engaged in the actual club management or volunteering to help, you will lose them soon. If you become cliquish and exclusive, your membership will wither and die with your older members. There has been some great ideas here. Let's embrace the opportunity to help our club.

Greg

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Derek, no offense taken. My point was to illustrate the additional TRAVEL time involved for the judging team as they might traverse the show field in search of THEIR class of vehicles, all scattered out. Unless they might make a sweep of the show field first (more time?) to find where the vehicles on their list are parked, it would be "more time". My "travel time" value might have been a little high, but this was to illustrate that "other times" would be involved rather than just "judging time".

Also, it's been my observation that unless the judging team might be highly focused on finding their vehicles (not parked together), there is usually some stopping and looking at vehicles in other classes -- even IF the judging captain might not like them taking extra time to do that and request they not do it. Even if it might take just a minute to glance over such a vehicle on the way to the one they are to judge, those minutes can add up too. Multiply that by the number of members in the judging team and it soon becomes significant. Having the judging team to go to ONLY the class they are judging, directly rather than indirectly, will minimize such "sight seeing" and related delays.

I also see signals that you would have the vehicle parking unstructured to motivate the judging teams to be more expeditious in their judging activities (the 10 minute target time) rather than otherwise. I concur that if a team is taking 15-20 minutes to judge ONE vehicle, then they are trying to find deducts on a perfect vehicle (hopefully) and are really having to look to find them (to the entrant's credit!). IF that 20 minute stated time also includes the necessary paperwork generated for EACH vehicle, then it might not be as bad as it might sound.

To me, a key thing about judging ANY vehicle is to not "pick" the vehicle UNLESS you have to, due to high levels of competition in that particular class and/or the increasing levels of execution in the restoration process which seem to happen each year--by observation. Still, EACH vehicle in that class should receive the same degree of scrutiny--period. This can be where you see the differences in highly experienced judges, moderately experienced judges, "recently-new" judges, and future "in-observation training" judges for the class of vehicles being judged. I mention these levels of expertise as I know that judging teams tend to be a very diverse group, whose diversity can be mutually beneficial if handled correctly.

To me, having every vehicle in every class parked with the others in that particular class is more about efficient use of judging time than about "the show" itself. Fewer reasons for the judges to "sight see" on the way to their next vehicle to judge, too. To me, if it was about the spectator show, then all vehicles would be parked with their trunks closed, hoods down, and convertible tops "down", such that the great lines and beauty of the vehicles would be maximized rather than having then "open and exposed for all to see". As the 400 Point Judging show field is about the judges need to see everything on the vehicle, then the vehicles need to be "open" rather than "closed".

It could well be time to realign the class designation "letters" and the vehicles they represent in the judged show event. One possibility might be to put ALL prior Senior vehicles in one "showcase" section, regardless of class--make it something special and an honor others might aspire to.

The 400 Point Judging vehicles, which are not yet Seniors, would be parked by decades rather than model series per se. For example, all 1950s cars would start with model year 1950 and progress to the 1959 model year. In this scheme of things, as one walked the show field line, it would be from one end of the decade to the other, possibly with particular models of the same year parked beside each other or all of each model in that decade in one section of the line. In later years, this would also include the Reattas in the respective decade line.

In the 1960s decade line, it would progress from the 1960 models to also include the Buick compact, intermediate, muscle, and full-size vehicles in one progression toward model year 1969. In this situation, if the muscle car entrants wanted one section of the line for themselves, it could be arranged.

Something of this nature might accomodate the need for parking diversity and also keep the judging teams in their designated/desired areas for efficient judging activities. It would ALSO allow the spectators to find the vehicles they might be interested in seeing more easily while also showcasing the model year progressions of Buicks in all of their combined glory.

Similarly, the modified and archival class Buicks could have showcase areas similar to that of the existing Senior cars. Something to let them have some visibility for those interested in those things rather than normal 400 Point Judged vehicles. Hopefully, the end result would be that both spectators and judges could easily and quickly find the vehicles they desire or need to look at. Many spectators will not walk the entire show field, they'll just go to the vehicles they are interested in seeing--then they leave. Not unlike judging teams in search of particular classes to judge, then leave to put their paperwork together for presentation to "the judging room" operatives.

I offer this as a proposal, although it might contain some features already in place in some instances, but I suspect it has some features not currently in use. With the decreasing ability of GM to supply historic vehicles to our BCA National Meets (and other marque's similar meets), putting the existing Seniors in a place of honor and prominence might mask the fact that fewer GM historic vehicles were brought in for the meet. Having the modified and archival classes showcased in particular corners of the show field, with appropriate signage, can be done to help draw attention to them, although (as far as many BCA members are concerned) the "core event" show in "in the middle". Let spectators see so many special and nice Buicks on display that they do not notice the possible absence of any of GM's historic vehicle collection at the meet--until AFTER they leave.

