When Chuck Wing founded the Dunwoody Driving Club in 2011, he had one mission in mind: “We are in it for the fun.”
The club got its start in 2011, when Wing and some of his friends in Dunwoody with an interest in sports cars and exotic cars got together to socialize and to talk about things automotive. “We were a bunch of guys sitting around saying, ‘Why don’t we have a car club where we can talk about what cars we had, what cars we wish we still had, what car we’d like to have?’”
The others turned to Wing and said, “Charlie, why don’t you do it?”
Seven years later, the club boasts more than 75 members and is continually growing. A membership form is available at the Dunwoody Driving Club website; dues are $25 a year. Since the start of the new year, Wing has already received a number of new applications.
While the club does have mostly male members, Wing is quick to note that there’s a growing number of female car enthusiasts as well. Some women have joined solo and others have encouraged their husbands to join, or they’ve joined as a couple.
Wing says the club encourages membership from a range of car enthusiasts and the types of cars owned by members are all over the lot. There’s a 1903 Oldsmobile and a 1935 Auburn Supercharged Boattail Speedster. Newer cars include Lamborghinis, Porsches, Austin-Healeys, Mercedes and even a rare Panoz, a high-performance sports car built in Braselton, Ga.
While many members gravitate toward a certain make, model or manufacturer, others are more intrigued by engineering, design or racing capacity.
“Some cars are to drive, some are to show, some are an investment, especially older cars,” he said.
The members that have a penchant for engineering — often affectionately called “gearheads” — discuss things like “swapping engines, turbochargers, blowers, ways to increase horsepower.”
Some choose to drive their vehicles at venues such as Motorsport Park in Douglasville, while others are more invested in short track racing and own vehicles, often modified, in the spirit of California street rods. For this contingent, the main area of interest is exploring how much “power and speed you can get in a quarter of a mile.” One member in particular takes great care in modifying and rebuilding Jeeps for specific classes of racing.
Wing has been an admirer of cars since his youth. His first car was a black 1956 Chevy 210. This led to an interest in sports cars, and his first purchase was a 1968 blue Triumph. Living in Germany ignited and further fueled Wing’s interest in Porsches, which eventually led to the purchase of a 1988 Porsche 911.
Wing was particularly drawn to Porsche and Lamborghini because he could “relate to them; they’re cars you often see on the street.” And when he caught sight of the changes in the 911 design in 2001, he invested in a silver Porsche turbo 911.
Wing also collects model cars, remote-control cars and Daytona International Speedway memorabilia. His interest in automobiles has even cascaded into art appreciation. He owns a number of Glenn Appleman pieces, signed by the artist, including a ceramic taxi sculpture and white Packard convertible cookie jar.
Normally, members find out about the club through the website, word of mouth or by seeing the club exhibit their cars at events, but Wing has been known to do some recruiting, too. After spotting a dark green Austin-Healey at the Dunwoody Country Club a few years back, Wing placed a flyer on the windshield, which led to a new member joining the club.
The Dunwoody Driving Club usually coordinates about four events a year. Plans are in the works to showcase the club’s cars April 18-22 at Brook Run Park during Lemonade Days, an annual festival hosted by Dunwoody Preservation Trust. Wing is also planning a member trip in the spring to Streetside Classics, a showroom in Lithia Springs where members can take a peek at cars that are sold on consignment.
Previous years have brought great experiences with Cars and Q for the Cause, an event sponsored by Choate Construction and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, scheduled for April 21 this year.
The club has also been to The Cofer Collection in Tucker, located behind the Cofer Brothers Lumberyard. Members were particularly excited to admire the range of classic Cadillacs and Buicks showcased. Another favorite group trip was to the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta, where members had lunch at the restaurant on site and toured the museum.
“We try to do things with everyone’s agreement and just have a nice day together,” Wing said. He proudly keeps a detailed scrapbook filled with photos of cars, member letters, flyers from past events, stickers and event memorabilia. The scrapbook features members and some of the more notable cars that are or have been a part of the Dunwoody Driving Club.
Some of the unique cars that Wing has seen over the years include a Ford Cobra that was retrofitted for a driver with disabilities, and a Boattail Speedster that can only be shown in certain circumstances. “With no power steering or power brakes, if there’s rain, this is the kind of car you can’t bring out,” Wing said. Many cars also cannot be driven in parades, especially around the Fourth of July, because they tend to overheat so easily.
Which car has gotten the most attention? Wing immediately broke into laughter and said, “I’d like to do a story on all the people who ogled over one of the cars — a restored VW bus.” Though the club member has since sold the vehicle, Wing admits it was a highlight for a lot of Volkswagen fans.
“Women especially gravitated to it,” he said, adding that almost every person who made conversation had a personal VW bus story to share.
Refurbished and festooned with “hippie memorabilia” the two-tone green bus had been overhauled inside to include a refrigerator, carpeting and tapestries from Mexico. “It certainly got a lot of attention,” Wing said.
For more information or to fill out an application to join the Dunwoody Driving Club, please visit dunwoodydrivingclub.com.
–Julie E. Bloemeke