Petrolheads in Action in Italy

By Dr. Matthijs van den Adel, President of the Antique Classic & Historic Automobile World Fellowship (ACHAFR)

Last year, the Antique Classic & Historic Automobile World Fellowship (ACHAFR) celebrated its 30th anniversary making us among the oldest fellowships of Rotary. With nearly 600 members, it is well represented worldwide.

ACHAFR and its national chapters organize rallies and regular meetings for their local and national members who share a passion for antique and classic cars. We also organize events that bring together members of the fellowship globally. For instance, our yearly European Tours bring together members of the fellowship from all over Europe to bond over their shared passion. For 2020, our Italian chapter is organizing a Coast-to-Coast Tour that already has 12 teams from Germany, 10 teams from the Netherlands, 5 teams from the UK and 1 team from Switzerland registered. These tours have created a family spirit, participants see each other regularly and have become close. Many of our rallies are a couple of days long allowing friendships to develop over meetings, dinners, and of course over the love of antique and classic cars. Also, at times it’s difficult to search for spare parts for antique cars so having this network of contacts is helpful in finding what you are looking for.

We also work on service projects to help our communities. Following the devastating earthquakes in 2016 and 2017 in central Italy, our fellowship and local Rotary clubs took the initiative to build a new ‘earthquake-proof’ multifunctional centre in Arquata del Tronto, Italy. The centre would offer local young professionals rent-free working/office space.

Using funds from membership fees of our ACHAFR and its Italian Chapter (ARACI)’s tours and events, as well as funds brought in from auctions and lotteries held during the various tours, we supported the construction of the centre. In addition, Rotary clubs in various European countries financially supported the project and the Rotary Club of Ascoli-Piceno received a global grant from The Rotary Foundation, which thus hosted the project and provided additional funding. Altogether, we have been able to construct and finance the centre without further support from other sources.

Within one year, the centre was designed and constructed with a grand opening in May 2019 by then Rotary International President, Barry Rassin. All of us were grateful for Barry attending the opening as a sign of appreciation and honour of our efforts.

Members of our fellowship have clearly given meaning to the leading Rotary moto of “Service Above Self” and will continue to do so.

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