Club Information & Updates
President: Rick Hart
Vice-President: Tom McCormick
Secretary: Pam Creech
Treasurer: Carl Swanson
2017 Board of Directors
Are you interested in becoming a member of the TMC...or need to renew your TMC membership? If so, click on the links below to download our Membership Forms and either mail it in to the address on the form, or feel free to bring it to one of our meetings.
The monthly newsletter is emailed directly to club members, or you can click the link below to download the latest version.
Click the link below to download the minutes from the latest club meeting.
History of the Tidewater Mopar Club
President, Chrysler Muscle Car Owners Club, Pre-1986
Back in the early 1980s, a small group of Mopar Nuts hung out on Fridays at Smitty's Better Burger on King Street in Hampton, Va. and would talk Mopars to anyone who'd listen. In 1984, Wayne Wooten thought the group could use more structure and decided to start "CMCO", which stood for “Chrysler Muscle Car Owners”. The club went rather well for about two years. Wayne was the President, and John Vukovich (Founder and first president of TMC) was heading up the newsletter, the “CMCO News”.
Wayne was also a huge Dodge Charger enthusiast and while running the CMCO he also formed The Dodge Charger registry (TDC) (www.dodgechargerregistry.com). At the time, little did Wayne know what an impact his effort to form CMCO and TDC would have on the Mopar restoration hobby. Soon after Wayne started TDC he got in touch with Warner Brothers to see if he could get the records of the serial numbers of all the Dodge Chargers they used in the Dukes of Hazzard TV Series. Wayne had been corresponding with Warner Brothers (specifically the head of the transportation department) for quite a while, and they were quite impressed with the way he ran the registry. Somewhere in all this correspondence they told Wayne they had quite a few parts left over from the Chargers used in the show and offered to donate them to the registry. When he flew out to California to inventory the random stacks of fenders, hoods, doors and other parts to arrange the shipping, they “accidentally” showed him that they had 19 relatively complete General Lee Chargers hidden behind a tall fence! However, that is a whole other story.
Shortly afterwards, Wayne decided to move out of the Hampton Roads area to Keysville, Virginia. As a result of his move however CMCO was forced to disband as Wayne stated, he'd rather not have anyone continue to use the club's name or logo after he left the area. So, that was that! But that original group of guys, which Wayne organized, continued on to form the Tidewater Mopar Club. Had Wayne chose differently, we most likely would be referring to our club as the CMCO! Wayne maintained close ties with the club for many years and he continues to run the National Charger Registry.
TMC Founder & President, 1986-1992
After a short hiatus with no official Mopar club, John Vukovich (with the help of some close friends and former Chrysler Muscle Car Owners, (CMCO) members formed the Tidewater Mopar Club, (TMC). This transition actually worked out in everyone's best interest, because the old CMCO bylaws specifically restricted membership to owners of “Chrysler muscle cars”. Basically, that meant that ONLY two-door, V-8 powered, rear wheel drive domestic built Mopars could have been “voted in” to the old CMCO club. So if you owned a cool Shelby Charger, a big block four-door Fury, a Little Red Express truck, or a six cylinder powered Duster you could not join the CMCO! John and many others felt that this was a poor rule, especially since there weren’t that many Mopar enthusiasts around to begin with and one of the fastest production vehicles made in the U.S. in 1978 was a truck (the Little Red Express!). A few rides in Will Burn’s tweaked turbo Shelby Charger also probably helped to change John’s mind about the new front wheel drive performance cars too!
So, the first TMC bylaw that was written was that the owners of any FWD or RWD Dodge, Plymouth, or Chrysler product and even imports sold under those brand names were welcome to join. John and his friends also wanted the club to be more about the “people” and to judge membership strictly on the cars or trucks that they owned, or whether or not they even owned a Mopar at all! Over the years, some of the club’s most active and influential members owed some pretty ordinary cars when they first joined and many would go on to own some very exciting Mopars later in their lives! That is why to this day TMC welcomes “anybody with a love of Mopars” into the club.
