Owned by John from Oakville, ON
In 1972, I was returning to Ontario, following an 18 month adventure travelling all of Canada and the U.S. alone, on my 1970 Motto Guzzi motorcycle. While heading home, and riding through Rockwood, Ontario, I spotted an old car in a driveway near a farmer’s field. I stopped to look at the car, and noticed an older couple arguing on their veranda, so I quickly asked them if the car was for sale. The husband yelled back it was not, but the wife yelled back that it was, and that she had the ownership. She said I could have the car for $50.00. I returned one hour later with the cash, and the following day, my father, a military war hero, helped me tow the car home with his Massey Ferguson tractor. On the way home we attempted to start the car, and were excited when the flathead 4 responded. For the next 40 years, that car, a 1930 Whippet and I, waited patiently, knowing that someday the dream of restoring her would come true. My real dream was to build a wooden car.
That day occurred in 2009, when “Mrs. Whippet” and I began a 6 year journey together, working day and night. The decision to keep her stock or to modify her was a difficult one. For safety reasons, I decided to update, starting with the suspension and driveline. Utilizing my 1987 Astro, I began the transfer that would provide Mrs. Whippet with a stronger heart. I made all of the new parts myself, and with the body off frame, and hanging from the rafters of my garage ceiling, the boxing of the frame began, complete with driveline installation and new front suspension. In 2013, with body back on frame, Mrs. Whippet now had everything she needed to meet today’s standards. The anticipated moment arrived when the key was turned for the first time in 40 years. When I heard that deep, steady rumble, I knew it was a sound that would remain with me for the rest of my life.
I’m pretty shy by nature, but friends finally convinced me to take Mrs. Whippet to her first classic car show at a local mall. I was overwhelmed and humbled by the attention we received. People seemed to really appreciate the uniqueness of a hand built car, especially when they realized that some of the “specialized parts” included a friend’s wooden cutting board, an antique cake cutter, strips of leather from an old welding jacket, and an old wooden toboggan. In fact, the majority of parts and materials used for Mrs. Whippet where things that I had collected over the years, or items that had been given to me by friends, and for that, I am very grateful. When I look at Mrs. Whippet, I’m reminded of these special people, especially those who are no longer with us.
Most of the hard labour has now been done, and it’s time to enjoy. The greatest thrill for me continues to be a quiet ride in the country on a warm summer day, with my wife beside me on the front seat, and a picnic basket, and my saxophone on the back seat.
Barton, Oakville, ON