We HOPE that everybody is proud of their Buick, so some added showmanship of sorts at the BCA National Meets for the vehicle show field might be in order. Something more than just a bunch of cars parked "on hallowed ground" with letter designation signs placed every so often (which the spectator has no "decode" for). Some national meets require the vehicle owners to have "spirit items" (sales brochures, manufacturer logo items from the model year of the vehicle, etc.) on display with/in/around the vehicle, but sometimes this makes it look a little cluttered such that you can't see the car for the items, seemingly. Mainly, the showmanship would be in spiffy signage for the designated classes--maybe even some balloons. Hopefully, the end result would be that spectators tell their friends how good things were and generated some positive "buzz" about the BCA as a good club for Buick enthusiasts to be a part of.

As far as "the age factor" goes, it does not matter which vehicle club or chapter it might be, members like to be around other members of their own general age, whether young or old or in-between. What THEY see is their perception of the group. BUT we can ALL BE FRIENDS regardless of our different ages! If the younger prospective members see older "mentors" (rather than otherwise!!!), who welcome them in "as family", then the age issue can melt away soon. If the older members might see the younger member as "You want a cherry old Buick to do WHAT with it???!!), that's not necessarily an age issue per se, but a "difference of orientation" in pursuit of Buick enthusiam not specifically related to chronological age. However we might pursue our Buick enthusiasm, we can ALL share information on the way to our desired "ultimate" Buick--old Buick or newer Buick--becoming reality.

To me, a major issue with any national-level vehicle meet is doing what you can to make it run efficiently, expeditiously, and still be fun for all. How the 400 Point Judging vehicles are parked on the show field is one component of that orientation, which ALSO relates to how efficiently and expeditously the judging admin operatives can do ALL of their many jobs, which relates to how the awards logistics can happen prior to the banquet that same evening.

Roy Faries' software programs have helped with the various judging and awards functions, immensely. In that whole chain of events, that leaves the judging activities themselves to be one of the remaining areas where more efficiencies of operations can be gained.

In that chain of thought, I know it is normal for a Judges Breakfast to happen on the morning prior to the judging activities beginning. As this function can be somewhat time-consuming, it might also be a little too much of a social function that ends up delaying the completion of judging activities themselves. This is also a significant overhead cost for the host chapter. Perhaps . . . each judge being responsible for their own breakfast (including the reason that some might need "different" dietary items than those provided), then arrive at the appointed staging area for coffee and doughnuts/rolls for the final "pep talk" and instructions prior to the start of judging activities? When they finish their assigned judging functions, then there would be a "brunch" area to relax in before returning to "meet particpant" status . . . at which time their judging pins would also be passed out by their team captain. Job completed . . . relax . . . reward . . . "gone".

Enjoy!

NTX5467

Edited by NTX5467 (see edit history)

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A lot of great ideas and thinking going on here,great thread!

Since I'm up on my dues,here's my two cents.INCLUSION!Understand that the common thread is the Buick.Restored,hot rodded or modified should all be welcomed and appreciated by all,I believe it is that simple.

The ideas relating to the show field on the post above are great in my opinion,the layout of the show should be inviting to the spectators and easy to follow.Being that Buick survived the axe,they may be willing to spend some ad money in the few years to come,the BCA could capitalize on that if that was to be the case,lets not just think that support is waning.

Reaching out to other organized Buick groups would be something that may help membership.Groups like the GS Club of America(GSCA),Buick Performance Group(BPG),internet sites like V8Buick and Team Buick,to name a couple,are full of very passionate Buick owners and admirers.Many of those people are BCA members but most are not.I've seen some chatter already initiated on the BPG board and think that it is a good aproach.

Remember that for a lot of people "The Buick Bugle" is why they pay their dues for,keep the good work there(special thanks to Pete Phillips).

Finally,I've been a member for a couple of years and joined because I wanted to find people interested on the Buicks close to me,all my friends in the hobby are passionate about Fords and Chevrolets(which I was with for about 20 yrs.).I will prepay for 3 more years when my dues are up in Nov of '09.I hope to see some good things coming but if not,that will do it for me.I'm 45 and I drive Buick clunkers:D.

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GSJohnny - your explanation now makes more sense to me. Thanks for the clarification.

NTX - I would love to believe that the judges are taking their time, but it doesn't make sense to me. I have seen judging teams that average 20 minutes per car, then hand out a bunch of bronze awards. That to me is not trying to find fault in a perfect car. That is closer to killing the car. Now, if we introduced concours style judging with white gloves looking for dust, then I can appreciate it taking longer and trying to find fault. However, this isn't a competition between cars, it is trying to measure a car against a standard - that standard being as the car left the factory. It may be possible that I'm the one who doesn't understand the 400 point system, but every year I seem to come across folks who refuse to subject their cars to the judging.

