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July is Automotive Heritage Month in NL
The A&W in Mount Pearl had a different atmosphere July 7 when dozens of members from the Newfoundland Antique and Classic Car Club met there.
It was one of reminiscing and sharing of passion — the laughter and jokes being cracked amongst the crowd told of long friendships with many inside stories.
July has been designated as Automotive Heritage Month in Newfoundland and Labrador by Service NL minister Sherry Gambin-Walsh, and National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada.
The month was first designated in 2010 to recognize the financial and cultural benefits that automotive hobbyists bring to the province through generated business, employment and charity work.
Gathering at A&W, or ‘Cruising the Dub,’ has been a tradition for the people in the club for decades — ever since the club started in 1980 and A&W employees still brought you your meals while skating on rollerblades.
Antique car hobbyists in Newfoundland do much more than parade their cars up and down the coast. They also give all proceeds from their annual car shows to Easter Seals and Compass Shriners and take Easter Seals kids for a ride in their antique cars to Bergs Ice Cream each year.
Cruisin’ 2019 is the next event put off by the Newfoundland Antique and Classic Car Club. Cars will be meeting at Bowring Park on Aug. 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Anyone interested in registering a car for Cruisin’ 2019 can fill out a registration form with a minimum $15 cash donation, $10 cash donation for pre-registration. You can find out more about the event on their website.
Over fries and root beer — members share their stories and adventures experienced in each relic.
Boyd and Debbie Constantine, Mount Pearl
1969 Dodge Dart Convertible
“When we first got married, we had a ’69 Dart — but it was a two-door car. We sold it for $500. I remember somebody said to us, ‘why didn’t you keep it?’ Well, at the time when we got married
in 1972, we had to give $200 with it to get another $700 car. So, when this one became available, I said I wanted it so bad because we had that first when we were married. And the Dart was the first car that our son can remember riding in.”
“Most people paint their convertibles, they’re all red. I said no, I don’t want red, I wanted it the exact same colour as the one we had. So, the teal green that’s on her is the same colour of the one we had when we first got married.”
“We met at the A&W on Kenmount Road, too. When we were teenagers, we were the ones who started cruising at the dub (A&W.) We actually called it ‘the dub’ then, this was late ’60s, early ’70s.
“This heritage month — it’s amazing for the government to do that — to recognize the hobby because they do so much for Newfoundland, for the Shriners and the Easter Seals. A crowd of us went up one time to Atlantic Nationals in Moncton, and every single car got a trophy from Newfoundland.”
“The quality of the cars here is second to none. They can’t get over it. Because we don’t get much time to drive them and they’re stored all winter in heated garages. We’ve made an awful lot of friends through the cars. It’s amazing the people you meet.”
Harold Howlett, Petty Harbour
1972 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
“When I was 16, the first car I ever drove was an old 1970 Camaro and I paid $400 for it. I took that car back and forth as much as I could. Every time Cindy got in the car, it would suddenly break down. So, she learned to hate my car.”
“When I brought this new one home, she wasn’t too impressed with me. I told her the first night, we will go to the A&W. And if you don’t like the A&W with this car, I’ll sell the car. We’ve had the car ever since.”
“In 2004, I had a major life changing accident … while I was recuperating my wife took me out for a Sunday drive. Luckily, we went to the street that I grew up on. There was a gentleman in there who had his garage door opened and the car (1972 Chevy Camaro) was covered up with a blanket. When we drove by, the blanket suddenly blew up across one of the fenders, and I saw what kind of car it was. I said to Cindy, I am having that car and this was on Sunday. The following Tuesday I had the pink slip for that car.”
“It brings back all the memories from when we had the kids and they were with us too. Now, they’re too big to fit in the car. The value of the car is priceless.”
“When I was a kid and I used to go to the Village Mall when they used to have the old antique cars out there all the time. I always looked at the cars and I asked a man one day, would you let me in the car to get my picture? … Nobody would let you in the cars. My whole thing is when we go to the car shows, like when we went to Hickman Motors this weekend, I must have had about 40 kids in the car taking their pictures. They just love it — to see the looks on their faces, it’s just priceless.”
