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BC Bolters slip back in time!

By Trev
Bolter #13963
Surrey, B.C. Canada

34 cents for a gallon (Imp) of gas? Sure!!

       The BC Bolters met again in January (we've been meeting monthly since February 2007). Despite snow warnings and unseasonably cold temperatures, about 30 of us decided to brave the elements and venture forth to Abbotsford.

       We arrived at our meeting place, Shady Grove, around 10:30 a.m. We were greeted almost immediately upon pulling into the driveway by an authentic vintage gas station [ image ] , vintage general store and an amazing car museum. As far as the eye could see, there were period correct vintage signs on all the structures on the property. Here is the gas pump - 34 cents a gallon (gotta LOVE those prices!). Little touches, right down to two empty rocking chairs on the front porch of the "General Store." It really gave you the impression that you had slipped backwards to another place and time.

       Here's a great shot of Mike Davy's 1958 Chevy Apache 3200 1/2-Ton Longbox, posing at the old garage.

       We toured the car museum, a huge two level structure first. We were very impressed to find it full of great old cars, mainly from the 1960's. The walls of the lower level were lined with vintage Coca Cola machines and coolers of every size. It also had some of the nicest jukeboxes seen in recent memory.

       The newest vehicle in this area was the "Mystery Machine" from the movie "Scooby Doo," a tricked out GMC Van that instead of an engine under the hood had a small seat and steering wheel hidden away. In the movie, the Mystery Machine had been driven from under the hood by a stunt driver while "Scooby" was put behind the wheel on film. Pretty amazing.

       We ventured forth to the upper level of the museum which overlooked the great, old metal down below [ pix ]. That took us a step even further back in time. Mannequins, with period correct clothing, were posed throughout the area. They kept a silent vigil, watching over a nice collection of more vintage Coke memorabilia, antique toys, trains, furniture [ here's an old television ] and nick knacks of all kinds. These items were not in showcases as you might think [ old newspaper ]. They were laying out where they could be seen and touched. Everything was nicely displayed for all to see and enjoy. It felt much more like walking around an old friend's or your Grandparent's old house than it did being on a tour. You were free to go where you wanted, see what you wanted and do what you wanted. Nobody was trying to hustle you along or keep you on pace with the rest of their group.

       The BC Bolters had taken over the building and were roaming over every inch of it! We had several new BC Bolters at this meet so it was no surprise that one gentleman we hadn't seen before seemed to blend in, talking to many of us. He had a little white dog in his arms. We spoke with him for over five minutes while patting his dog, thinking he was some new 'Bolter. Then we learned that he was Abe Suderman who owns this establishment (with his wife Elaine). Abe was a very gracious host and offered to open "the garage" where we had earlier seen a beautiful bright yellow Willys in the front window.

       Most of us had no idea what we would see when he pulled open the doors. Inside he has what is possibly the largest collection of vintage Willys cars and trucks in Canada. In fact, his accomplishments were very well documented in several old period publications left laying on the "parts counter."

       We were led further into the shop to see an astounding collection of old Willys metal, all gleaming under the shop lights. It was packed with old Willys cars and trucks and the walls of the parts area were lined with a vast collection of every part imaginable for these great old vehicles.

       In the garage with all the Willys cars, there was also a period correct 1950's diner called "Sweetie's Diner." There were two booths in it just like a malt shop with a counter, stools, everything needed to make malts and serve sodas and ice creams. [ pix ] There were lots of Coca Cola signs on the walls. There even were menus and signs reflecting the prices back in the 50's.

       Further on, suddenly the shiny finished look of the vehicles we had seen were gone and were replaced with rusty and primered vehicles and an atmosphere right out of Halloween. The floors beneath the old cars were no longer cement but instead dried leaves. Cobwebs stretched from trees to each rusty old car and on to the next tree. We learned that this was Abe's "unfinished project car area."

       A room to the side proved to be even more interesting. It was a classroom right out of the early 1900's [ pix ] . Every detail was correct right down to the vintage blackboard at the front with "Teecher" written on it. There was a mannequin "Schoolmarm" and students there in the old schoolhouse, as if frozen in time a century ago. The wooden desks still awaiting the rest of the students.

       Off to the other side of the garage, we found a "Printing" room with vintage printing presses of every kind. Outside of that, there was an antique player piano. A couple of us tickled the ivories, much to the delight of Elaine Suderman.

       With the weather getting noticeably cooler and time getting short, Elaine allowed us to tour the "General Store" where, again, you felt like you had stumbled back in time 100 years. Gleaming showcases were filled with homemade bread and buns, a large wheel of orange cheese sat on display. A wedge that had been cut from it was sitting on an antique scale next to the ancient cash register. There were all kinds of vintage items in the showcases, as they would have been at the beginning of the 20th century. Each item priced on handwritten price cards, with accurate prices that Elaine had established after searching for these items in old magazines. Talk about amazing attention to detail! Old store signs from the era covered the walls, reminding us that 100 years ago eggs and butter were once 10 and 14 cents!

       Too soon, our visit was over with the exception of a BC Bolters group photo which is a tradition at every meet. This time we were able to use the backdrop of the old gas station with OldBlue58's truck.

       The last leg of our meet was Lou's Grille. So with one eye on the skies fearing the snowfall we had been promised, we convoyed to that location. We had a wonderful meal, handed out numbers and did prize draws. This is another tradition with the BC Bolters. We all take turns donating prizes to be given away. This time we also had some goodies sent to us by Stovebolt HQ which were very well received and appreciated.

       With huge flakes of snow now falling and accumulating fast [ pix ] , everyone wanted to head for home to beat the weather. So the only thing left to do was to pass the hat (the third BC Bolters tradition!) and collect some money to donate to the Stovebolt site. We did, and that donation was made that same evening (once we got home and had a chance to thaw out).

       All in all, a great day, a wonderful venue. The largest turnout we have had at a BC Bolters meet to date. A awesome chance to spend time with a great bunch of guys, both the old faces we're use to and some new ones as well!


More pictures from the day

       If you enjoyed the story and some of the pictures we included, you really should check out the photos some of the gang took, and have them on photo hosting sites. They are amazing! This place is amazing. Try using the "view as a slideshow" .. it'll blow your socks off. So, very cool.

       And here some "after action discussion" from the Events forum! Feel free to comment there. And if you're nearby, you ought to join 'em next time! As Trev said, many thanks for the contribution to the site. You all are a great bunch. Can't wait to meet up with you guys! ~ Editor



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