The early days . . .
In 1950, a small group of rodder’s and customizer’s formed a club and called it the B C custom Car Assn. purposely avoiding the name ‘hot rod’ which was viewed by the public as a bunch of rag-tags. They got the club sanctioned,registered and sponsored by the Vancouver Police. The main thrust was to obtain a place to drag race legally and many locations were viewed from Vancouver to Chilliwack. In 2 years the membership exceeded 200 and permission was received to use a strip at the far side of Abbotsford Airport. Bi-monthly drags were run by the club and the new sport mushroomed spawning a car club or two in almost every town all over the province.
Enter the BCHRA . . .
Early BCHRA Activities . . . .
Other get-to-gether’s included dances, bowling parties, parades, car washes, and cruises to the tracks. Some of the popular places to meet and eat were ‘the Crat’, Harvey’s, Kings, White Spots and Churches Chicken in Vancouver, ‘the Tomahawk’
Speed and accessory shops opened up, another place to meet and talk cars. Some of them were Western Accessories,Cal-Van, Payless Auto, Kerrisdale Speed, Jack Williams Shop, Blackie Green’s Shop, Bud Child’s Engine’s Unlimited’ and Walkers.
1st BCHRA Car Show . . .
The BCHRA ’60s . . .
Many of these had club garages, were building club dragsters, helping each other with projects, hosting their own shows, were involved in community events, charity drives and the term ‘Hot Rod’ was becoming an elite group of conscientious young men. The sport was now in ‘high gear’ and the Calif., Ore., and Wa. influence was encouraging more and more BC’ers to venture south and challenge them at their shows, their tracks and the salt flats. The hardware we brought home attested to the abilities of several of our ranks and the successes were many and often. the new BCCCA track opened at Mission with lots of BCHRA members represented. Street racing died right down as ‘Bracket Racing’ was introduced and sponsors were eager to get recognition in the various classes.
The new Langley Speedway paved oval track was opened and locals Mel Keen, Bud Childs, Jim Marchant, Les Dyak and
The BCHRA ’70s and ’80s . . .
The BCHRA in the early ’90s . . .
The BCHRA 40th Anniversary Reunion . . .
The showcases on the mezzanine ringing the old BC relief map were chock full of ‘long-gone’ clubs memorabilia. There were old jackets, car plaques, membership cards, pins, crests, photos, newspaper clippings and on and on, what a show! Attendees were also the who’s who of the early years of the sport including some very now-prominent people who were responsible for the leadership, registration, programs, drag-strips, and motoramas. Some of these were Sgt. Rossiter of the Van. City Police, ‘Whistilin’ Bernie Smith, ex-BC Atty Gen., Chuck Robinson, longest running Pres. of BCCCA, Stu Braddick, owner of Payless Auto parts, Larry McBride, famed Digney Speedway and street racer, 4 ex BCHRA Pres. including Ron Latham, Ed Bressler, Bill Townsend and Doug Harder. The evening opened with a no-host bar, lots more old friends re-uniting for the 1st time in decades, then a sumptuous buffet dinner that never ran out of anything.
Following the meal, MC Doug Harder thanked all the committee and friends who helped make the evening happen and was himself thanked with an award fro all his hard work. The V.I.P’s were introduced and invited to ‘say a few words’,…this lasted til almost 11pm. Then a band thumped out ‘Golden Oldies’ for the next 2 hours but hardly anyone danced as the camaraderie continued to 2 am. It was a grand affair, enjoyed by hundreds and an event that will live in the memories of many old rodder’s to the end of their days.
BCHRA, the late ’90s . . .
BCHRA today . . ..