Goin' Up the Country09/19/2017

America has always had a love affair with cars - from the muscle to the sleek to the sport, there is something about a classic roadster that's American as apple pie. That's why across the country, people are joining car clubs to show off their classic vehicles, swap stories or simply hang out. We've listed three big car clubs in the Pensacola area that you can enjoy whether you have a cherry speedster, or are just a fan of these classic machines.

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Panhandle Cruisers

If you are looking for variety in your hot rods and roadsters, Panhandle Cruisers is your one- top shop for all that matters in vintage and custom cars.

Formally called the Panhandle Cruisers Car Club, they are a nonprofit that was founded in 1981 to encourage restoration, repair and modification of vehicles of all kinds. The vehicles vary from vintage 1900s automobiles to hot rods to muscle cars and even modern-day imports. Some cars are unaltered factory standards, while others are heavily modified and custom.

Panhandle Cruisers hosts events year round throughout Pensacola. In addition to their bi- onthly membership meetings, their most well-known meetup they attend is the Cars & Coffee events, held the fourth Saturday of every month. Located at the Carmike Bayou at 5149 Bayou Blvd, both members and spectators are encouraged to grab a cup of coffee at the nearby Starbucks and wander through the roadsters, motorcycles and domestics. Other car clubs and independent owners also attend this free event, so there is always a variety of vehicles.

Panhandle Cruisers host other events such as cruise nights, dinner get-togethers, Christmas parties and car shows. They also participate in charity car shows, fairs and events by promoting, managing and judging them as a way to give back to the community.

Membership is only $20 per year and your car qualifies if "it has wheels and you think it looks cool," according to the Club. For more information on the club, their events and to join their membership, visit

Emerald Coast Regional Mustang Club

If any car has kept its class and reputation intact since its earliest days in 1964, it would have to be the Mustang - which to this day is synonymous with style, power and performance. 

That's why the Emerald Coast Regional Mustang Club (ECRMC) devotes itself to the 53- ear-old legacy of the Ford Mustang.

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Originally founded in 1987 by four local Mustang fans as an informal social group, the ECRMC became a Florida non-profit in 1989 and was adopted as part of the Mustang Club of America in 1995. Over the years it has seen every generation of Mustang, as well as every generation of new Mustang lovers. 

ECRMC hosts a huge list of events every month - many of which are cruises. The second Friday every month is their Navarre Classic Car Cruise-In, where they meet at the Fort Walton Beach city hall and drive to Navarre Park. Their biggest event, however, is their Mustang and Ford Powered Car Show, which is set to take place on October 28 at the Fort Walton Beach Civic Auditorium. Featuring Mustangs, Model Ts, Falcons, T-Birds and other specialty cars, this is the club's biggest fundraiser and is also a chance to take home a sleek trophy in any number of competition classes.

The Club also focuses on their charity efforts, donating to local organizations such as the American Cancer Society, Sharing and Caring, Silver Sands School and more.

As long as you have a Mustang and can pay the $25 annual membership fee, you'll find a passionate group who not only wants to show off their cars, but help others who can't resist the allure of the famous 'Pony.' For more information on the club, their events and to join their membership, visit

Rare Air Emerald Coast

Volkswagen has produced some of the most distinct looking cars on the road since they first arrived in America in 1949. From Things to Rabbits to Beetles to Buses, there is no mistaking the charm of these eclectic cars.

The Rare Air Emerald Coast VW Club was built to help keep the legacy of these iconic vehicles alive. The Club was established in  1991, when two separate Pensacola VW clubs - Rare Air and Emerald Coast - were consolidated into their current form. Rare Air Emerald Coast is part of the Vintage Volkswagen Club of America, and is the largest VW club in the Florida Panhandle. "Wild" Bill Tucker is the current president of the club, and has been involved with it since 1994.

"There's this whole subculture for VWs. There's a sense of camaraderie - you wave at other VW drivers. If one is pulled over on the side of the road, you pull up and see if you can help. It's our code," said Tucker.

Rare Air Emerald Coast is both a social club as well as a resource for VW owners to come to for help maintaining and repairing their vehicles, since there are very few mechanics in the Pensacola area who work on air-cooled VWs any more.

Some of the club activities include participating in car shows, and two major shows are coming up in the next few months. On October 21, the club will host its 21st Annual VW Show at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola. 

The Rare Air Emerald Coast VW Club is open to anyone with a classic VW and $15 per year to spare on their membership fees. For more information on the club, their events and to join their membership, visit

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