The Virginia Jaguar Club (VJC) is the Richmond-based affiliate of the Jaguar Club of North America (JCNA), but has members in all parts of the state. Under the leadership of Dr. Ron Gaertner, the VJC served as the host for JCNA Annual General Meeting (AGM) in 2011, combined with the XKExperience to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the E-type. We were honored with Norman Dewis as guest VIP for this event. If that were not enough, in 2013 the VJC successfully hosted the JCNA Challenge Championship at the Wyndham Virginia Crossing Resort just north of Richmond, where Jaguar promoted the recent introduction of the F-Type roadster. Ian Callum, world renowned Chief of Design for Jaguar Land Rover, and Andy Goss, Group Sales Operations Director Jaguar Land Rover, were the guests of honor.
The VJC hosts monthly events, usually on a Saturday morning, which include tech sessions, members' garage visits, country drives, and more recently rallies and slalom events.
History of the Virginia Jaguar Club
The Virginia Jaguar Club has changed and evolved since its inception in 1999, and has an interesting history. During the early 1990’s, founding members, such as Wayne Estrada, had been impressed by North Carolina and National Capitol Area Jaguar Clubs. While a local Richmond club had existed for a period of time in the 1970’s, it was no longer active, even though there were a significant number of British car enthusiasts in the area.
Wayne credits the development of the internet with helping to form the VJC. In January 1999, after a few posts of a proposed meeting and club formation on the Jag-Lovers website (at the time “cyber central” for Jaguar enthusiasts), the VJC was on its way.
Over twenty people attended the first meeting, held in Wayne’s Richmond office. Among these were Jim Morton, then-President of JCNA, and Dave Ekrote, Carolina Jaguar Club president who drove all the way from Raleigh to make the meeting that night and build support! At that meeting we reviewed a draft club charter (largely copied from the CJC) and settled on the name "Virginia Jaguar Club" from a list of over a dozen possible suggestions.
Coincidentally, the 1999 AGM for JCNA was held in Tyson's Corner, Virginia. After only two meetings in Richmond, the fledging group of Jaguar enthusiasts in central Virginia had put together a charter, filed the necessary paperwork with JCNA, and submitted it for approval by the executive board. Wayne drove up to the AGM for the weekend, networking, politicking a little, and making new friends. As a result, the VJC was officially voted into membership as a JCNA affiliate.
Wayne was the “chief cook and bottle washer” as the club grew. Singlehandedly, he wrote and printed newsletters, built a website and helped to promote the club, quite enthusiastically. Wayne dedicated countless hours every week to help make the VJC a success. Membership grew, as did the number of individuals who dedicated time and effort to making the club what it is today.
Club membership grew in a variety of ways. The Internet (naturally), but nothing replaces the enthusiasm and actions of fellow members and enthusiasts promoting the club. Wayne tells the story of meeting Kevin and Teri Palin in a K-Mart parking lot, chasing them down when he saw them drive up in their XJ6 with customized jag-oriented plates. David Harrison, the current president and Wayne met many years ago at British Car Day (now Classics on the Green) when it was still held the Berkley Plantation. David & Hazel Laughton as well as Bruce & Marion Murff were among the founding members. As a matter of fact, David Hazel’’s Austin Swallow remains in the club today under the stewardship of the David Harrison. Other charter members Dick & Samantha Geoghegen and Wayne first me at a NCJOC Concours in 1997….and the list goes on!
The Virginia Jaguar Club was the first JCNA club to be born of this marvelous new, indispensable tool we all know and love as the Internet. We thank all those who had contributed to helping start and grow the VJC, especially Wayne for keeping the VJC website and newsletter going for all these years. While the torch has been passed, the VJC continues to grow and help others share in their enthusiasm for Jaguar automobiles and the camaraderie of the club.
Virginia Jaguar Club