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The JCCV celebrates its 55th anniversary

 

Clubs oldest member Len Coe cuts the cake

The Jaguar Car Club of Victoria at the December meeting marked its 55th anniversary with a cake cutting by the club’s oldest member, nearly 94-years-old Len Coe and helped by the club president Lyn Belcher. Len who still drives to club meetings, said he really enjoyed the moment and was honoured that he was chosen to help with the commemorative ceremony.

 

President Lyn recounted the history of the club with the following details.

 

In the early 1960s, attempts to form a Jaguar car club were unsuccessful until a chance conversation on a nature strip in Burwood lead to about 12 Jaguar enthusiasts meeting in Prahran. The club was formalised on December 14, 1962, with elected officers and the first Tuesday of each month chosen as the meeting night (except January).

The first challenge for the club was to decide which Jaguar models would be included. At first there was a view to only include the pre-war models as the post 1948 models were considered to be modern luxurious touring cars that did not meet the enthusiasts’ vehicles category. Fortunately members eventually realized that limiting the models would result in stagnating the growth of the club.

 

Membership goals were modest with a target of 50 to 60 thought to be achievable. Given that the JCCV now has more than 900 members the club has come a long way.

 

The next and biggest challenge for the club was an ambitious project to have its own club rooms. The club moved from around seven different rented premises as membership increased. Not until 1989 was the issue given a further push by now life member Alan McKinnon and a feasibility study was completed.

 

At the time the Austin Healey Owners Club had successfully completed a fundraising program to raise money for their own clubrooms and they gave generously advice and time to help the JCCV to organize a fund-raising raffle of an E-Type.  A JCCV subcommittee was set up to guide the most ambitious project the club had ever undertaken and the challenge was underway.

 

The target was to raise a substantial amount of money over a period of only 105 days. In order to purchase the E-Type the club needed a loan and despite the club being solvent the bank declined the request.  However committed JCCV member Jeff Beable, put up the $60,000 to cover the car’s purchase. So successful was the raffle the $60,000 was paid back within the first month.

 

The E-Type was taken around to various locations in Melbourne and country Victoria. Members wearing T-Shirts sporting the words “Buy an E-Type for $2” enthusiastically sold as many raffle tickets as they could. They were busy but great days where life long friendships were forged. The drawing of the raffle was held at High Point West Shopping Centre.  A huge crowd gathered generating great publicity for the club.  Neil Smith was the lucky winner, a member who lives in Horsham and to this day still owns the E-Type.

 

After raising the astounding amount of more than $250,000 the search was on for club premises with the perfect location. At the time Springvale was determined as the demographic centre of Melbourne.

 

While this search was going on the members were asked if they wanted to buy club rooms on their own, share with another club or borrow money to buy better club rooms on their own. It was agreed that joint ownership with the AHOC would be favorable. They were a British marque and a club that had sufficient funds to become partners in a property.

 

The search was narrowed down and in July 1992 the Rosalie Street property was purchased jointly by both JCCV and AHOC. The deal was made outright with no loan required. An amazing achievement given the difficult economic times that prevailed. The building was an empty factory previously owned by Stegbar. 

 

 

The members of both clubs worked together to transform the factory into the rooms that you see today. Painting walls, ceilings, installing a full bar - the list of tasks was enormous. Both clubs were involved in such decisions as carpet, paint colour, acquiring furniture for the right price, etc. The club rooms were officially opened on 1 April 1993 and the joint ownership with the AHOC has continued amicably for more than 25 years.

 

 

Lyn noted how very proud members are of our club rooms.

 

As it was in the beginning the JCCV is still a group of members who have a passion for Jaguars. Members enjoy using their Jaguars at sporting days, club runs, concours, display days and national Jaguar rallies.  Register meetings and monthly meetings are all events where members continue to get together, share ideas and make lasting friendships. 

 

What the future holds – that will be up to the members. The very essence of belonging to our club is sharing a passion for Jaguars and working together to ensure that the next 50 years are just as memorable as the last 55.