If you are a fan of Arizona’s “Car Month” each January, you’ll want to check out the Fountain Hills Automobile Club. This dynamic group traces its roots back a remarkable thirty-five years.
“Currently, we have about 90 members in our group,” said Tony Pistilli, who served as the club’s president in 2022.
“We’re a relaxed club,” said Tony. “If an individual in our group wants to do something with other members, they set it all up and invite the rest of the members. Sometimes, we get together and drive out to a lake, take photos of our cars against the beautiful scenery, have lunch, and drive back.”
On a recent excursion, the group visited the newly re-opened Martin Auto Museum near I-17 and Thunderbird. Mel Martin founded the museum in 2005 when he saw a need to share a collection of vehicles representing significant periods in automotive history. Today, the museum features over 160 cars and has one of the largest collections of auto memorabilia, antique gas pumps, and signage. Kids will enjoy riding the carousel or playing various driving and racing games.
The Fountain Hills Automobile Club owes its current organizational structure to the late Jerry Miles, also a former Mayer of Fountain Hills.
“We love to do local events,” said Tony. “We frequently do events at Fountain View Village where we bring about twenty cars while they through a fun BBQ.”
The group also participates in the Thanksgiving Day Parade, showing off dozens of fun vehicles. They also set up at a new annual event on the Avenue called Fountain Hills Day.
The group also loves participating in “Cruisin’ at Phil’s” in the back parking lot of Phil’s Filling Station. “You can see us there every Sunday from about 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM,” said Tony. “Anyone who brings a car for the show gets a ticket that entitles them to a discounted breakfast at the restaurant and enters them in a raffle. The raffle gifts are donated by Phil’s and our club.”
The club has also found a special place in the local Concours in the Hills event.
“We have a great relationship with Peter Volny, who founded Concours in the Hills,” said Tony. “He’s a member of our club. We now register as a group so our cars can be exhibited together in one place. We always choose a theme. They recently started a Best Car Club Presentation competition, and our club won First Place last year. We have plans for a great exhibit this year.”
Tony has a 2001 Corvette that he purchased as the third owner. “The first owner kept it until he was 80 years old and couldn’t drive it anymore,” said Tony. “The second owner sold it to me for a similar reason. I do not doubt that when I sell it, it’ll be for the same reason. It’s fun to drive, and I enjoy having a little bit of bling. It’s never too late to have a mid-life crisis.”
To join the Fountain Hills Automobile Club, members must have a car over twenty years old, a specialty car like a brand new Corvette, or something out of the ordinary like a Cobra or a race car. Members also must be Fountain Hills residents, although the club is considering associate memberships for those who live on the fringes of Fountain Hills. Membership fees are $20 a year.
The group gathers for an annual banquet at the end of each year as they transition to a new board. “It’s a great time for bringing all the club members together with their spouses. We recognize new members and hand out prizes and raffles. It’s one of our favorite get-togethers.”
When asked what he thinks is the most exciting car in the club right now, Tony says, “I love the war-era cars that were made between 1935-1945. We were coming through such tough times, so those cars impressed me with their fascinating designs. I love how people have taken such good care of them and restored them.”
For more information about the Fountain Hills Automobile Club, visit them on Facebook HERE.