Dated Oct. 21, 1980 (Revised)
HISTORY OF THE VINTAGE CAR CLUB OF CANADA
First – we start with the very beginnings before we were Chartered. This information comes to us by way of George and Doris Hoffman who are Founding Members and who are now members of the Antique Chapter
Of the original members I was the youngest at 22 when we attended the first meeting. In recent years and by the urging of yourself and others I decided I’d better try to record our history prior to the Vintage Car Magazine. The newsletter didn’t get started for several months after the Club was formed. After this the written record is fairly complete.
The following article covers the lead-up to and the first three months of our Club’s history. I will do a follow-up covering the rest of 1958.
We also need to write a history of the Vinettes. Doris was involved from near the beginning, however, we are both rather foggy on their history. We would be pleased to speak with anyone who has the time to write the Vinettes’ history. Please contact Doris or George at 604 882 1355.- or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Doris & George Hoffman
Now for the Story:
The first interest in old cars started in the late 1940’s when Rick Percy parked his 1923 Buick touring, which he used for a service truck, at various locations in downtown Vancouver. Through this vehicle he met several other enthusiasts who eventually got together to form a club.
This first attempt of old car enthusiasts to organize a club in B.C. was in 1950. A small group formed the Antique & Classic Car Club of Vancouver. This club slowly came to an end by 1953.
In March of 1958 the late Buck Rogers, who along with Rick Percy, Brian Crawford and others were involved in the earlier club ran an ad in the Vancouver Sun. The ad invited anyone interested in old cars to meet on Sunday afternoon, March 30, 1958. The meeting was held at 5064 Walden Street, Vancouver – Art Falawka’s home. Eleven men attended. Al Johnson and I saw the ad and traveled from New Westminster where we both lived to attend. We knew no one else at the gathering, however they all seemed to be a decent bunch of guys. Little did we know that many of us would become lifetime friends.
Recently I contacted all those involved in that first meeting to verify who was in attendance. I can now confirm the following list:
Members who have passed away but who were members for the rest of their lives were:
Surviving members to attend were:
Rick Percy – was president of previous club and has been a VCCC member for 47 years.
Paul Bolam – has been a continuous member for 47 years.
George Hoffman – has been a continuous member for 47 years.
George Croy – Dropped out to raise a family. The last 10 years has become active in Cowichan Valley Chapter and was founding President of that Chapter. Has been a member for about 20 years.
Art Falawka – Member for about 12 years then dropped out to raise a family.
Brian Crawford – Member for about 15 years then also dropped out to raise a family.
Bob McLean – Was a member for only about 5 years.
The ladies of the above men became involved in the VCCC after the first meeting.
The second meeting in mid April saw the first lady and child to appear at a meeting.
Roma Croy with Ian Croy attended. Ian was 8 months old and now at age 48 lives in Edmonton, AB. Roma and George are now very active in the Cowichan Chapter.
The second and third women to attend the third meeting then held at Rick Percy’s house at 2424 West 13th Ave., Vancouver were Doris (Cockle) Hoffman and Millie Johnson. Doris has been a wife member for 47 years. Millie having dropped out for several years is now a member again.
Rose Bolam attended after the first couple of meetings and is still an active member 47 years later.
Ruth Percy has been a wife member for 47 years.
The first garage tour was held after the first meeting where we visited Art Falawka’s garage. He was working on the 1930 Packard touring that he owned for many years.
At the second meeting of the new Club a name was chosen and a cheque for $125.00 received from Rick Percy. Rick was the president of the original, now defunct, Antique and Classic Car Club. He and the old Club’s Treasurer decided to give the residue of the assets to the new Club. Our first president was Rick Percy.
The new Club’s name was also chosen at the second meeting. It was to be the Veteran Car Club of Vancouver. When application was made to register the name in Victoria, it was rejected. The reason was the fact that the war was over only twelve years before and the name Veteran was reserved for the various war veteran’s organizations of the day. So at the fourth meeting a new name was chosen. After much discussion we all agreed on Vintage Car Club of Vancouver.
By this time we had several people from outside the lower mainland contacted us to join the new club. It was then decided to include all of B.C. So we then decided on VCC of B.C. Immediately after we all agreed to this, Don Ellwyn stood up and said, “Let’s think big and take in all of Canada.” After some futher discussion we agreed why not. So about May of 1958 the name VCCC was registered. I believe the name was later also registered in Ottawa as a national club.
