Classic cars, summer and friends a good combo for this Coquitlam couple
Some people have to have the latest model car or the newest smartphone: not so Vic Bourne and Brenda Flynn.
This Coquitlam prefers the craftsmanship and detail of yesteryear — and it turns out they may be on to something.
For the last several years Bourne and Flynn have been collecting classic cars, and their house is a museum of old clocks, photographs and furniture.
Instead of a smart phone they have a candlestick model — the kind with a horn you hold to your ear — and for music, a player piano pumps out tunes instead of an iPod touch.
"It's a stair master to music," jokes Flynn, a retired nurse.
But it turns out the simple life they've chosen with things some people would discard brings them a lot of happiness. They say they've made more friends in a week on the road in their classic cars then some people have in a lifetime and, by slowing down and enjoying their time with each other, instead of in front of a TV or a computer screen, the two say they are checking off everything on their "bucket list."
Bourne says he loves "mechanical stuff of every kind" and has no concerns about taking the hood off one of his Model Ts or the couple's 1940 Packard to put in a new a crank shaft or replace a solenoid. Parts are relatively easy to get from his network of car buffs and his garage, which takes up most of his shaded yard, gives him plenty of room to work.
He got the bug for car repair about 60 years ago when as a young teen he and his brothers repaired a 1937 Ford that had been abandoned by their neighbor. "We had it running in a week," Bourne recalled, "I wasn't even licensed to drive."
Today's cars with their computers and other technology he wouldn't even touch and one of the benefits of owning a classic car, Bourne says, is that you can fix it yourself.
A case in point is the 1915 Model T the couple drives on short-hauls (they typically transport it by trailer to the event they are attending and then drive it). It's been repaired many times and duct tape under the window stops water from leaking into the ignition.
It looks like a bit of a jalopy, with a large tire iron on the side as a bit of a joke, and has to be hand cranked, or occasionally pushed. But it runs well, most of the time, and Flynn says she doesn't mind that the car looks a bit beat up because that's the way cars were in the old days when they were in heavy use.
"It draws attention. This way we meet people," Flynn said.
Nor do they worry too much about the odd bump and scratch as they roar down rural roads at a top speed of about 30 mph. For long drives, they enjoy the 1940 Packard, which is plush with new upholstery, and although heavy and a bit of a gas guzzler, cruises nicely up to 70 mph on the highway.
Flynn said she got the idea of joining the Vintage Car Club of Canada, where Vic is newsletter editor, from reading a Beautiful British Columbia Magazine years ago. A photo in the magazine depicted people wearing vintage costumes and driving classic cars on the Malahat Highway.
"'Oh, my gosh,' I thought, 'would I love to do that,'" Flynn said.
Sure, there are days when they spend more time on the side of a road than on it to fix a problem or wait for a tow. But there is always someone willing to help out or at least ask a question or two and soon a stranger becomes a friend.
Says Bourne, it's a no-brainer that people are drawn to classic vehicles that are familiar yet remind us of an earlier time in our history.
"People like babies, animals and old cars."
• Vic Bourne and Brenda Flynn will be out and about all summer at car meets and special events. One they plan to attend is the Crescent Beach Concours D'Elegance on Saturday, Aug. 30, from 10 am.to 3 p.m. at Blackie Split Park at Crescent Beach in South Surrey.