Drivers in the community who have passed an antique Ford Mustang Mach 1 or a brand new Maserati probably saw a member of the Tellico Village Vintage Vehicles Club.

The club has grown exponentially.

“The club has been around for about 30 years now,” Jerry Mauch, Vintage Vehicles Club president, said. “It was founded by a group here in the Village, and it’s continued since then. We have about 140 members right now, so we’re a fairly large club. We have a lot activities that we plan throughout the year.”

Events include group rides to various towns and cities.

Several members recently made a weekend trek on backroads to visit Berea, Ky.

“Every third Tuesday of the month down at Tugaloo, we’ll have a cruise-in,” Mauch said. “We also try to drive out to a restaurant somewhere. Later this month, we’re actually going to the Euchee Grill out in Ten Mile. It’s a beautiful trip, and they’re going to open the restaurant for us. Next month, we’re going to the Capitol Lodge over on The Dragon, so that should be pretty well attended. We had a real nice week up at Boone Tavern in Kentucky.”

John Lacko has made a hobby of collecting Ford Mustangs over the years and decided to join the club soon after purchasing a home in the Village in 2010.

“We moved to the Village in 2015, but we knew about the club because we bought a house down here in 2010,” Lacko said. “The first people we met for the club were Steve and Sherry West. They encouraged us to join the club, and we had dinner with them. When we moved here, I brought my collection of Mustangs down here, and we’ve been part of the club ever since. We love it.”

Lacko’s love for Mustangs started when he bought his first for $100.

“Between marriages, I had picked up a 1966 Mustang for $100 that had a blown engine and had the floor rotted out,” Lacko said. “I drove that for a while and dumped that. When my youngest son was in college, I saw an ad for a Mustang for $900. The guy had it in his backyard and it was a rust bucket. The Mach 1 that I have is an original car out of Macon, Ga. It’s got everything on it, except for the some of the items and the paint.”

Brad Berger has a taste for Buicks and proudly owns a 1971 Gran Sport.

“When I moved here, I had five cars — two were daily drivers and three were special cars,” he said. “The most special one is my ‘71 Buick Gran Sport convertible I’ve had for 30-something years. My oldest daughter, she was in a car seat when I brought it home. It’s part of the family and, hopefully, it will stay in the family in the future.”

Besides an emphasis on cars, members enjoy the club’s social dynamic and the friendships made through a common passion for automobiles.

“What I like about the Vintage Vehicles Club is the camaraderie and all the events we have to do,” Berger said. “At all the meetings, we always throw out the questions if anyone needs any help solving anything — car problems, mechanical problems or where you can get things fixed. That’s a help to everyone.”

Although a majority of members in the club sport older or newer vehicles, the club is open to any car enthusiasts.

“You don’t need to have a collector car or a custom car of any type,” Lacko said. “You just need to have to a common interest in doing things that car people do. We try, as a group, to support as many Village venues as possible. I enjoy the club a lot and I spend a lot of time with these guys.”

The Vintage Vehicles Club meets on the first Wednesday of the month at the Yacht Club. The fee to join is $10.

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