At a time when the coronavirus has created a bleak mood all over the world, the Vacavillains Car Club has learned that spirits can be raised through the sight of vintage muscle cars.
Vacavillains is a classic car club that meets between two and three times a month where its vintage automobile enthusiast members go on drives, host car shows and toy drives and even hang out at local coffee shops.
Club member Brent Wilson said the club was formed approximately 15 years ago as a merger of two local car clubs that existed in the ’50s and raced at Vaca Valley Raceway, a former racetrack off Interstate 80 near the corner of Lewis and Weber roads that was functional between 1958 and 1972.
“We revamped the club and brought it back together about 15 years ago,” Wilson said.
Wilson describes the club as “a laid back club” without many rules and dues who go on various excursions. Its members have cars ranging from a 1930 Model A to a 1972 Chevrolet Suburban.
“Most of the cars are built like traditional race cars that would have been seen out at Vaca Valley Raceway,” he said. “A lot of what we do is emulating a certain era of time, and our cars are what you would call traditional rod and custom, as opposed to modern technology. We try and use old speed parts (and) old technology.”
Prior to the coronavirus, the Vacavillains had done car shows all over the state and even outside of the state. The club had also done reliability runs to the Napa Valley and by the ocean in Sonoma County. The state and federal restrictions on mass gatherings put a halt to that, but the Vacavillains have found other avenues to keep on trucking.
The club participated in two different car cruises in Dixon, put on a car parade Friday for the residents of Paramount House Senior Living and are arranging for a birthday celebration for a Vietnam War veteran this Memorial Day.
“His family reached out to us, and we said, ‘Heck yeah, we’ll do something for him,’” Wilson said.
The Paramount House show was the third the Vacavillains had done for the senior living center, the first being a small show in the parking lot. Friday’s show had just about every iconic vintage vehicle parked in front, including a Camaro, Corvette, Impala, El Camino and GTO.
“I’ve never seen people so excited about old cars,” he said. “These people are coming out that are in memory care, and they’re going nuts over our cars. It’s bringing back memories of when they were kids.”
Wilson remarked that the experience of holding parades has been incredible.
“I’ve never seen people as excited as they’ve been right now,” he said.”Everybody’s been nothing but smiles, nothing but happy just to get out and that things are kind of normal.”
Wilson said the goal is to raise people’s spirits during a difficult time.
“Our goal is to make people know, ‘Hey, the world’s not ending, everybody’s gonna be all right,’” he said. “We’re super passionate about our community and being involved where we can be and doing our part.”