AUBURN — Every year, dozens of members of the 1965-66 Full Size Chevrolet Club meet to showcase their vehicles, tour local car museums and bond over their shared enthusiasm for big, powerful Chevies.

This year, for the first time, the international, nonprofit club is basing its annual meeting in Maine, with Auburn serving as the host city. It will be held July 7-12, with members showing off their Chevrolets while touring parts of the state.

The club was founded in 1983 with just a few members. Thirty-six years later, membership has ballooned to 2,780 people from across the country.

Club President Bryan Wagner said the club was founded by three enthusiasts who wanted to bring together those who shared a love for the mid-’60s models.

Dave Harwick of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, put an advertisement in the local newspaper seeking others interested in starting a club. It attracted the attention of Roland Muchicko and Dick Washburn. Together, the three men agreed to form a club and set a goal of 100 members. Within four months, they met the goal.

Past gatherings have been in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Colorado, among other places, but never in New England.

The decision to come to Maine came after one of the club’s members died recently and left behind more than 2,000 club-related files, he said.

“I took over his files, and in them, I found a lot of letters asking for a meet in New England,” Wagner said. “We’ve had one in Pennsylvania, which is close, but I wanted to make sure there was an emphasis on New England this year.”

Two club members who live in Maine reached out to Wagner and told him there was “a lot to see in Maine,” and recommended holding a gathering here.

“I took a week and went up to Maine during the winter and was taken aback by how beautiful it was,” Wagner said. “I went back a second time later in the year and was even more excited. It seemed like everywhere I went, people were welcoming me with open arms.”

Wagner said about 50 people are coming for the full week in Auburn, with more scheduled to attend for a shorter period of time.

While the club is planning to set up shop in Auburn for the week, the members will tour parts of the state, including the Bath Iron Works Museum, the Boothbay Railway Village and the lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth.

Wagner said members would participate in a “show and shine” on Wednesday, July 10, at Emerson Chevrolet in Auburn.

“The show and shine is a way to promote the local Chevy dealership, and also a way to showcase our vehicles,” Wagner said. “We try to do something like that at all of our meets.”

While a majority of the vehicles at the meet are Chevy Impalas, Wagner said that some of the members have Bel Airs and Caprices, among others.

Wagner bought his first car, a blue 1966 Chevy Impala, in 1972. He still has the car, which features a 427-cubic-inch V8 engine, known as an L72 big block, which came in only 1 percent of Impalas that year.

“Some people like their Chevies to be completely original, and some like to customize them,” Wagner said. “You see a variety of Chevies at the meets.”

Wagner said some members have been with the club since the beginning.

“We have a saying in the club: ‘It’s the cars that brought us together, but it’s the people that keep bringing us together,’” he said.

“When I first joined the club, I was not a club person,” he said. “When I first attended one of the annual meetings, it was like I was their long, lost friend reappearing.”

Wagner said he lost his son five years ago, and during one of the club’s annual meetings, he learned that several other club members had recently lost sons.

“There was this outpouring of sympathy and caring within the club,” Wagner said. “It was like a family beyond family.”


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