By Art Martens
It seemed the two unkempt 1967 Volkswagens had always been on our neighbour’s yard, parked one behind the other. Discarded relics from a time when they had enjoyed respect for their simplicity of technology and innovative body design, here in Hedley they had escaped the ignominious fate of most vehicles from their era. The front Beetle was undeniably red, but the second had faded over the many years and it may once have been a pale blue. Not that the colours mattered now. Tom, the earlier owner had imported them to his yard and then seemed to have lost interest After he passed on, I thought they would remain there until they rusted into oblivion or were towed away for scrap.
Then Tim arrived from Ladner and learned they were for sale. “I’ve travelled through this valley many times,” he told me. “I’ve had my eye on these cars for almost 20 years.” According to Christine and Doug, who now own the property and come for occasional weekends, the VW’s have sat idle on the lot for 25 years. Tim didn’t hesitate to buy them. Evidently it’s a case of what one person deems to be junk, another considers a treasure.
On the day the two “treasures” were to be moved, Tim turned up with a 24 foot UHaul. His intention was to load the vehicles into the van, a plan that likely would have caused him immense grief if he’d had to do it on his own. Fortunately, a half dozen sturdy, pragmatic Hedley men saw an opportunity to pit their brains and brawn against what would prove to be an almost intractable challenge. An appreciative audience of local citizens quickly assembled, sensing this would test the mettle of their men.
The pale blue car would particularly tax their wits and ingenuity. Attempting to push it, they discovered that the wheels on one side had rusted firmly in place and refused to turn. Tim and the Home Team were able to manhandle the Beetle to the rear of the van. They then used the hydraulic tailgate on a locally owned 3 ton truck to hoist the back end of the car. With great collective confidence and undoubtedly a generous measure of hutzpah, they then attempted to manually lift the front end of the VW, intending to slide it up a ramp and into the van. Plenty of heaving, straining and grunting could not induce the cranky little car to budge, however.
For the most part, these are men in retirement and they wisely decided there must be a method less hazardous to their health. They were a gungho lot but they didn’t intend to sacrifice their backs to this venture. They paused to consult among themselves. Coming from various employment backgrounds, each man brought a different understanding of potentially successful strategies. Ideas were also offered by onlookers, but these were studiously ignored. They already had enough radical suggestions from within their own ranks. Amazingly, neither their energy or their will faltered. They had come upon a challenge that fascinated them and they were confident that by working together they would get the job done.
Using a hydraulic jack, they were able to slip a sturdy dolly under the front of the car. With the wheels of the dolly on the ramp, the 3 ton truck began to back up, pushing the VW partially into the opening of the U-Haul. Then, puffing and shoving, the men coerced the car completely into the box of the truck. The audience clapped and cheered.
The red VW proved less obstinate. Not having a motor, it was lighter, plus all wheels turned. It was now at least 2 hours since the beginning of the show, but the audience had remained. There were more cheers for the hard breathing men.
When I asked Tim about the cost of this project and what his plans were for the Volkswagens, he said, “By the time I get them to Ladner, I’ll have invested about $5000. I plan to restore them. That’s what I do. It’s my business. I’ll drive them but they will be for sale. When the work is done, I’ll drive one of them here.”
It was a tremendous team effort, with some high drama. Tim, obviously pleased, provided beer and pizza for his dedicated crew. A victory speech by him would have been in order.
Source:: Living Significantly