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Seniors and Their Vintage Cars

Terry Shewchuk and Hanna Ritenburg
Seniors and Cars

 

Terry Shewchuk and I go back to the early 80s when our sons were in Cubs and we both became Cub leaders. Our escapades over the ensuing 40 years could fill a small book, but I will try and keep to the main topic of vintage cars. One of the first tasks that I asked Terry to undertake during our interview was to come up with the number of vehicles that he has owned in his lifetime. That number is 70—and counting! If every car had a story, this could end up being a very long article!

Terry was born on Nov. 22, 1948 in the small town of Bankend, Saskatchewan, with a population of about 80 souls at the time. His dad spent the war in the Merchant Marine and after it was over he came to Bankend where his parents and brothers had farms in the area. He ran the local grain elevator until it burned down and when his brother gave him three concrete block forms he began making enough blocks to build a combined Esso gas station, cafe, corner store and living quarters and this is where Terry grew up. Even though he was too young to get a driver’s licence, Terry’s first vehicle was a ‘48 Willys Jeep which was kept on his uncle’s farm where it remains to this day. His next conveyance was a ‘65 65cc Honda motorcycle which he used to travel about 20 miles across the fields every day to his high school in nearby Wishart. And, guess what, he still has that motorcycle too, which is currently undergoing restoration as his COVID 19 winter project. When Terry moved on to grade 10, the nearest high school was in Foam Lake and his dad bought him a ‘54 Ford which his friends used to carpool them every day as Terry was still too young to legally drive.

After graduating from high school in 1966, Terry wanted to be a pilot and tried to enlist in the Air Force but was rejected because of poor hearing caused by too much tractor-driving and bird shooting. He then joined the Army at Camp Borden in Ontario but after nine months of that he decided that the army was not for him so he came back home and began a job in the mail order department of Sears. Terry fell in love with a brand new ‘67 Dodge Charger in the showroom of the local Chrysler dealer and asked his dad if he would co-sign a loan for it. They took the Charger out for a test drive and Terry thought his dad was going to the bank to sign the loan, but instead he drove them all the way to the university in Moose Jaw where Terry’s dad told him he was going to enroll and that he wasn’t getting the Charger. Thus began three years in Electronics Engineering which led to Terry being hired by BCTel. He moved to Vancouver on June 30, 1970 to start his career there and married two months later.

In 1973 Terry transferred to Kamloops and in 1978 moved into a house on Dallas Drive where he still calls home today. The vintage car bug struck in the late 80s when he bought his first collector vehicle—a ‘40 Chevrolet 4 door sedan, with a ‘47 Chrysler following shortly after. He then constructed a large garage in his back yard to house and wrench on his old cars and his hobby has mushroomed ever since. Being a Mopar (Chrysler product) fan, this is the feature marque currently in his collection which consists of ‘67 and ’70 Dodge Chargers, a ‘70 Dodge Challenger convertible, and a ‘70 Plymouth Superbird. Other cars in the yard include a ‘29 Essex, ‘22 Chevrolet depot hack, ‘26 Star roadster and the bones of a ‘32 Ford sedan. Terry is an avid “Dukes of Hazard” collector and has restored the ‘70 Charger as a replica of the TV cars, right down to the Confederate flag on the roof and having a set of wheels specially cast to match those on the Dukes’ cars. He even has a Willys Jeep that is going to look just like Daisy’s when it is done!

Terry’s marriage broke up many years ago and he later partnered up with Dr. Hanna Ritenburg and they have been together now for 19 years. Hanna is too busy with her medical practice to be of much assistance with Terry’s cars, but is supportive of his hobby and she does enjoy dressing them up in vintage costumes and participating in the Easter Parades. Terry is a man of many pursuits and is a hunter, fisherman, fly-tyer, hockey player, skier, painter, gardener, gourmet cook and a very talented self-taught sculptor.

To digress, back when we were Cub leaders, we took the boys out for a weekend camp in the woods above Monte Lake. One of the weekend projects was to have the boys make their own woggles (the things that hold their neck scarves) and we gave them each a block of wood to carve with their jackknives. While we were sitting around the campfire that evening, Terry decided to make a woggle for himself and a couple of hours later he had carved a beautiful elephant’s head, which surprised even him as he didn’t know he could do that. This started him on his sculpting efforts and he has become quite well known for his beautiful works. Terry has also been very active in the community and has been involved with the United Way, Special Olympics, Telephone Employees Community Fund, the Infant Development Program and the Child Development Centre. Being from Saskatchewan, he is also an avid Roughriders fan and his man cave featuring his favourite team is a thing to behold.

“Trader Terry,” as we call him, prefers to trade items rather than buy them and most of his vintage cars were obtained in this manner. For example, he traded away a ‘71 Chevelle, ‘32 Ford, two Corvairs, a ’70 VW Beetle, ‘47 Chrysler and a ‘64 Rambler to obtain a fully restored ‘57 Chevrolet hardtop. Then he recently traded off the ’57 Chev, along with a ’68 Jaguar and a ‘74 VW Thing for the ‘70 Plymouth Superbird. It’s always an exciting event to visit with Terry as his collection is always changing and you just never know what you are going to see when the garage doors go up.

Wishing all Connector readers a much Happier New Year than 2020 has been.