Initially, John held club meetings at his home in Newport News. As time went by, membership from the Peninsula and the Southside grew. The meetings were rotated between some member’s homes all over Hampton Roads. Eventually we grew to the point where we needed more room, so meetings were held in a variety of different restaurants.
While John was president, the club held many fund raisers to raise money for charity. These included car washes and organized car shows. The club held their first annual Mopar Madness car show in 1987 at what was then called “Peninsula Dodge”, who had become the club’s sponsor. In 1989, the show moved to the brand new Tysinger Dodge facility in Hampton, but Tysinger’s sponsorship of the club ended shortly after that show. Mopar Madness was held one more year back at the re-named “Oyster Point Dodge”, but soon afterwards the club realized that its presence and financial abilities were enough to hold the 1991 Mopar Madness show at Suffolk Raceway! Drag racing, swap meet and of course show cars ruled the day.
Also in 1991, the club conducted its first charity car raffle, a 1968 Dodge Coronet. The car, was purchased by the club, cleaned, washed, waxed, tuned up and then raffled off. This was long before the days of our great sponsorships by Legendary Auto Interiors and Year One where we were able to completely restore a muscle car from the ground up. John was also a close friend of Mopar expert Galen Govier and established a relationship between Galen and the club that has lasted to this day,
The Tidewater Mopar Club continued to mature under Larry Richway’s leadership and he definitely helped to move it up to the next level. Oyster Point Dodge continued as the primary club sponsor; but Larry’s involvement in the auto repair business opened the doors to many other local business joining in to sponsor TMC’s give away cars. Larry and his close friends also negotiated major sponsorship for the giveaway cars from Legendary Auto Interiors, Year One and Totally Auto, Most of which still have strong ties to the Tidewater Mopar Club.
When Suffolk Raceway closed in late 1991, the club had to move its Annual Mopar Madness Car Shows to Langley Speedway for the 1992 Mopar Madness show where, this allowed the club to continue to grow and increase participation. The Langley Speedway shows featured hot laps, the Mopar Magic Monster trucks, Bunny Burkett and her funny car, a burnout contest, and guest appearances by Mopar expert Galen Govier. They took a Ford, a Chevy, the engines were drained of oil, chained them together as they would compete in a tug of war with tires smoking until one car’s engine blew up! Participants were also allowed to beat an import car with sledgehammers (a great stress reliever). Some of the shows had live bands as well.
At the last Suffolk Raceway show, the club raffled off a 1968 Dodge Coronet that had been purchased and cleaned up; it was just a 318 2bbl, but it was a 2 door. After Larry became President, we decided we could do better than that. So The club obtained and restored a number of give- away cars during this period, including a 1967 Plymouth GTX clone (the G-TMC-X), a 1973 Dodge Dart Sport 340, a 1971 440 Plymouth ‘Cuda, a 1968 Dodge Super Bee 383 clone, and a 1968 Plymouth Barracuda with a 440 shoehorned in it. The club campaigned these cars at car shows both locally and at national events like Carlisle, the Mopar Nationals, Rockingham and Englishtown. This campaign was very club-centric; club members all wore TMC t-shirts in the color of that year’s car, and 10 members would accompany the car to the big shows to sell raffle tickets. Proceeds from these raffles were donated to local charities.
During all the years that Larry Richway was President John Fenter was Vice President and when Larry left he took over the helm as the 4th President of the Tidewater Mopar Club in 1997. At the time, Chrysler had begun funneling their marketing funds to prepare for Dodge’s return to NASCAR with the new Dodge Intrepid. So, one of TMC’s biggest sponsors, Oyster Point Dodge, was no longer able to solicit corporate funds to sponsor the club’s shows at Langley Speedway. John Fenter wisely coordinated with longtime club member (and 1967 NHRA World Champion) Ed Miller to move the club's annual Mopar Madness show to Ed's shop in Courtland, VA. The highlight of the event was the burnout contest that the club held in the Department of Motor Vehicles, (DMV) parking lot adjacent to the show. For two years these shows had good participation, but were a bit smaller than the Langley shows.
