By Gregory Arnold, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – Sometimes it takes a dare to get you to start something new.
A dare is the reason Jim Goodwin of Shrewsbury started the New England Chevelle and El Camino Club.
In 1990 Goodwin was attending a Chevelle show in Pennsylvania where one of his ?good friends was close to selling his El Camino. After trying to convince his friend otherwise, the two eventually came up with a wager. If Goodwin started a club for Chevelles and El Caminos, his buddy wouldn's sell his car.
Goodwin followed through on the wager and now, 24 years later, the club is still going strong. It's the only Chevelle and El Camino club in the region and the ninth chapter in the country. The members come from all six New England states and range in age from 40s to 70s. Everyone in the club either owns or loves these cars, but as Goodwin would tell you, ?the club is about more than just the cars themselves.
Some car clubs serve a primary purpose of allowing their members to show off their cars in a variety of settings. For Goodwin and his club, it has a different meaning. Every meeting is a bonding experience; the cars are just a talking piece en route to lifelong friendships. Whether they'se going out for ice cream as a group or participating in a local parade, the club loves getting together.
“The biggest thing that we enjoy is the people, there's nothing better then getting together and cruising [around],” Goodwin said. It's more of a family than a club and that's exactly the way that Goodwin believes it should be.
Despite his commitment to the family aspect of the club, there's no denying Goodwin loves his car. A proud owner of a matching numbers (ie: original parts) ?1986 Chevelle; it's his pride and joy. It would take a “crazy” offer to get him to part with the car and even then he said it would be difficult because of the great sentimental value.
“Someone could offer me 20 grand for the car and I's consider it. But if I sell [the car] eventually the 20 grand will be gone and the car will be gone. It's just not worth it,” he said.
That type of attitude is held by many of the members in the club.
Because the members reside all over New England, it is hard to hold scheduled meet-ups on a regular basis. But each year the club holds a spring icebreaker and central Mass. members participate in many local cruise nights at Hebert's Candy Mansion and Kimball Farms in Lancaster. Goodwin does also get together with local members on a regular basis.
The club will hold its ninth annual Chevelle and El Camino Regional at the Holiday Inn in Boxborough Friday, Aug. 22 and Saturday, Aug. 23. Over 100 classic Chevelles and El Caminos will be on display throughout the day. Goodwin encourages anyone to attend regardless of his or her connection with the classic cars. A DJ will provide background music and area restaurants will offer plenty of food for the whole family.