ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Checking out historic vehicles at cruise-ins and car shows may be fun, but the car clubs that put on these exhibits take them seriously - and the money they collect often is donated back to the community.
One of these charitable groups is the Classy Chassis Car Club, based in St. Clairsville.
When it started in January 2010, Classy Chassis had seven charter members. Today it has 53 members and continues to grow. Members come from all over the Ohio Valley - from Moundsville to Bloomingdale and Rayland and even Washington, Pa. - and they range in age from 17 to 73.
Photo by Art Limann
Classy Chassis Car Club members, from left, John Grew of Rayland, Jim McCraw and Bernie Donley, both of St. Clairsville, stand with their 1964 Ford Galaxy, 1979 Z-28 Camaro and 1948 Ford F1 vehicles, respectively.
The membership also includes several husbands and wives. And one family that is involved spans three generations.
"The club was formed not only to enjoy showing, working on and preserving our classic vehicles and attending other car clubs' events to see their cars, trucks and motorcycles, but to also create a means in which we could help other people and organizations through our charitable donations," said Bernie Donley, secretary of the club.
He pointed out his club and others like it hold car shows and cruise-ins throughout the summer months with proceeds going to charity. In addition, Classy Chassis assists the Ruritan Club in St. Clairsville and works to help needy families at Christmas time.
"We have also raised funds to help people in need, help victims of a house fire get back on their feet," he said. "We hold an annual cruise-in to benefit the activity fund at Beacon House/Forest Hills Care Center. Our next event here will be Aug. 29 from 6-9 p.m. at the Forest Hills Care Center. We have encouraged other car clubs in the area to adopt a nursing home.
"We have also partnered with the American Cancer Society and the Warthogs Motorcycle Club for a motorcycle run and car cruise-in to be held on Aug. 31 to benefit the American Cancer Society's program for children's cancer research and Project Care, which donates Teddy bears to children with cancer or any terminal illness," Donley added.
Donley was one of the charter members. He and the other six had been car buffs most of their lives and were members of other clubs when they decided to start their own group to "do our own thing," he said.
"We just have a love for old cars and wanted to do more to help others," he added, noting there are about 12 other car clubs in the area and his club does what it can to help support them as well by attending their events.
"It's not just showing cars. When the people of this area attend a car show or a cruise-in, they are not only helping the organization hosting the event," Donley said. "They are also helping give back something to the community."
The Classy Chassis Car Club meets at 7 p.m. the last Thursday of each month at the Ruritan building in St. Clairsville.
According to Donley, "You don't have to own a classic vehicle to belong to our club, only an appreciation and love of cars, truck and motorcycles, old and new. We enjoy getting together not only to discuss our vehicles, but also to be sociable and to keep in touch with each other and what is happening in our families' lives."
For additional information on the club or to get an application, call 740-695-5590 or 740-695-6224. Classy Chassis Car Club members are also easily spotted in their red shirts at car club events.