The club rebuilt and raffled a 340 engine for charity; this engine was a Frankenstein, using a 318 poly forged truck crank, 360 rods, shaved early 360 heads with 2.02 intake valves added, Mopar Purple Shaft cam, aluminum dual plane intake and Holley 4bbl carb. We also built our own engine test stand (see Kevin Beard for details), and fired up the 340 for the first run on the stand. We had to use stock exhaust manifolds since the stand interfered with headers., and we also obtained and began worked on rebuilding a 1971 Roadrunner clone; that car was finished after Bill Laurent was elected President.
During this time, the club held its monthly meetings at Sammy & Nick's Steak House in Newport News. John Fenter is one of few active club members of TMC who has been an active member since almost the beginning of the club, having joined when arriving in Tidewater in 1989.
The club continued to grow under Bill Laurent’s leadership. Bill focused the club back to building and campaigning charity give away cars and increased the amount of charity funds the club generated by expanding the club’s annual Mopar Show into a show series. In the first year, Bill worked with Oyster Point Dodge to return the annual Mopar Madness Show to Langley speedway where the 1971 Plymouth Road Runner Clone was given away. In keeping with earlier Langley shows, The Sunday show featured hot laps, a burnout contest, Rides in Richard Petty’s NASCAR Truck, and car tug of war. In addition, the event was expanded to Saturday and included the club’s first cruise to colonial Williamsburg, the clubs first Show on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, and a race event Saturday night. Although the show was very popular, the high cost of leasing the track prevented the clubs return the following year. Instead, each of the events was separated to create the “Mopar Madness Show Series”.
In 2001, the club coordinated with Jeff Johnson of Classic Events to sponsor the newly formed Chrysler classic drag race and show series. TMC became the official sponsor of the Virginia Chrysler Classic held at Virginia Motorsports Park, where they raffled a 1965 Plymouth Barracuda for charity. The Virginia Chrysler Classic event was counted as one show in the clubs growing Mopar Madness Show point series.
So what shows made up the Mopar Madness Car Show point series? The Series evolved through the years and was comprised of many of the following events:
- Spring Mopar Madness at Virginia Motorsports Park
- Summer Mopar Madness at Fort Monroe Air Field
- The Colonial Mopar Tour
- Mopars on the Boardwalk
- Wings and Wheels
- Mopars at the Battleship
- All Mopar Madness at Langley Speedway
- NAS Oceana Air Show
- Fall Mopar Madness at Northeast Drag way
- Summer Mopar Madness Cruise-in
- Spring Mopar Madness at Motor world
During this time, the club worked closely and gave donations to a number of charity organizations including Safehaven, Victory Junction, Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughters, Disabled American Veterans, American Cancer Society, the National Kidney Foundation, and the Peninsula Rescue Mission. For three years the club sponsored the Oyster Bowl, a college football game for Christopher Newport University to raise funds for Shriner’s Children’s Hospitals. The club sponsored an automotive scholarship at Tidewater Community College and donated an industrial sand blast cabinet to their newly formed automotive skills training facility.
Also during Bill’s presidency, the club campaigned and raffled many cars for charity. In addition to all those cars already mentioned a 1977 Lil Blue express Truck and a 1975 Plymouth Duster were also raffled for charity. The 1975 Duster was actually built in just over a week. Bill learned through the local car club council that UPN was going to locally film and produces an automotive television series called Street Vision Garage. Bill approached UPN and proposed recording the club’s restoration of the 75 Duster in a one week timeline, similar to the Overhaulin’ television series. UPN agreed and Bay Custom Auto in Denbigh sponsored the location and painted the car for the club and the show. As committed, the club rallied its membership and in about one week, the Duster was completely restored and filmed for the show. Bill also represented TMC as the co-host of the television show for two seasons. The show was initially very successful and expanded to include tuner cars during its second season. UPN took the initiative to coordinate a subsequent charity car build that included the club and well-known automotive customizer Boyd Coddington. UPN’s plan was to have TMC build a customized 1968 Sport Fury convertible to unveil at the Las Vegas SEMA Show with sponsor Legendary Auto Interiors and UPN. The car would then be shown nationally and auctioned for charity at the end of the show season at a Barrett Jackson event. Preparations for the build initially went well and one filming session was held, but then the show came to a sudden end when a shop in Maryland who performed one of the featured car restorations the prior season filed a lawsuit against UPN. The resultant court action ended the show. On occasion, you can still find and view some show episodes on the Internet if you google ‘Street Vision Garage.'
