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The 10 Best Reasons to Join AOMCI By Tom Oncken, Texas Chapter
- The People. I would never have become a member of AOMCI if not for the people I met at the time I joined in 1989. I had been a member of related hobby clubs and was the co-founder of one of them, but found that they tended not to welcome new members and many times thought they were superior in some way. Regardless of income, job title, background, or age, AOMCI members have only one interest, and that is to collect, run, and restore old outboard motors. Those with money do not show it, those with brains do not flaunt it, and those who have no talent to rebuild old motors learn how anyway. We do not compete with each other. Instead, we help each other. I enjoy being with “real” people who like to play with old motors.
- Re-living Some History. Over the years since I joined AOMCI, I have enjoyed seeing old outboards running on the water that were commonplace when I was a young boy. Nearly everyone had a motor and boat for fishing on the bays. My family had a 1958 Evinrude Starflite on the back of a 1958 mahogany fishing boat, and under the front deck was a 1947 Johnson TD-20 as a backup motor. The TD-20 saved us one time when the old Starflite ran into trouble. I grew up with these two outboards, and the motors and that old boat are still in the garage.
- Seeing Rare Old Motors. I first joined AOMCI at the encouragement of member Louis Rothermel, and one day he invited a couple of other members and me to come to his shop to check out some of his old outboard motors. I knew he had a 1943 Evinrude Storm Boat Motor, but I had never seen his other motors. There were a number of Evinrude Big Fours, Speeditwins, and numerous other motors all over the shop. Until then I had never heard of Martin, Neptune, Goodyear, or any kind of early “rowboat motor.” Imagine my surprise when Louis actually started up one of those old things. The Texas Chapter meets were even more historical, with motors showing up like Elto Ruddertwins, Caille Liberty Drives, Aerothrusts, Indians, Chris-Crafts (I thought they only made boats), motors from the early 1900s, and race motors from the 1950s. Where else would I ever see one of those motors?
- A Wealth of Knowledge. When I joined AOMCI, there was suddenly a wealth of information available to me. Every member I met seemed to know a lot about certain motors, so if I needed to know something about any motor, I simply had to find the local member who was good with the motor I was working on. Today, with the availability of the internet, the AOMCI discussion boards are a great place to post a plea for help. Any number of members will respond and give answers or suggest places to find things. (As I said earlier, we help each other.)
- International Connections. With today’s online connections comes the opportunity to share this hobby with people all over the world. My current position as Indian Special Interest Group leader has connected me to members in Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Canada, and of course the USA. Who knew that this would have been possible when I first joined the club? Have you ever heard of a Trim? An Effzett? A Goiot? Outboards have been made and used all over the world. Now you can connect with them and their owners.
- The Antique Outboarder. Every organization needs a way to communicate with its members and AOMCI is fortunate to have people who can put together a great magazine about old outboards for the benefit of our members. The Antique Outboarder is written, photographed, and edited by the members and then professionally laid out and printed. It’s almost 100% supported by membership dues.
- Outboard Meets. “Wet” meets (running boats and motors) and “dry” meets (display only, sometimes with test tanks) are the heart of activities in the AOMCI’s 45 chapters. Meets are an opportunity to get together and run or show off that old treasure you have been working on, as well as to buy, sell, and swap motors and parts. For the older members, meets are a celebration of memories from the past and for the younger members, a meet can be the celebration of their first successful restoration.
- Parts, Supplies, Catalogs, Paint, Decals, etc. Many of our members specialize in one or more of these vital supplies, often as a hobby business. I cannot think of a better reason to join the AOMCI.
- Minimizing the Cost of Your Acquisitions. While a handful of old motors are rare and valuable (Indian Silver Arrow, Cross Radial, Gray Gearless, etc.) we have all seen someone purchase a garden variety small outboard for way more than it was worth. AOMCI membership can help you learn the value of an old motor. Further, having friends in the organization can sometimes result in finding a very nice motor for little or nothing. I am not the only member who has given away a motor, parts, manuals, or knowledge to another member for free.
- Family Fun. I joined the club when my only son was 8 years old. Mike had shown interest in dismantling our home telephone, so turning him on to old outboards was not a problem. At the first meet we attended together, Mike was driving everyone crazy, bumming as many rides as he could. The members instantly adopted him, even letting him drive the boat. He is still an active member, and now his two sons, Tommy (8) and Charlie (7) are being introduced to old outboards.
The outboard motor hobby can be a family affair. Kids are welcomed at meets, where they can learn and have fun in a safe, wholesome atmosphere.