Auto Hobby Club – Come tinker with us


Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

Amateur do-it-yourself mechanics can save thousands of dollars by joining the CFB Esquimalt Auto Club.

For as low as $40 a year and a $15 per hour workspace rental, military, DND civilians, veterans, their families, and guests can join the club and use its automotive workshop in Work Point.

Three service bays with hoists are available for use, plus a tire changer, wheel balancing equipment, brake lathe, welding equipment, diagnostic machines, and a plethora of tools. It also employs part-time employees to ensure its availability to members and to offer sage advice. However, until the pandemic passes the shop is closed.

“Most people don’t even know we exist; we’re one of the best-kept secrets on base and that’s quite unfortunate,” says Lt(N) Mitchell Newman, the Auto Club’s Vice President.

Many believe the club is only for mechanics and hardcore auto enthusiasts, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Plus, many people join for the social aspects of working on vehicles with others.

Last year, the auto club had just under 150 members and it has room to grow.

“We are hoping to see new members join the club—enthusiasts and inexperienced tinkerers alike,” said Lt(N) Newman.

The club opened in 1995 after Cdr Tony Cond saw sailors working on their cars in the driveways of their military housing units. They couldn’t afford costly repairs or a new vehicle. Cdr Cond had the idea that CAF members would greatly benefit from a communal workspace where they could work out of the rain and cold and have access to shared tools. He envisioned that members could work on their vehicles more safely, reliably, and responsibly.

As a Personnel Support Programs service club, the Auto Club follows administrative policies including a voted-in executive team to manage it.

Lt(N) Newman joined the club out of a passion for cars and volunteers on the executive team for the joy of sharing that passion with others.

“In elementary school, I used to draw engines and drivetrains, and build model cars. I disassembled and reassembled my grandmother’s lawnmower when I was seven. I needed to know how everything worked.”

He maintains four vehicles, two of them are soon to be 30 years old. He is also rebuilding the twin-turbo engine of a ’92 Nissan 300ZX.

He adds, he has saved thousands of dollars doing simple maintenances himself,  maintenance that other CAF members could do as well.

“I’m really lucky that my naval occupation and my passion align closely,” says Lt(N) Newman.

Aside from floating and using propellers, ships and cars are highly similar. The theoretical knowledge required to understand how their systems work and are maintained is quite comparable. He is certain other CAF members share the same passion for vehicles, their maintenance, and saving money.

For more information about the CFB Esquimalt Auto Club, please visit or email

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