Bill originally joined TMC in 1987 and is one of a small number of our “long haul” members. He was forced to end his presidency due to a pending military transfer, but later was able to stay in the area till his retirement from the Navy. Bill has remained a very active member of the club, attending meetings, bringing one of his cars to a show and sharing his experience with the current club officers.
President, 2007-July 2008
Prior to this period, previous President Bill Laurent had gotten the club up to a very busy schedule before having to turn it over to the next new President, Rick Seaman. Rick worked hard to continue the club’s reputation for organizing quality charity car shows. Both Mopar Madness at Virginia Motorsports Park and Mopars at the Boardwalk Show thrived, but the club’s busy schedule previously lead by Bill could not be maintained. The pace was fast and strained club participation. The complex point series events took an extremely large amount of work to organize. As a result, momentum was lost and the remaining Mopar Madness Points Series were discontinued.
A big change came for Rick when long time sponsor, Oyster Point Dodge was forced to close their doors leaving the club without a sponsor dealership. Up to this point, the club had based operations out of the Peninsula, but Rick and many new members resided in the Virginia Beach area. So, since Virginia Beach Dodge had previously sponsored the club’s Boardwalk show, Rick decided to reach out to Hall Virginia Beach Dodge to become the new club sponsor. Ironically at the same time, then Hall Dodge Service Manager, Scott Benson had initiated a search for a local car club that was interested in doing a car show/cook-out. So the connection was made and this led to some new club events. Scott and Rick organized the first club Spring Show and Shine, later that year the summer 2007 TMC/Hall Dodge Pig Pickin’ Summer Mopar Show both shows were held at Hall Virginia Beach Dodge. The club’s relationship with Hall Dodge continues to this day and was a major contributor to making Hall Virginia Beach Dodge the leading Dodge Dealership on the East Coast.
Rick continued to schedule the club events and membership continued to be around 80 members strong, but the club made little progress on the giveaway car during this time. The giveaway car project was eventually terminated due to lack of participation. There were many things that Rick wanted to do, but like his predecessor Bill Laurent, Rick had to end his presidency after only a short time due to a military transfer. Even being deployed and busy with his military career, Rick continues to be an active member of the club.
President, August 2008-September 2016
“Butch” Hora was not a member of the club until 2006, even though he always had a yard full of Mopars and had attended several TMC events over the prior 15 years. He had never got involved with the club because of the usual reasons, family, the Navy and because the Peninsula club meetings were on the other side of the “dreaded tunnel”. His actual first club involvement started back in 2004 when he had retired from the Navy and had just purchased an automotive repair shop, Auto Plus Performance. One day because of a relationship with Octane Magazine, Butch and Bill Laurent’s paths crossed. Butch had many Mopar friends on the Southside that were interested in being involved in the club, so Bill agreed with Butch that having a second club meeting at his shop would be good for the club. That started TMC meetings being held in Virginia Beach and significantly increases TMC membership. They even held a TMC cook out in Auto Plus’s parking lot before going to the burnout contest for the 2005 Mopars on the Boardwalk Show!
Butch started as a vice-President and later would inherit the Presidency from Rick Seaman after his departure. Some of the things Butch did at first was organizing all the club’s assets and putting them into a new club trailer. Then he put together a new group of club sponsors and expanded the club newsletter. Another thing that Butch focused on early in his first year was increasing membership by personally calling previous members to keep them informed and involved. He was always actively recruiting new members from his new and past acquaintances and invited the new generation of modern Hemi cars to participate in shows. Membership grew to 130 by the end of 2009 and kept growing to over 160 in 2010, now at 193 at the end of 2012, the largest in club history! The majority of the members come from the East Coast, but some club members live as far away as California, there are even a couple of International members from Italy and Australia!
