By Dick Parkes
Kamloops Chapter, Vintage Car Club of Canada
As the majority of the members of the Kamloops Chapter of the Vintage Car Club of Canada are seniors, it is hoped that the readers of The Connector will relate to our members and their automotive history. This will be the first in a series of articles highlighting individual members with their vintage cars and this month we start off with long-time member, Ron Buck.
Ron was born in Penticton in 1930 and at eighteen years of age he began his automotive apprenticeship at the local Ford garage. Four years later he received his mechanics certificate but was experiencing health issues and his doctor advised him to leave the Ford dealership as they didn’t have an exhaust system in the shop and the fumes were affecting him. He relocated to Parker Industrial Equipment, the Ferguson Tractor and Dodge dealership, and worked there for three years.
His next position was with the machine shop of MacKenzie, White and Dunsmuir who moved him to their Kamloops operation one year later. This business, located on Lansdowne Street, eventually changed its name to Taylor, Pearson and Carson and Ron worked there for 21 years, mainly rebuilding engines. His next and final job was as a millwright at the Lornex mine at Logan Lake, now known as Highland Valley Copper.
Ron got into cars at an early age and his first vehicle was a 1928 Ford Model A roadster. Over the years Ron suggests he has probably owned as many as a dozen Model A Fords which he would buy and repair and then sell. His second operating car was a 1935 Ford 5-window coupe which was eventually replaced by a 1938 Ford 5-passenger coupe.
Ron joined the Vintage Car Club in 1976 and I remember looking at our membership list and wondering who this person was.
Our Club had recently been given a 1945 Ford wrecker by Endean Motors and it needed the braking system rebuilt so we put out a call to our members asking for someone to take on that job. Next thing we knew, the job was completed by Ron Buck and right then and there, I knew we had a good member there. Ron recounted that he attended a couple of our meetings and decided that the Club wasn’t for him and told his wife Chick that he was going to drop out. When she asked why, he said that he didn’t feel right going by himself. Chick thought that she wouldn’t be welcome because it was a men’s club but when Ron said that no, it was a family club, she jumped right in and was a very active member up until her passing a few years ago. Chick even became our Chapter’s first female President.
When Ron joined our Club he didn’t really have a vintage car, but in ‘78 he heard about a ‘41 Dodge sedan in the Lower Nicola area and he bought it for $300 thinking that his son John might be interested in it. He wasn’t, so Ron began the restoration process and in ‘81 it was back on the road. It’s hard to believe that Ron and his family have put 72,000 trouble-free miles on this car attending Vintage Car Club events, including two cross-Canada tours in 2000 and 2010. In 1982, Ron found a 1928 Model A Ford roadster in Lumby which was similar to his first car. He purchased this car and worked on it over the years. Last year, 35 years later, this car was finally completed by Ron and his son and it is an absolute gem. They have now taken on the completion of a 1955 Dodge Custom Royal sedan which was originally purchased new by Frank Nabata who operated Nabata Motors in Valleyview for many years with his brothers. This car will probably be finished later this year.
Ron has been the backbone of our local Club for over 40 years and in 1978 we elected to host the May Tour, the annual convention of the Vintage Car Club of Canada. In order to help cover costs we obtained a derelict 1930 Model A Ford coupe and decided to restore it and raffle it off during the event. Ron took on this project, doing most of the work himself, which resulted in a beautiful car that was won by a local family and is still here. Eight years later, it was our turn to host the May Tour again and we found another Model A and once again Ron spearheaded the project. A few years ago it was time to restore that 1945 Ford wrecker that we were given back in the ‘70s andof course, Ron took it on.
Being an engine expert, he came up with the idea of hosting an engine clinic and individual members brought their worn-out engines to his shop and he supervised us as we dismantled them, fitted new parts as required and put them all back together again. This was done on two separate occasions which resulted in a lot of vintage cars getting back on the road and some of his knowledge passed on to the participants.
As Ron rolls on towards his 88th birthday, he is still an active member, always willing to help out the rest of us.
Our first major event of the season is our annual Easter Parade which takes place this year on April 1st. The event starts off at 9 a.m. with our pancake breakfast at The Dunes at Kamloops golf course in Westsyde where the cars will begin lining up and the parade will leave from there at 1 p.m. After driving our normal route through the North and South Shores, the parade will end up at Riverside Park at about 2 p.m. where the cars will remain on display for another hour. Each year we pick a feature marque to lead the parade and this year it will be Dodge vintage vehicles. Appropriately, it will be Ron Buck, driving up front in his venerable 1941 Dodge.