Monday, December 21, 2009

The Club Turns 10.

A little more than ten years ago I was working as a auto technician, with a small family, one real income and a car. My 1966 Barracuda. There was no money to do anything to the car at the time, so with time on my hands and my newly acquired used piece of modern technology I logged onto the newest fad, the internet, and created a website.

In 1998, this was the cool thing to do. I logged on to AOL with my 14.4 baud modem and created my personal site of family pictures and my Barracuda. Slowly it morphed to a site of just early Barracuda related info, the 1964 to 1966 Barracuda Homepage. I quickly outgrew AOL, switched to a local internet provider and recreated the site as The Early Barracuda Homepage. I added features like a mailing list, a chat room and used a guest book as a simple "want ads" listing. Tech articles were written and archived for future reference for all.

Step into the Wayback Machine for view of The Early Barracuda Homepage in 1999.

As one of the first Mopar related websites and a early member of the Mopar Webring, as well as swapping links with many other sites, the traffic through my site increased. I featured a new "Readers Ride" each month and more and more links to new sites and parts suppliers.

I talked to the guy I asked to be my chat room moderator about an idea I had about taking things to the next level. Well, I paid him a chicken for his time (old joke) and in 2000 we decided to rename the site The Early Valiant and Barracuda Club.

Step into the Wayback Machine for view of The Early Valiant and Barracuda Club in 2000.

This was way before MySpace and Facebook or web 2.0 apps. Before forums, Flickr and blog sites like this one. In the early days of the internet, there was no social networking sites. We had our mailing list, weekly chat nights, a place for people to send pictures of their cars to be displayed for all to see. We helped each other fix their cars by offering advise, technical support and help finding parts.

Step into the Wayback Machine for view of The Early Valiant and Barracuda Club in 2002.

We created our own social network of Mopar automotive hobbyists. An online community that has made it 10 years. Many people offered to help with club operations over the years. Don Hill with our printed newsletter "The Early Connection", Erik Ievins with webmaster and programming duties, Stacey Wisniewski as treasurer and Jeff Kopp with the new mailing list. Many others helped with advise or stories and technical assistance for all our members.

Things are a little different than when we first started, but all-in-all the same sense of community remains and that has been our main goal all along.

This blog post may be a little self serving, but with all the people who have contributed in ways small and large, and all the effort put forth to provide a gathering place for our small section of the collector car hobby, I think it's ok to honk our horn once in a while.

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