A lifelong passion can shape a lifestyle. Sean Tolliver is one of many enthusiasts whose involvement with the automotive world traces back to his childhood. He first got his feet wet helping a neighbor work on a classic Camaro. And while Tolliver’s current labor of love is a late-model Dodge Challenger, he entertains an unbiased affection for all makes and models.
Last September, Keystone Automotive’s RPM Magazine editorial team featured Tolliver’s ride, but it’s time for a quick recap. His car, a 2014 Challenger R/T with a 5.7 Hemi under the hood, has personal touches including a Magnaflow exhaust and Diablo Sport Tuner. Perhaps the most unique feature is the custom Blues Brothers inspired pin-striping. But Tolliver insists, “My car is a car; it’s not a showpiece. I mean, I keep it clean and take care of it … [But] I really haven’t changed anything since the September issue—just maintained. It’s my daily driver.”
Though in this industry, we know that it’s not always the car that’s special, but rather who’s behind the wheel. Tolliver, like many others who share his passion, was inspired to join a local car club. Introduced by Keystone co-worker Fred Kemp, he joined the Triad Mopar Group in his home state of North Carolina. There, he does a little more than just show up for car shows.
“I am a member, yes, but I’m the website moderator too,” says Tolliver. “ I do all the website stuff. I have a guy who helps me a little bit, but it’s 99% all me.” He also does all of the photography for the website itself. Tolliver shared that the club has an active core of around 40 people, but there are about 200 members total.
Mix, Mingle, & Make Some Lifelong Friends
The club itself is actually pretty popular around his neck of the woods. Especially considering they are within a half hour drive of none other than Richard Petty. That’s right, the King of NASCAR himself—The Richard Petty, who immortalized the Plymouth Superbird. Tolliver tells us, “They’ve actually hosted a Triad Mopar Day. They invited us down, we got to meet Richard. They cooked for us and it was just us—nobody else was invited … they’ve been really good to us.”
While there are some definite perks to the car club, the group itself isn’t self-centered. “As a club, we try to do community events,” explains Tolliver. “We’re actually having a car show in May to help raise money for a member’s church. It’s to send the kids to Carowinds, which is an amusement park down in Charlotte.”
These community efforts always deserve a pat on the back; however Tolliver shared a story that speaks louder than words when getting to the heart of what kind of people are involved in this club. “We had a kid a couple of years ago that had terminal cancer. He was a BIG car guy, just loved cars. He was young, he only had to be 16 or 17 years old,” says Tolliver. “So one of the other car clubs in town got every car club in just about the state, and we all got together and met up in a giant Wal-Mart parking lot. It was like 800 cars and we all drove to this kid’s house and surprised him. It was crazy.”
Another time, Tolliver himself was laid up for awhile due to a surgery he needed because of pneumonia. It was serious enough to keep him out of work for almost a month, and with hospital bills adding up, his fellow club members put together a charity event to raise money to help him get back on his feet. Clearly, anyone who says, “It’s just a car” is sadly mistaken.
More Than a Car Club
There are a lot of things to look forward to when part of a car club. Tolliver mentioned the up-and-coming Southeast Shindig, an indoor car show filled with nothing but Mopars during the second week of August. But Tolliver and his fellow enthusiasts show that joining a car club is about much more than just showing off a sweet ride. It’s about bringing people together and collectively utilizing everyone’s best qualities and talents. Not only can they inspire those in the group, but they can also make a difference in the community with their acts of kindness. And at the end of the day, that’s a life lesson everyone can learn from.