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TAYLORVILLE — The 40 MPH Club started as six people, united by their love of cars. Now, the group has garnered 246 Facebook members and about 15 to 20 core members, and their events gather much more than that. Member Carol Gowdy isn’t quite sure “how this little car club has blossomed into something this huge.”
But huge it is. Hundreds attend the club’s monthly summer car cruises, the latest of which was held on July 1, 2022.
The cruises are held in conjunction with Taylorville’s Late Night Shopping to help bring more business to local stores.
“It’s a social club,” said member Gail Lumb, “but we like to try and do things in the process, like the cruise downtown.”
Other than the cruises, the group likes to take their cars on trips, like to dinner, a winery or a museum.
“Usually somebody breaks down,” Gowdy laughed, “and everybody gets out with their tools and their bottles of water and sometimes a fire extinguisher.”
The group likes to do charitable things, whether they’re raising money or simply donating their time. They’ve raised money for food banks, veterans and churches. Right now, they’re planning a “drive-by” for a homebound “car person.” They try to do local parades, too. The group is completely not-for-profit.
“We as a group tried to do some of the more local things,” Lumb said, “and that includes like charity things or events to bring people to smaller areas.”
Once a month, members gather for a “birthday dinner,” rarely acknowledging whose birthday it is.
“It’s just a good wholesome environment,” Lumb said. “I have two daughters I raised by myself, and they grew up with the integral 40 MPH group, the five or six guys that I hang out with, so they had a male role model in their lives. It’s just a good wholesome thing that families can be involved in.”
The group boasts a motto of “no rules, no dues, and nobody cares.” As Lumb put it, “it doesn’t matter if you have a hundred dollar car and come from humble means or you have a $50,000 car.” After all, “it’s a car, and the people are people.”
“Our cars are drivers. We drive them,” Lumb said. “They’re not show quality, but that doesn’t matter in the scheme of things.”
So, the group that started as a few people with Model A’s and Model T’s has grown to include a diverse crew of cars and people involved in a large amount of events.
“People always want to know, ‘Why’s it called the 40 mph club?’ It’s because when it began most of the cars were Model A’s and Model T’s that couldn’t go faster than 40 MPH,” Gowdy explained.
Lumb said that the growth of the club “goes to show that the interactions between people have such a significant impact on other people around them.”