As another stated, I agree that I don't see the imminent demise of the BCA. However, the club is what we, the membership, make of it. If we aren't inclusive and try to drum up support, then the BCA will have a harder time. We need to be visible, positive about the club, and willing to share and discuss membership with non-members.

I always have more to say, but I have to run....

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Derek, I fully concur that the 400 Point System is NOT a concours-style judging system. The problem can be that some like to perceive that ALL cars leaving the factory were perfect in all respects . . . when they were not, in reality, "perfect". The current production vehicles more closely meet that standard, though, by observation.

The gap between what people like to remember and what the vehicles really were like at the end of the assemblyh line tends to get cloudy when "over-restoration" enters the mix. Some brands of vehicles, from memory, had really smoooooth paint jobs from the factory whereas others did not--even GM vehicles. When I was researching car waxes in the middle 1970s, I discovered that Volvos had really smooth paint, as did many Cadillac DeVilles, but other brands' paint had more orange peel in it. In reality, the orange peel is there to hide stamped metal imperfections, so it's "calibrated" to be what it is. As for orange peel on more modern cars, even the "highly lauded" brands have it, by observation.

I also understand that in the 400 Point System, "the standard" is what vehicles are judged against rather than the other vehicles on the show field THAT DAY (usually how many, more popular weekend cruise events are judged--which is what most people understand). "The Standard" is "end of the assembly line", which CAN include but not be limited to . . . mis-aligned sheet metal panels, mis-aligned chrome trim, drips in windshield sealer, drips or messy weatherstrip sealer, thin paint in particular areas, non-consistent sound deadener/undercoat applications, AND any and all inspection marks/stamps/notations. ALMOST everything in that list would be things that would be "perfectized" in the restoration process by many restorers, understandbly, as they want the vehicles to look as good as they can--even if it's better than it left the factory. No harm in these "perfectized" vehicles, but they soon become what the public expects every other one to look like, otherwise, somebody screwed up in not doing that. The other major indiscretion is shiney paint where low-gloss paint was on the vehicle at the factory.

By observation, many "end of the assembly line cars" would only score 70-80% IF they were judged against the perfection standard many spectators and some owners believe is "the standard". To me, unless you've been around the vehicles enough to know what "end of the assembly line condition/execution" was, the default mode becomes "perfection as we'd like to remember it should have been". What about factoring in what the "new" vehicle looked like after it sat on the dealer's lot for a month, after sitting in a rail yard a while before that? Some "acceptable" surface rust on unprotected/uncoated metal on the undercarriage? Cobwebs??? Little remnants of the plastic covering for the seats still hanging between the top of the rear seatback and the package tray?

If we look at the "end of the assembly line" standard, that could also include the many "little things" that a dealer's pre-delivery service would take care of . . . like greasy hand smudges or fingerprints on the body or chrome or a string of grease which bled out of the grease fitting on the chassis, or a remaining blob of grease on said fitting. Just WHICH nits do we desire to pick? If the "perfectized" end of the assembly line condition is "the standard", then only trailered vehicles would win the top awards? To me, such things would be part of the judges training sessions and instructions, with all due respect.

To me, what we're trying to accomplish with the 400 Point System is to maintain historic evidence of what Buicks looked like "as built", rather than as over-restored vehicles which are NOT totally correct "as produced" in all respects. Personally, I'd rather see a correctly-restored vehicle that was driven to the meet than one which was completely over-restored and trailered, or a completely original "un-molested" low mileage vehicle of any vintage. Which one would, by observation, be the one that was "OOHHHHHed" and "AAAHHHHHed" over would be the trailered vehicle, usually.

Personally, I don't desire that we have a concours-style "white glove" judged show class. Still, it seems that we already have it in some respects.

A research project might be to investigate WHY it might take some judging teams 20 minutes to judge one vehicle? IF all of that 20 minutes was in actual judging time or if it also included the actual "documentation" time for each vehicle? Only when this information is accumulated might there be a solid determination of the real reason for the extended time the judging teams might be taking with each vehicle--regardless of what level of awards such judging teams might bestow upon the judged vehicles. NO offense meant to any judging team that might have taken that long, just some inquiries if there might be some issues which need to be addressed in the orientation of continuous improvement.

Respectfully,

NTX5467

Edited by NTX5467 (see edit history)

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For years, I have been a member of the BCA and the ROA but I didn't renew my subscriptions. As I live in Canada, having the Bugle shipped here is more expensive and that reflects in the price of the subscription.

