Bob Andersen has not been part of our local vintage car group for very long, but has been involved with automobiles for most of his life. He was born in Enderby in 1935 and spent his first four years in Grindrod. In 1939, he moved with his family to Kamloops where he attended Lloyd George Elementary School and Kamloops High School.
While attending Kam High he bought his first car, a 1928 Model A Ford, from one of his teachers for the princely sum of $150, earned by delivering newspapers. Bob painted it maroon and green, named it “Albert” and thought it was pretty special.
After high school, Bob moved to the Coast and enrolled in an auto body and painting course at Vancouver Vocational Institute. This course qualified him for a job at the Colliers Limited General Motors paint shop in Vancouver while playing baseball for the New Westminster Lucky Royals in his off hours.
During this time Bob owned a ‘39 Pontiac which he then traded for a ‘52 Ford Prefect sedan. Shortly after buying the Prefect he received a phone call from the Vancouver Police asking if he still owned the Pontiac as he was told it was involved in some criminal activity, not by Bob however!
The economical Prefect (37 miles per gallon) was used for trips back and forth to Kamloops to go hunting and fishing with his friends. After a few months at Colliers, Bob moved back to Kamloops, taking a job at Dick’s Automotive body shop as a painter.
Several years later he moved to the Syd Smith body shop, then to Dearborn Motors grease rack, Kam Collision and North Kamloops Custom Body Shop, all the while playing baseball for the Kamloops Okonots. In ‘57 he operated a BA service station on Battle Street and in ‘58 became the first Volvo dealer in Kamloops until selling it in 1960.
An invite to a party on Christmas Eve of 1960 proved to be life-changing event as this is where he met Carol Anderson. They were engaged the following February and married on October 1, 1960. After living in Valleyview for a spell, they built a house in Westsyde and moved in there for the next 20 years. Carol worked at the downtown Bank of Montreal and Bob became very active in the local community, becoming a volunteer firefighter, Thompson Nicola Regional District director, Westsyde Centennial Parks Board chairman, Westsyde Ratepayers Association chairman and organized the Westsyde minor baseball league.
Vehicles owned along the way were a ‘49 Ford coupe, ‘53 Chevrolet sedan, ‘60 Buick, several trucks and a ‘58 Ford school bus converted into a motor home. Their family had grown to include two sons and a daughter, 8 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. Bob became a full-time member of the Kamloops Fire Department, retiring as Captain after 17 years.
Around 1989, the Andersens moved to Cherry Creek where Bob constructed a huge shop which had everything needed for auto restoration including a paint booth and even a wheel alignment rack. Bob went looking for a ‘55 or ’56 Buick but heard about a ‘60 Cadillac Sedan DeVille in Summerland. It had not been used for years and the price was pretty reasonable—it was free! Bob ended up giving the owners $20 for it, brought it home and has been driving it ever since. At 100,000 miles, he overhauled the engine, had the transmission rebuilt by a friend and also gave it a paint job and it has been a regular entrant in our events over the years. Bob also collected a ‘31 Dodge and a ‘40 Chevrolet coupe that he restored and sold. Bob was ahead of his time as in 1995 he converted an ‘82 VW Rabbit from diesel to electric. It was powered by 20 golf cart batteries and Bob used it for his commute to work for several years.
Always on the lookout for a challenge and something different, Bob saw an ad in the local paper listing a ‘26 Jewett in Oliver that was for sale. He had never heard of a Jewett but had a friend check it out for him and after learning that it was rebuildable, it came home to Bob’s shop and the restoration process was begun.
The Jewett is a little-known marque, only produced from 1922 to 1926 by the Paige-Detroit Motor Car Company and named after its president, Henry M. Jewett. To date, Bob has rebuilt the engine and body, and given it a coat of paint.
The Andersens joined the Kamloops Chapter of the Vintage Car Club of Canada (VCCC) in 2005 and have enjoyed participating in our Easter Parades and (now defunct) swap meets. A common theme among our aging VCCC members is the need to downsize and after about 28 years at Cherry Creek, they have sold their property and most of the vintage cars and have moved into a cute little house on the North Shore, which, of course, includes a two-car garage. The Cadillac and the Jewett are now occupying this garage where Bob hopes to complete the restoration of the Jewett.
We wish the Andersens many more years of happy retirement in their new home and extend our congratulations on their upcoming 60th wedding anniversary in October.