John Burke, Paradise
1956 Ford Meteor Rideau Town Sedan
“It was originally my dads’ car and it’s an original Newfoundland car. I’ve had it now since 2000, when he passed away. It’s been in the garage since 2009. I just took it out because my
daughter wanted it for her graduation, so I restored it during the past six months. I did all the work myself on it.”
“Back in the 1970s, the car came from Grand Falls but it was originally bought in Botwood. Bob Ford had it for a number of years and it just passed down through hands … after Bill Aiken had it, then we got it after. It’s been around a long time. Its number is 022 on the antique registry so it’s a low numbers car for an antique.”
“Everybody in St. John’s knows the car because it’s been here such a long time. I’ve had a number of people come up to me — the guys who restore cars, they will say they are glad to see the car back on the road and it’s out with somebody enjoying it.”
“The value of the car dollar wise, I don’t know, to me it’s priceless. It’s memorabilia and what I have left of my dad. It won’t go anywhere, it will be my daughter’s car.”
Jackie Vanderluit, St. John’s
1934 Ford Model A Speedster
“My father built it maybe 22 years ago. He first restored a 1930 Ford Model A two-door and he had extra parts. He built this car after that one was done from the extra parts. So, that car is all different parts from a swap meet. Different wheels of different cars, it’s all 1930, but he put it all together and built it from scratch. So, he built it from a bare frame.”
“If you google “The Great Race,” there’s a car like that in it and they go right across North America. My dad saw that on TV and wanted to build one.”
“I have never seen more heads turn in my life than with that car. Everybody looks at it, young kids to people who are 80. I’ve driven down the street and people who are going the other way turn around and follow me home to get a look at it. I go out for a drive and next thing I know it’s been posted on Facebook.”
“You drive in that car and there’s no automatic steering. When I get back in my everyday car, you’ve got more cushion, a radio, a hood over top of you. It makes you appreciate how much it has progressed but then it’s fun to see the older cars on the road and take them out to enjoy. The early model T (Speedster) is even more primitive and has the lanterns on it. It’s closer to the you know horse and buggy stage. The newer cars are not as exciting as the cars from the earlier days.”
Carl Hamlyn, St. John’s
1961 Ford Monarch
“My car is the 1961 Monarch Canadian model. It was the last year of production and they only made 750 of those cars. I purchased it in 2001 from a guy in the Canadian Army who was
moving and couldn’t take the car with him. I would venture to guess, that where they only made 750 of this car, you would have a job to find probably any more than a dozen of them today.”
“It needed to be restored so I brought it home and it took me two years to restore. In 2003, I took it to the Atlantic Nationals in Moncton where I got a Top 25 award with the car on its first time out.”
“It’s a different colour combination, It’s yellow and black. Ford Motor company archives told me there was less than 12 made in that colour. The reason I bought this particular car is because it’s hard to find good Canadian cars. Monarchs were built in Canada in Oakville from 1946 to 1961— that was the last year, so it being a last year of production and a low production number — that’s what interested me in that car.”
“I don’t know what drives my passion for cars, but I’ve been a car buff since I was about five years old. I saw a brochure of a 1956 Ford in a showroom at a local dealer here and I’ve been hooked on cars ever since.”
“I got a three-year-old grandson and he loves his cars too. We are building a ’59 Ford Hot Rod truck right now and it’s going to be his.”
Mark Unsworth, Conception Bay South
1961 Volkswagen Double Cab Pick-up
“I got it four years ago this summer. When I bought it, buddy in Nova Scotia had it in his barn for 18 years. I just liked the look of it, it’s really fun to drive. It’s really uncomfortable, but it’s really fun. I got three kids so it’s perfect for in the back.”
“It’s just cool looking. Everyone gives you the peace symbol all the time and waves at you.”
“(The Volkswagen) was in the movie, “Maudie.”
“When I bought it, I spent three days in Nova Scotia, just driving around and then I spent four days driving home. I blew a fuel pump at the ferry, that’s where I met a fella in a Canadian Tire parking lot while I was working on it. Buddy pulled up and asked if everything was OK and I told him I blew a fuel pump. He said he might know a guy. I thought to myself, well the ferry isn’t for another eight hours, so sure. I jumped in with this strange guy and we drove around all North Sydney looking for this one fella. Six hours of driving around and we finally found the guy with the fuel pump. But we went to his buddy’s house and they all had hot rods and old trucks, it was really fun.
“I’ll probably get buried in it.”