I wish I could pay a membership fee and have access to the Bugle online but not the printed version. Before internet was popular (discussion forums, eBay, Cragislist, Kijiji and other classified ad websites) , the club's monthly or bi-monthly magazines with ads were a great way to get members and help them find parts with the printed ads. Now, with internet, it lost some of it's interest. I still like to read articles in magazines but since I don't like throwing things away, I now have a big pile paper that I just keep and I don't want getting more!

About the age of members...

I'm 32 and even if I'm already getting some gray hair, I still find myself young!

I have a few friends who are Buick fans and around my age. When I was 10 years old (in 1987) I was very impressed with the current Buick Grand National and I also looked older ones like Wildcats, Rivieras, Gran Sports and Electras with great interest.

With today's lineup, and the last cool Buicks being 23 years old (older than the '65 Wildcats were when I first got a real interest in them!). I'm wondering if I'd care about any Buick if I'd be 10 years old now!

I recently spent more internet time on other forums like GMI trying to change the brand perception of younger folks posting there and on GM blogs but GM keeps refusing to make any cool RWD Buick available here. The new brand definition from GM uses words like "Quiet Tuning" (far from the 1966-67 "The tuned car" ad slogan) understated elegance (I don't care much for that!) "near luxury" (that sounds loser!) and other things like the innovative blind zone alert for drivers above 100 years old... I want a new Buick that can spin it's rear tires, make some noise and that will wake up those that fall asleep while driving by making their heart beat faster!

I noticed that I'm not alone wanting some nicer RWD products from my favourite brand but that's just not happening (and THAT also hurts the BCA). I had one newer FWD Buick that I hated so much that I'll never have another FWD vehicle. Now, to preserve the Buicks that I like, I stopped driving them daily and I now drive RWD Toyotas...

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I concur that "near luxury" should be "entry level luxury", with "near luxury" sounding like a pretender of sorts. Not a very nice description for many USA brand vehicles which, for decades, many have considered to be "luxury" vehicles in their respective brands. It seems that whomever came up with that description was aiming for a general pricepoint rather than to degrade any brand's reputation in a particular market segment. The reference point for "luxury" also seemed to be moved upward from Cadillac and Lincoln, also.

Personally, I never really did consider BMW and Mercedes to be "luxury" vehicles, but import vehicles with high levels of chassis performance and somewhat austere leather interiors. In many cases, the pricepoints some are at would indicate a certain level of "luxury", though.

In the case of USA brands and the seeming mindset of many USA vehicle buyers, European vehicles have always held a certain aura about them, exotic in some cases. Their exclusivity and low available numbers seemed to accentuate that. In some aspects, they were better than USA brand vehicles, but in other ways, they were inferior for use in the USA market (think a/c capacity, speciality parts not available any where else, unusual maintenance issues). So, as their prices crept upward for their higher-level models, their level of standard/available equipment had to increase to what a vehicle costing that much would be expected to have on it. "Luxury" soon had additional definitions! More recently, "luxury" is as much defined by pricepoints as it is by brand name.

By 1965, each of GM's brands had a "luxury" car in the lineup. The mid-year introduction of the 1965 Chevrolet Caprice is the most notable example (Cadillac-style luxury at a Chevrolet price). It also tended to stop the upward mobility from one GM brand to another as a consumer's "standing in life" increased with their disposable income. There had always been "the best" versions of Chevrolet (BelAir, then Impala), Pontiac (Bonneville), Olds (98), and Buick (Roadmaster, then Electra, etc.), with Cadillac still being at the top as "Cadillac", but the introduction of the '65 Caprice tended to cause rumblings at Cadillac for many years. Basically, if you liked Chevrolets and what driving a Chevrolet said about you, you could keep doing business with your friendly dealer as your wealth increased by purchasing a Caprice ("The Master Chevrolet"). In some respects, the "understated luxury" hiding in a lesser GM brand than Cadillac mirrored what Buick had been doing for many years, except that Chevrolet was now in that game too, for a whole new breed of customers! Then, a few years later, came Monte Carlo to widen that market segment.

"Quiet Tuning" is a more comprehensive approach to vehicle sound generation and control for the newer unit-body vehicles, which Buick "got first" at GM. Other than just rubber body mounts or where sound deadener is applied, it now also includes the types of materials and where they are used throughout the vehicle.

There there were the earlier "Computer Selected Springs" of the middle 1970s, where there might be five different part number of particular coil springs for GM vehicles depending upon the mix of options and their respective front/rear weights. The aim was to keep the ride and such constant regardless of the option load of the vehicle--might have been splitting hairs in some respects, but they are still doing it now.

End result, the traditional lines of what is "luxury" and what is otherwise have been highly blurred from what we knew it to be 30 years ago. In many respects, what now passes as "high end luxury" would not hold a candle to what "LUXURY" was in the 1960s and 1970s!

