Whether it is the smell of burning rubber in the air, the anticipation of waiting as a cool car drives by or spending countless hours preparing a car for the show, most everyone has their own ideas of what the car culture is, was and will be. To many though, the car culture culminates with their car club.
Car clubs have been around for as long as humans have been making cars go fast. Ever since D.R. Noonan was grinding special camshafts for Ford vehicles, kids in Paris have had their own car cliques and clubs. At one time, anyone who believed they had a cool ride or a hot car was associated with a car club.
Clubs met on a regular basis to do many things. Members helped each other tinker on their cars, cruise or just hang out for the comradery. Once a person was in a car club, they were always accepted. Paris was no different.
With car clubs thriving all over the Wabash Valley, a few guys got together to form one of the legendary clubs that is still talked about today.
Mark Dunlap, Dennis Dunlap, Steve Vice, Jerry Lawson, Roger Faulk and Ron Lobb paved the way for the people of the car world today.
Those car guys — to name a few — came together to organize the Hazzard Brothers Car Club. This was not a normal club as these guys quickly showed in the car club world a good club becomes family.
The Hazzard Brothers Car Club was nationally known by the National Hot Rod Association and locally well known as it operated the CMW Dragway in Paris during its last three years of existence.
The Hazzard Brothers group is now only a memory but many other clubs have been created in its place.
There are the Wabash Valley Rodders, The River Rat Rodders, The Junkyard Dogs and the Twisters car clubs to name only a few at a regional level. Since the Hazzard Brothers demise, local Paris area car clubs have been scarce with only the active Twin Lakes Cruisers and The Lazy Rodders.
Three local car enthusiasts recognized the decline in the car scene and decided it was time to return it to its former glory. The three friends heard the stories of cruising the circuit through town and cars racing streetlight to streetlight. They have been told about cruising into the drive-in with your girl by your side. They thought why should they be just stories told generation to generation? There is no reason it can not still be the same today.
One night Shawn Bell, Omer Lenhart and Daniel Briseno sat down in Bell’s shop and put together the East Side Motor Club. This club is open to any one who is a car enthusiast. It does not matter what kind of car a person drives, because they believe the car culture has no barriers.
The East Side Motor Club is a not for profit club that has no fees to join and meetings are not formal. The casual atmosphere of meetings tends to be less stressful and more like pulling into a friend’s drive for a cookout.
The club has already done some great things for the community with a cruise-in and car show Oct. 20, 2108, sponsored by Bell and Bell Demolition. The show was a great success with more than 50 entries. It was a benefit for the Hopes and Dreams program to help homeless students at Paris High School. More than $600 was raised for the group.
With the 2019 car show season getting started, the East Side Motor Club is hosting a Spring Fling Cruise-In and Car Show from1-5 p.m. Sunday, May 19, at R.P. Lumber on Jasper Street, Paris.
Cars have created an unbreakable bond between the founders which they hope to expand with others in the community through the love of cars for many years to come.
“Not everyone drives a pristine show car. That is not what it is about,” said Lenhart. “It is about the love for whatever car you like.”
Bell and Briseno agreed.
“In the end, it is not about the stories told by the cars but the stories you made with them,” Bell said.