NEOGA — Though it's been close to 30 years since three Neoga residents organized the Class Pack car club, the group is still going strong.
Class Pack members were a major presence at Saturday's Neoga Days car show with everything from a 1932 Ford Roadster to muscle cars of the 1960s. Co-founder Bob Meek said the club has always tried to be as inclusive as possible.
"We don't care if you have an original, antique or street rod," Meek said. "We want to provide good, clean fun with old cars."
Current club president Leland Eyrse of Mattoon said club members don't even have to know anything about cars.
"You don't even have to have a car — just the interest," Eyrse said.
Meek had been a member of the Ramblin' Wreck car club in Effingham, but he and friends Bill Douglas and Norm Romack came up with the Class Pack idea while they were roofing Meek's Neoga home.
"We thought we ought to start our own club," he said. "There was just the three of us at first, but 15 people showed up at the first meeting."
The original goal of the club was to provide a forum for those owning cars built between 1949 and 1975. Auto companies made radical body changes for the 1949 model year, providing a demarcation point between old and, well, not so old. The 1975 date was chosen, Meek said, because that was the year companies stopped selling cars with huge engines in the midst of an energy crisis and gasoline shortages.
"The Relics had the cars from 1948 back, but there wasn't anywhere for the guy with a '57 Chevy to go," Meek said.
The group may be best known for its annual swap meet at the Effingham County Fairgrounds. The swap meet, currently held each April, has been conducted since 1987. Not many years after it started, the meet was moved to the fairgrounds because of rapid growth.