Regards,

NTX5467

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I've just gotten my renewal letter from the BCA. It's setting on my desk awaiting my decision but I'm pretty sure it's final resting place will be the waste basket. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is the dues increase to $50. Add to this my disinterest in later year cars of any make, and the relative "sameness" of every issue of the Bugle and it's a fatal combination for the club. The "sameness" of every issue of Hemmings Classic Car has also sealed it's fate.

Sorry, BCA. But there it is......................Bob

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the relative "sameness" of every issue of the Bugle

Sorry, BCA. But there it is......................Bob

What??

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Not trying to get in a P***ing contest here. I realize it must be very difficult to put out a magazine that seems fresh and interesting to a very diverse group every month but, to me, it has become somewhat boring.

There are lots of pictures of "featured" cars. That's OK but pictures of cars get boring after awhile. The photo spreads of dozens of cars at shows are just dozens of photos of cars. Stories about tours are all the same. All you need do is change the names and places. Articles about how someone has "found" their fathers long lost Buick are nice, maybe once. How about the president's message saying something other than " Let's all pull togrther to make a great Club"

Personally I'd be more interested in historical pieces, problem solving, product reviews, VERY interesting restorations (not just a bunch of pix of rusty floors and primered fenders), how about how unusual restoration problems were solved, etc etc etc. Even gossip about past Buick executives, labor strife, goon squads beating workers. Anything but another 12 pictures of 12 different 55 Buicks.

Sorry if this sounds like I'm throwing stones. I'm not. I fully realize the club's resources are limited and it would be very time consuming, and probably impossible, for the editor to do that by himself. Perhaps if some of the membership would provide more than pretty pix and similar stories there would be hope. That's unlikely.

Again, this is just the way I see it and it is purely opinion.

Respectfully............Bob Beck.

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)

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Well here are a positive things that are happening.

1. Chapter membership drive. Each chapter director received a letter detailing a chapter membership drive program and an incentive to the chapter who attracts the most new members to the BCA.

2. A new chapter approved in a major metropolitan area - South FL -see this link for details http://forums.aaca.org/f115/new-bca-chapter-south-florida-270436.html#post694183

3. Creating a list of best practice for attracting new members - I have slowly been contacting each chapter director via phone and discussing their chapter and how they attract membership. I am compiling this info and will be sending it back out to the chapter directors. Our local leaders in our chapters do a great job and have great ideas that need to be shared across the whole club. I have talked to all but one chapter directors in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Regions and will start making my way west. My goal is to complete this by the end of my first year on the BOD.

4. Working with the North Jersey Chapter to restrengthen this chapter which has fallen on hard times. Like South FL this is a major metropolitan area that we need a strong chapter in to attract more members.

So those are some things being done to help the cause!

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With all due respect, Bhigdog, where you might see "sameness", I see inspiration from the actions of others finding "the impossible to find car" and making it useable again . . . in a generally "as produced" condition. Plus how much they might enjoy driving it. "Hope" and "Inspiration" for others to follow their dreams of having a particular Buick in their lives. Over time, the other sort of articles (less the "gossip" subjects) have been in The Bugle, just not all at once OR the particular subjects one might be interested in.

Where you might see "sameness", I also see a huge amount of historical information on Buicks and the people who built them . . . and the people that still drive vintage Buicks. Yes, I read it even if it might not be something I'm interested in "right now". I also know that with the limits within which The Bugle must be produced (i.e., number of pages, amount of color) within the particular bid contract, not everything which might be desired can be in there each month.

From what I understand, the latest dues increase is different from prior dues increases as THIS dues increase is to allow The Bugle to stay pretty much as it has been . . . rather than cover administrative costs of the BCA itself. When I looked at what other similar clubs (to the BCA) had to offer their membership for the same (prior membership dues levels) dues price, it became highly evident that the BCA's dues, while they might seem a little high, are a tremendous value compared to the other clubs' prices.

In prior times, every time a BCA National Dues increase has been alluded to, the membership got all up in arms to protest each one. End result was dues increases were not implemented, even at $5.00/year, until absolutely necessary. Each time, there was dialogue that it would make the BCA dues "too high for me", with all due respect. This time, though, from what I understand happened at the recent CO BCA National Meet meetings, with the choice of a "lesser" club magazine or higher dues, the vast majority of the membership chose "higher dues" to "Save The Bugle", as a result of lower BCA national memberships in recent history.

I also understand that there is a "tipping point" at which members can and will make a determination of whether the total amount of chapter dues + BCA National Dues become too much for the individual member unit. "Sticker shock" is still alive and well!

Many in "the outside world" do not understand why it's necessary for a chapter member to also be a BCA National Member, as many would perceive the local chapter to be similar to what the prospective member might know about themselves (i.e., local independent car clubs). Being able to effectively explain this to them can be a daunting task! In any event, we have to show them "the value" of the situation and not focus on the total dollar amount of the situation. If "the value" they are looking for happens to coincide with "the value" the BCA and the local chapter have to offer AND can deliver on, it can be a mutually beneficial situation!