The forming of the club was in response to a request from the B.C. Government to assist in organizing the 1958 – 24th of May Centennial Tour. The government had appointed Alan Appleby to organize 20 or so old cars to tour from Fernie to Victoria.
Mr. Appleby wanted an organized group to help put on the event. This single event gave enthusiasts an organization to belong to so the club was borne.
When the Fernie to Victoria Centennial Car Tour arrived in Vancouver, the club organized the first vintage car show. The venue was the new B.C. Building at the P.N.E. 40 cars were shown and the public attendance was reasonably good. We didn’t make much money, however it was a fun event. We were pleased that our very first attempt at a car show went so well.
At the windup banquet of the 1958 Centennial Tour in Victoria it was agreed that the tour had been a lot of fun. It was also agree that we should continue this tour as an annual club event on the same weekend, the 24th of May each year. Thus the annual VCCC May Tour was started.
One of the first organized events the Club entered was the Vancouver Easter Parade of 1958. If my memory serves me correctly, there were approximately a dozen cars in this event
Now Some Further History Notes
It all started in Vancouver B.C. Canada in 1957 with a fellow by the name of Buck Rogers who placed an ad in the Vancouver Sun for anyone interested in’ forming an old car club’. He did this in response to a request by the Provincial Government to organize an old car tour of British Columbia as part of the upcoming B.C. Centennial celebrations scheduled to take place in 1958 15 people responded by showing up to the first meeting on the front lawn of Art Fulawkas parents on Feb. 12, 1958, all of them with one common interest – old cars. And so this was the beginning of our club.
The Centennial Tour went ahead as hoped, with 38 cars taking part in an 840 mile run from Fernie B.C. to Victoria B.C. The oldest car to make the entire run was a 1907 Cadillac owned by Quinton McAdam, and the only one of the participating cars that did not complete the run was a 1923 Brooks Steamer. The tour was followed by a car show at the Pacific National Exhibition grounds in Vancouver where 42 cars were put on display by this new car club as its final contribution to the Centennial events.
The first name decided upon for this new club was ‘The Vintage Auto Registry of British Columbia; which was destined for a very short life as the B.C. Government rejected this name. Later on in 1958 another attempt was made, this time to register a new name ‘Veteran Car Club of Canada’, but this name as well was rejected by the government of the day- The 15 club members pondered for awhile and finally someone proposed the name ‘The Vintage Car Club of Vancouver’ – Another suggested ‘The Vintage Car Club of BC’ and finally, another club member suggested they should think big and go for all of Canada, and so we were finally named and thereafter known as we are today – – ‘The Vintage Car Club of Canada’.
The first elected President was Rick Percy who served for two years, and who is still an active member today! With very little experience in deciding what would be appropriate for a constitution, it was decided to adopt constitution and by-laws the one used by the Horseless Carriage Club of Seattle / Tacoma, in Washington State.
The second chapter to get organized was Victoria on June 28, 1960 with the first meeting held at Bob Cameron’s home. Bob remains active in the club to this day.
Our first May Tour took place in Victoria in 1961, and since then we have carried on with the tradition of our National May Tours, which take place on the May long weekend every year at various locations within the Province.
Victoria chapter was followed in 1967 by Okanagan Chapter in Kelowna B.C. and this expansion was followed soon by new chapters in Prince George, Central Fraser Valley, Columbia, Golden Ears, Kootenay Lakes, Mile ‘0’, North Island, North Okanagan, South Okanagan, Powell River, Quesnel, Revelstoke, Rocky Mountain, Shuswap, and the Cowichan Valley. The Antique Chapter and the Collectable Chrysler Chapter are non-geographic and the most recently formed chapter is in Merritt. These are not necessarily presented in the date order of their formation into Chapters.
We have grown from a single Vancouver chapter of 15 people to our strong presence today. We now boast 24 chapters with 1200 members, and a likely estimate of between 2500 and 3000 cars. We are a “make & model gender free” club in that unlike many car clubs of today, we welcome any and all vehicles so long as they meet the minimum age requirement of 25 years.
In 1958 our original club made an effort to have the government supply ‘Vintage ‘license plates, but this did not happen until 1969. In recent years this special licensing has been expanded to include the ‘Collector’ plate which still recognizes our old car status but provides for more liberal driving usage.
Our main reason for existence is to share with as many other ‘old car enthusiasts’ as possible the joy of preserving and enjoying our precious historic vehicles. In doing this we are growing as a united voice to have a say in what our provincial and federal politicians propose by way of legislation aimed at removing all old vehicles from the highways & byways of Canada.