Shhhh…..RSF Secret Car Club confidential

Carlsbad and Rancho Santa Fe commercial mortgage banker Elise Esprit points to a vintage namesake Lotus at a June 2021 meeting of the Saturday Secret Car Club at Cielo Village/Escondido Grapevine.

Do you wanna know a secret? Drive around Rancho Santa Fe’s Cielo Village just off Del Dios Highway around…Shhh…

San Diego and Orange County real estate agent Chris Erickson along with two of his clients organized the members-only club in 2010. They wanted a different type of car club inclusive and open to all makes, models and motorcycles.

The club holds no meetings. No officers are elected. Nobody pays dues. “In doing so, we deliberately bypass the drudgery and politics prevalent in most car groups,” said Erickson, now billed as club founder and sponsor.

A community of genuine car aficionados, Secret Car Club (SCC) evolved into so much more, according to Erickson.  Unlike other car clubs, it cultivated a diverse following from all walks of life, professions, youngsters, and ladies; all sharing the same passion.  Ultimately, Secret Car Club brings people together and fuels a fervor that only true car fans can appreciate.

“SCC doesn’t care who you are, how much money you make, how many cars you have, or who you know. If you love the cars, the history, and the people, you are in. A very simple concept.”

Organizing SCC at Fairbanks Ranch for weekly sub rosa meetings, Erickson decided to go more public with weekly meetings. “I do this because it makes people happy,” he said.

After several years of exclusive SCC get togethers, Erickson decided to create events for the public — the idea of Secret Car Club Events had been brewing. “I knew there was a need for an event company that could and would cater to auto, aircraft and nautical enthusiasts,” Erickson said. “Friends and colleagues I spoke with tended to agree.”

Secret Car Club founder and sponsor Chris Erickson speaks to a club member at a Saturday Cielo Village meeting in June 2021/Escondido Grapevine

More importantly, what people wanted most was a positive, friendly, social atmosphere — the same atmosphere that has made Secret Car Club so successful, Erickson said, adding, “I knew I could fill that need, and Secret Car Club Events was born.”

“Our events create an opportunity for people to experience things that they may never have the opportunity to experience,” Erickson continued. “Individual events can include vintage cars, boats and aircraft, food, camaraderie and community and introducing these experiences to another generation.”

Erickson grew up around Washington D.C. His older brother, Charles restored and resold British-made cars including the likes of Austin Healey, MG, Roll Royce and Bentley.

From that time on,” Erickson said, “I’ve loved all things British and have owned several MGs, Triumphs and Land Rovers. I enjoy the preservation of the vehicles and the challenge of the restoration, especially Land Rovers.”

SCC’s Cielo Village confab is a family-friendly event with a recent Saturday event attracting an eclectic and enthusiastic coterie of of genuine car aficionados that come from all walks of life.

Weaving in and out of an impressive display of upscale vintage vehicles, members and fellow travelers enjoyed the ambiance of Cielo Village at 18021 Calle Ambiete that included nearby Invita Cafe and sweeping views high abve Del dios Highway and through the Santa Fe Valley hard by Del Dios Gorge.

Peeking in at RSF’s Secret Car Club at its Saturday meeting/Escondido Grapevine

“We are a diverse group of people from every possible background who come together for the love of all things mechancal, from cars to boats and planes to trains,” Erickson said. “We are men, women, youngsters and famlies here to share this passion for cars together.”

Purity is a virtue for SCC as members are in it for the social interaction featuring a chance to meet new people, and have a new experience each time they come a’calling. Several club tenets help create an unique and fruitful experience.

Club tenets include:

1. Please NEVER touch any of the cars or motorcycles.

2. There is no soliciting or networking allowed, period! If you want to promote your business or product this is NOT the place for it.

3. Please respect the privacy of the members and visitors. Inquiry about ANY member’s personal information, including their car collection, residence, or profession is unacceptable. SCC members share their personal information at their own discretion, not at your request. Members not respecting this protocol will be permanently removed from the membership.

4. Vehicles are not offered for sale at SCC events except under special circumstances. “For Sale” signs are not allowed.

5. Please follow the Golden Rule and be kind to your fellow member — negative comments such as “My Land Rover is better then your Ferrari” or “My Mustang is way cooler than your Camaro” are unnecessary and discouraged. Each vehicle is special to the person who brought it.

There are only two ways to join. The first is by invitation only from a current member. The second is by filling out a brief questionnaire and submitting the “join us” button online. “That’s it,” Erickson said.

In case you’re wandering, rain or shine, the club convenes from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturdays at Cielo Village, 18021 Calle Ambiete. For more information visit https://www.secretcarclub.com or call (858) 775-2161

Corvette summer at Cielo Village SCC meeting/Escondido Grapevine

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