Like Bhigdog and many other BCA members, I have a somewhat diverse vintage (and somewhat semi-worthless) vehicle fleet. Over the years, I have allowed all of the regular car magazines I used to subscribe to to drop . . . mainly for economic reasons PLUS lack of archival space. If I see one I'm interested in, I will buy it. That makes "The Bugle" the only car magazine I get each month by yearly subscription. WPC has a great monthly magazine too, but I allowed that membership to drop (for economic reasons) a few years ago. I suspect I'll renew it in a year or so when my "available funding" increases.

One of the surprising things which came out of the 1999 Chapter Directors' Meeting at Kokomo was that when existing chapter officers had to leave (or rotate "out" due to work or other issues), the incoming officers had little knowledge of how to run a car club entity. Therefore, over a two year period, Chapter Coordinator Ms. Judy Leets put together a "How To Run A BCA Chapter" document. It was pretty basic, but covered the basics of effective chapter operation.

By observation, the position of Chapter Coordinator has been somewhat problematic. One person is replaced due to "lack of activity". The replacement is energetic about getting the job done, but then something fizzles in a year or so OR there are clashes of personalities (somewhere, regardless of job perfomance), so that person goes off to do something else as a new replacement is sought. Unfortunately, by observation, this scenario has repeated itself several times since the middle 1990s--no long term stability per se. Respectfully, I hope the last change will offer that long term stability and oversight.

Although the members of the BCA might have a common interest in and enthusiasm for Buick vehicles, each chapter is a unique entity due to the different people involved. What one chapter might enjoy doing would be not received very well by another chapter, for example. Trying to make them all fit the same mold for activities and such can be very frustrating and sub-optimal. Letting each chapter's membership find their own level of what they like to do and how they like to do it usually works best . . . but finding that level can be a massive moving target which is "cut and try" and take some time to achieve.

"Sameness" can be a comfort to many, but stretching some boundaries every now and then can be fun and beneficial. I also know that "sameness" can also be a "point of reference" situation, too. In prior times, The Bugle was much more predictable in its layout. You could count on a car feature being on a certain page and only a few pages long. The same advertisers would be in the same location each month, in the magazine. You could count on the pictures all being slightly fuzzy (for one reason or another). At that time, the membership seemed to perceive the then-Editor was doing a great job, but in an open hearing upon his performance, many other "invisible unless you were involved" issues were brought to light.

Then we got a new Editor and things were supposed to be better, which they generally were . . . for a while. Then Pete took the job and the quality has never been better . . . quality of publication, quality of layouts, quality of member-supplied articles, and the quality of the car articles featured each month. Having seen how these things are now much better than ever before . . . from my point of reference, going back for 20+ years . . . the magazine has come a really long way with little real increase in production costs, all things considered.

Still, what pays the BCA's bills is membership dues. While the BCA might not be anywhere near being financially depleted, there's no real reason why deficit operations should be "the norm". Hopefully, in a year or so, the BCA's membership numbers will begin increasing to prior levels, but probably not up to 2003-2004 levels. If the Dow-Jones Averages can rebound to 10K, so can the BCA's membership levels!

Brian, I applaude your drive and energy to get a feel of what's going on in each BCA chapter!

Regards,

NTX5467

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I have a question. I'm hopeful a member of the BoD or the Book's could supply an answer. Could we pull up membership numbers for the past several (10-20) years? I know that there are new memberships and renewals and cancellations all the time, so a particular point in time would have to be chosen - perhaps year end. I don't recall if those numbers have been published recently - if so, please feel free to slap me around and direct me to the numbers.

I know that I joined in early 2003 in order to attend the Centennial in Flint and I have never looked back. My BCA number is 39416. I just got a copy of the October Bugle this week. I see new member numbers are well over 44000. So, assuming numbers are assigned chronologically, we have had roughly 5000 new members in the past 6.5 years, or an average rate of over 750 per annum. Sadly, we do lose members to death. How much has our membership dropped in the same time frame overall? To lose 250 per year overall would mean that we are losing 1000 per year after taking the new memberships into account. That would be a 10%+ turnover. The local club I am a member of has highs and lows as well, but I don't think the turnover is anywhere near that. Is it the new members we are losing? They perhaps join to take in a National near them, and let their membership lapse after a year? Is our age demographic such that we have that many passings? Is it long term members that we are losing? I suspect it is a combination of all of the above, but it would be nice to get a feel for it. If it is primarily new members finding the club is not for them, perhaps after they don't renew, we should contact them again asking why and what the club could do for them. Is that something that could be asked of the chapters to make that contact? It would be a bit more personal, especially if the dropout had attended chapter events. Frankly, the changes I would or would not like to see ultimately don't matter as I don't foresee anything that would cause me to let my membership lapse. It is what is or is not appealing to those who give up that matters. Perhaps we can make changes to accommodate that, and perhaps we can't. But if we don't know why they quit, then all of posting here is conjecture and posturing. I don't pretend to have the answers...I'm not so much a "doer" as a "thinker", much to the detriment of house repairs and Buick restoration.

