The Old Car Detective

His 1940 Chevy plowed through the mud!

A hilarious story comes our way from Ted Okkerse, Publisher of the Pipestone Flyer  in Wetaskiwin, Alberta:  
    “In 1961, at age 17, I bought a 1940 Chevy 4-door sedan for $40.00.  When Dad and I got it home we parked it behind the garage, where I worked on it as time and money permitted (I was making 64 cents an hour).  I loved that old car and spent many weekends sitting in it and listening to music on the radio.
    “One day before turning 18, I got my license and left Edmonton in the old girl for Prince George, B.C., 650 miles away, to find work.  My father had decided to make the same trip in his 1957 Oldsmobile Super 88 2-door coupe as I had a brother living at a lumber camp about 40 miles north of Prince George.  I think Dad was just keeping an eye on me.
    “Third gear went out of my car less than 50 miles outside Edmonton.  I had forgotten to check the oil in the tranny.  As I looked for a place to turn around, I noticed a green car parked up ahead.  It was my dad!  He had stopped to help someone who had gone into a ditch.  
    “When I explained my situation to Dad, he just laughed and said: ‘No problem.  We’ll  buy a rope and I’ll tow you to Prince George.’  (Note: these days that would be illegal).  The ride was hair-raising, especially when we got up to 60 miles an hour on gravel roads.   Somehow we arrived in one piece and my brother was there to greet us as it was spring break-up and, according to him, only his 1956 Pontiac wagon could make it through the huge mud holes between the highway and the camp 4 km into the bush.
    “All three of us jumped into the Pontiac and we proceeded into the first mud hole, where the heavy car sank up to the floorboards.  We then slogged through the mud to Dad’s Olds, which sank even deeper than the Pontiac.  The three of us then eyed the Chevy with its amazing ground clearance.  
    “We jumped in.  My brother hit the starter (located on the floor), the little six roared to life and with only first and second left in the gearbox, the old lady plowed through all the mud holes and rolled proudly into camp 4 km down the road, earning the respect of us three and all who witnessed our arrival in camp that day.
    “I eventually sold the car, but my first old Chevy still holds a lot of fond memories.”                              
    I’m always looking for more stories.  Email billtsherk@sympatico.ca or write Bill Sherk, 25 John St., P.O. Box 255, Leamington, Ont. N8H 3W2.  Everyone whose story is published in this column will receive a free autographed copy of my latest book:  “OLD CAR DETECTIVE FAVOURITE STORIES, 1925 to 1965.”
PHOTO:  1940 Chevrolet similar to the one purchased by Ted Okkerse over 50 years ago

 

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