Butch has focused on organizing quality club activities and events by maintaining strong relationships with the major TMC show sponsors Virginia Motorsports Park (Mopar Madness) and Hall Virginia Beach Dodge (Spring Show and Shine, Summer Mopar Show and the new Fall Foodbank Mopar Show). Even after the re-structuring of Chrysler at the end of 2009, the club relationship with the newly established Hall Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram dealership and the General Manager, Chris Colbert continues to grow stronger.
Over the years the club has donated money to local charities by mainly raffling off give away cars. Without the money generated from the giveaway cars, TMC has had to make all of its income from car shows, 50/50 raffles and membership dues. A big factor to our success in 2010 was the additional financial support from Hall during the last three-dealership shows. The club has been able to save more of the money it made in 2010, allowing the club to donate even more to charities than all of the past 3 years combined! Organizations that TMC donated to during this term are: the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, The Youth Challenge of Hampton Roads and the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia.
Thanks to all the Presidents, past and present, for all their time and effort in making TMC what it is today.
By-Laws of Tidewater Mopar Club, Inc.
Article One ~ Membership
Section 1. Eligibility. There shall be one class of individual members who shall have the right to vote. Individual membership shall be open to all persons eighteen years of age or older who are owners or enthusiasts of motor vehicles built by Chrysler. This class of membership shall also include the member's immediate family for purposes of club admission and benefits, but the member's immediate family will not be entitled to vote.
Section 2. Election to Membership. Each applicant for membership shall apply on a form approved by the Board of Directors, which shall provide that the applicant agrees to abide by the By-Laws of the Corporation. The application shall state the name, address and occupation of the applicant. Accompanying the application, the prospective member shall submit dues payable for the current year. All applications are to be filed with the Secretary and each application is to be read and voted upon at the first meeting of the Board of Directors following its receipt. A majority vote shall be required to elect the applicant. Individuals who were members prior to incorporation shall continue to be members of the corporation.
Section 3. Dues. Annual dues shall be set by the Board of Directors. During the month of November, the Treasurer shall send to each member a statement of his dues for the ensuing year.
Section 4. Membership Meetings. Regular Meetings: The annual membership meeting shall be held on the first day of December of each year, or on such other day in December as the Board of Directors shall designate. Meeting shall be held at the principal office of corporation in Hampton, Virginia. Regular meetings shall be held on the second Tuesday of each month. Written notice of such meetings shall be mailed by the Secretary at least thirty days prior to the date of the meeting.
- Special Meetings: Special membership meetings may be called by the President, or by a majority vote of the members of the Board, and shall be called by the Secretary upon the receipt of a petition signed by members having one-twentieth of the votes entitled to be cast at such meeting. Written notice of such meeting shall be mailed by the Secretary at least ten days prior to the date of the meeting, and the notice shall state the purpose of the meeting and no other business shall be transacted.
- Quorum: The quorum for membership meetings shall be a majority of the members holding votes entitled to be case at such meeting.
- Place, Date and Hour: All meetings of the Corporation, whether of the membership or the Directors shall be held in Hampton, Virginia, or within 60 miles of Hampton, Virginia, at such place, date and hour as may be designed by the person or persons authorized herein to call such a meeting.
Section 5. Termination of Membership.
- Resignation: Any member in good standing may resign from the Corporation upon written notice to the Secretary; but no member may resign when in debt to the Corporation. Dues obligations are considered a debt to the Corporation and they become incurred on the first day of each fiscal year.
- Lapsing: a membership will be considered as lapsed and automatically terminated if such member's dues remain unpaid thirty days after the first day of the fiscal year; however, the Board may grant an additional thirty days of grace to delinquent members in meritorious cases. In no case may a person be entitled to vote at any meeting whose dues are unpaid as of the date of the meeting.
- Removal: any member may be removed with or without cause by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.
Tidewater Mopar Club (TMC) is in no way associated with, nor shares common or financial interests with, Chrysler Group LLC, Dodge, Chrysler, Plymouth, Jeep, AMC, SRT, Mopar or Fiat...and all other registered names and trademarks belonging to Chrysler Group LLC, and/or other companies/persons and their affiliated companies. These such trademarks, images, documents, and/or programs used in this sited or in any other manner by TMC are STRICTLY for reference and/or informational purposes only.