On a side note, the Conference Board of Canada has declared the recession over up here. I understand we weren't hit as hard as the USA, but it's a good sign at least. Perhaps things will start looking up and folks' finances will improve to where any memberships dropped due to belt-tightening will be picked up.

I guess I have another question. In allowing non-members to attend National Meets (admittedly at a higher cost), are we shooting ourselves in the foot? I can see the potential of selling someone on the experience and camaraderie / fellowship, but is that the last we see of them? If they don't join as a result of attending a National, are we charging them enough? I can definitely see it as a double-edged sword.

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I've just gotten my renewal letter from the BCA. It's setting on my desk awaiting my decision but I'm pretty sure it's final resting place will be the waste basket. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is the dues increase to $50. Add to this my disinterest in later year cars of any make, and the relative "sameness" of every issue of the Bugle and it's a fatal combination for the club. The "sameness" of every issue of Hemmings Classic Car has also sealed it's fate.

Sorry, BCA. But there it is......................Bob

Bob (and others), you just don't get it. It is not about the Bugle, the cars, judging...it is about the great people you will meet at club meetings, meets, and through this forum. Sure, the cars are the catalyst that brings us together with similar interests. Don't wait for the perfect Bugle or meeting to turn you on, but make it happen. Do something for the club and others. Make it happen for them with encouragement or just some good conversation. I like my 55's and enjoy talking endlessly about them, but also like talking to the guy who has an original 76 or to someone who squeezed a 455 into a 48 or an explanation of brass era transmissions.

Before I went to my first national meet I envisioned the club as a bunch of snobs that would not give a second look at me or my project...that idea couldn't have been farther from the truth. I also think our current leadership is the best yet and deserve to hear our ideas for a better club, not just gripes about how your needs are not met.

The other alternative is to cover your cars in a locked garage and sit at home like a hermit. Don't do that, show someone how to weld a new floor into a rusty convertible.

Willie

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I'm not leaving the old car/restoration hobby, Willie, I'm just not renewing my membership in BCA. I agree with everything you cite as positive with the hobby, and I will contiue to enjoy those aspects of it. The point I was trying to make was that the BCA was just not adding to my enjoyment of the hobby, at least not $50 worth.

While I've restored and continue to show my 2 Buicks I'm not "married" to Buick and all things Buick. While I very much enjoyed the Buick Nats that I attended there are not enough of them, close enough, to keep me satisfied.

That left the magazine as my primary benefit of BCA membership. It took a few years but I noticed I gradually went from studying, to reading, to skimming, and finally to just glancing at the Bugle. In thinking about it I came to the conclusion that there was very little "new" or informitive in the mag to hold my interest.

That other folks are happy with the mag I have no doubt. I can only report on what is true for me.

Again I am not throwing stones at the BCA, the mag, it's officers or members. I'm certain they are putting in long, often un recogized hours for the club.

I'm only reporting that, for me, there was just not enough bang for the buck, especially at $50 a pop.

So, please don't shoot the messenger I'm only reporting this as input to the officers on one member's satisfaction with his club experiance.

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)

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thread started August 28th, 2009.

been playing with buicks for over 40 yrs. now how are you going to get me and others to rejoin or join the bca.......

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gsjohnny, whether or not you and/or others who have already been "playing Buicks" for quite some time might desire to join/rejoin the BCA can depend upon how happy you are with your part of the Buick hobby at this time . . . or in the future. Some vehicle enthusiasts, single-marque or otherwise, sometimes don't really see the need to join a national club of their favored marque of vehicle(s). This is fine, depending upon several issues and orientations.

Of course, there's "the network" which could be tapped into. If you might be in a locale where there is an active vehicle hobby population, you can probably find everything you need on your own . . . or at least for the more popular Mustangs or Chevies and sometimes, Buicks. If you regularly read Hemmings Motor News and use it as a resource, then you can augment the locally-available resources as needed. Doing things this way, plus knowing many local vehicle enthusiasts, meeting many of them at weekend cruise events, can usually fulfill your needs for "the network" (although local in nature), but a network more generalized rather than specifically "Buick". In this scenario, you can probably meet all of your perceived needs locally without the need for a national club's membership.

