Sand crunches under my boots as I am surrounded by half-hidden old cars covered in white dust. To my left and right are old mirrors, hubcaps, giant radios and torn seat cushions on gray shelves. The air is filled with the smell of petrol, old oil and fresh paint. I feel transported back to the era of Elvis, rock ‘n’ roll and the Oldsmobile. Not a hint of modern technology to be found here – no lane assistants, no embellished emissions values. The unadulterated sound of the 50s and 60s emanates from these vintage cars. That sound is still heard a lot in Canada.
The Canadian is the proud owner of more than 100 classic cars
For lovers of classic vehicles like Fords, Lincolns, Oldsmobiles or Plymouths, Summerland, British Columbia, Canada offers a true treasure trove. Garnet Nixdorf and his son Tim’s impressive collection of antique cars can be found in a hidden, former factory hall just off Main Street. Both are owners of more than 100 such historic vehicles, 80 of which are in the museum at Summerland. Nicksdorf Classic Cars are displayed. The rest of the vehicles are distributed worldwide. The collection includes a wide variety of models from 1936 to 1970 and can be viewed there.
“CW Value” only gained prominence in the 1980s
Behind a faded security film blocking access to another hall is a stripped-down red car. The engine is fully exposed and shines with partially painted components. The newly painted body is characterized by its rounded shapes and stands out from modern cars. It is undoubtedly a vintage car. At that time, engineers gave more value to aesthetic forms than to flow values when designing vehicles. The term “drag coefficient” or “CW value” became a central factor for automobile manufacturers in the 1980s.
“What’s Really Going On at Volkswagen?”
Rick Schertner works on a wooden workbench in front of the car. The 64-year-old Canadian from Penticton in the Okanagan Valley is tasked with restoring the vehicles to their original condition. With oily hands and dirty surfaces, he places each piece in its original place. Many of the cars here were in bad shape from accidents or scratches before they came to Rick’s attention.
Spare parts that are no longer available are either manufactured in-house or adapted from other models. Since Rick has been involved in repairing cars since childhood, he has the necessary skills. Knowing I’m from Germany, he naturally asks a question about the current car topic: “What’s really going on at Volkswagen?” And shakes his head in disbelief.
In his junior year, Rick drove a total of three VW Beetle. In his last Volkswagen, he swapped a 34 hp engine for a 150 hp engine from an American car and had to make some changes to the body and bonnet. “But the car was a lot of fun,” says Rick, his eyes lighting up as he talks about the old “Beetle.” All members of his family have driven a Volkswagen at some point.
Chevrolet needs the rig for eight months
A red 1960 Chevrolet, completely disassembled, is now being put back together piece by piece by the rig. The project is expected to take about eight months and could be his last vehicle. “I’m retiring in May,” explains the Canadian. “Then I have more time to drive cars instead of taking them apart or screwing them up.”
Until then, Rick can retreat to a workshop stock that looks like time stopped somewhere between the 1950s and 1960s. It includes a “Black and Decker 11/16 Super Service Calve Refacer,” a type of grinding machine from the early ’60s, as well as three music boxes of 25-cent pieces. Recordings listen to music played mechanically by a computer turntable. It also evokes a 60s feel. “Big Stars Shining in Summerland!”
Note on your behalf: This article was sponsored in part by tour operators, restaurants, hotels, airlines and/or travel agencies. We place great emphasis on independent and unbiased reporting, so the opinions, impressions and experiences of the respective authors are their own.
“Communicator. Entrepreneur. Introvert. Passionate problem solver. Organizer. Social media ninja.”