Also, in this scenario, things are helped along if the particular Buick you might have is generally supported by several national-level restoration parts vendors, as Year ONE or similar. This makes things you might need pretty available and easy to get. Just make a phone call, order online, "wave plastic", and things happen. As long as things are easy to do or obtain, the need for a national marque club entity can be decreased.

IF, on the other hand, you have a Buick that people might not readily recognize (think "non-muscle car", out of the mainstream of "known" Buicks to the masses), then the need to be tied into a Buick-only network usually increases. Many parts might not be readily available through the restoration parts network, making the use of specific sources advantageous--specific sources which usually do not advertise in mainstream publications and/or are known by "word of mouth" of national club entity members. Or if your Buick might have some unique feature/option specific to a narrow band of model years of Buicks (almost everybody can decode "DynaFlow", but what about "Self-Shifter"?). Eventually, you'll end up understanding "Why" becoming a part of "The Buick Network" and membership in the BCA (or similar for other vehicle brands) are good investments for you.

Some vehicle enthusiasts like to read about the history of their favored marque. A somewhat natural curiousity which can be a costly curiousity. As many in the BCA have noticed, our current Editor of "The Bugle" is passionate about Buicks and their history. In EVERY issue, there is at least one model/year of Buick which is showcased or covered "in-depth". To get this came level of information on the open market, it would take much more financial dedication than the cost of ONE year's membership in the BCA and a local chapter! That's just to get to what's generally available, not counting the massive collection of Buick pictures (AND explanations of intricacies of variations of particular model year's running production changes NOT covered anywhere else than in "The Bugle" or possibly a Buick parts book printed when that particular vehicle was reasonably new--things you had to have known about when they were happening rather than what was generally perceived to be correct, in general rather than specific). In MANY cases, unless you know the history of how Buick (and other car companies operated), you might not have a really true understanding of how your vehicle came to be as it was OR why it was the way it was when it was new. It is these unique insights which can enhance the ownership experience of ANY vehicle . . . IF you might care to really know about them.

So, gsjohnny (and others), it is completely possible for you to enjoy your Buicks "on your own" (so to speak) and also be a devoted Buick enthusiast in a sea of "Other Brands". This is generally easier to do in a larger metro area than in a more remote venue (even in a country other than the USA). Some just do not desire to be a part of a car club entity, at ANY level, which I know DOES exist and I do respect their orientations. On the other hand, though, by observation, it makes things much more fun if you're a part of a local club group that is focused on ONE brand of vehicle or, in the case of some, ONE particular manufacturer's vehicles. Being with others of similar vehicular orientations just makes things much more fun--by observation and personal experiences. NOT to forget about local parts sources and repair expertises!!! OR mentoring!!!!

So . . . if you might perceive that you're plenty pleased with your current status of not being in the BCA (or similar), that's great and I'm glad you're happy with your "status quo". But I have also observed that, at some time in the ownership of an older vehicle, there usually is ONE or more times that being able to easily tap into a brand/marque-specific information network is necessary if you're having some trouble getting some issues resolved. THIS is where you need to obtain some credible information rather than information "adapted" to the brand of vehicle you have--EVERY vehicle, and brand thereof, has some idiosyncracy in design/operation/repair which does NOT cross over with any other brand of vehicle and CANNOT be "fixed like a Chevy or Ford" and it be right. Getting through these frustrating situations is where being a BCA member (and local chapter member) can usually get you the information you need to "get it right" and also maximize your pleasure and enjoyment of your Buick. Of course, in order to get to these AACA-hosted forums, you would have had to have had some existing knowledge of them in the first place. NOT TO FORGET the BCA's Technical Advisors for specific vehicles!!!!!

Several years ago, in a noted GM-oriented website, a poster noted that he didn't need OnSTAR as he already had a cell phone. If he needed to make a call, it was laying on the seat next to him, he noted. On the surface, that's good, but that's not all OnSTAR is there for. I replied that in the case of a collision, his loose cell phone would usually NOT be on the seat next to him, but some place else (i.e., floor, under the seat, out the window), which would mean it would not be "at his side" or in easy reach to make a quick 911 call (by reflex action). Sure, OnSTAR is there to make hands-free phone calls with, but it's the additional automatic functions that put value into the yearly subscription . . . as in AUTOMATIC crash response inquiry calls to the vehicle and calls to your local 911 responders.

Just as with an OnSTAR subscription, a BCA membership comes with a built-in support network whose value can't be realized UNTIL you might need it . . . not to mention the great magazine that "The Bugle" is OR capabilities to be intimately involved in the annual BCA National Meets (and all which that might include!) plus local and regional BCA group activities.

A Buick enthusiast can exist without the BCA and have an enjoyable time of Buick ownership, but there's going to be some time when "something extra" is desired or needed . . . which IS the BCA in this case.

Regards,

NTX5467

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