John Halvorsen remembers nearly 60 years ago when a group of car-crazy teenagers met in the parking Jot of a Langley supermarket to form a hot rod club. It would be called the Langley Loafers – and today it is one of Canada’s longest-running community hot rod and custom car
“We picked a president and officers and did a design for the original aluminum plaque in the parking lot of the SuperValu,” Halvorsen says of that spring day. “Members had to have at least
three modifications to their cars such as bigger engines, lowered bodies and custom touches.”
Halvorse n’s ride back then was a 1948 Chevrolet hoppedup with a later model Chevrolet
V-8 engine. The 72-year-old is still a proud Langley Loafer and is currently putting the finishing
touches on a handcrafted custom wood-bodied 1937 Chevrolet that he has been working on for 15 years.
“A lot of our friendships go back to childhood and we stay in touch through the club,” he says. We keep it informal and try to keep club politics out of it.” Back in the day, the first meetings
were informal get-togethers held in parking Jots, a snack bar, the local bowling alley, someone’s
driveway and even an old abandoned chicken house. A large two-bay garage on 208th Street was later rented for meetings and wrenching members’ rides. Within a few years, the club boosted its presence by holding a barn raising on the Langley property owned by a members’ parents.
The small group scavenged building materials and provided the labour to create the ir own
clubhouse and workspace. The Loafers were dedicated to maintaining a favourable image
through safe and responsible conduct.
Members regularly attended community events including fall fairs and parades, and held fundraising car washes. This year marks 58 years of activity in the region, with the club continuing support for high school motorsports with scholarships for auto shop students in
five Langley-area high schools. The Loafers helped start the annual car show at D.W. Poppy
Secondary School which has raised funds for the school shop classes.
This summer marked the 27th annual Old Time Drags at Ashcroft run by the Langley Loafers.
The Old Time Drags at Mission Raceway has also been a Loafers’ event since 1992. In addition, the club sponsors high school drag races at both tracks. Charitable giving includes a
defibrillator donated to Langley Hospital along witl1 donations to the Cache Creek flood relief fund and the Legacy Water Search and Recovery Society. Past president and club historian
Jim Winter recalls being the kid around the comer from early club member Bob Davis who had a cool1940 Ford custom car with a Studebaker V -8 engine. “I would ride my bike past all these
custom cars parked at his house owned by his Loafer buddies,” Winter recalls. Two important milestones occurred shortly after he turned 16 in 1962: He was sponsored into the club by an original member Rod VonAuron; and he bought his first car- a 1932 Ford twodoor sedan with its original four cylinder engine. Over the next two years, he installed a 1950 Mercury V-8
engine souped-up with high compression heads, triple carburetors and dual exhausts.
“I was a kid with no money and I didn’t get it on the road properly. I sold it to another Loafer in
1965,” he says. But as fate would have it, the new owner took an out-of-town pipeline job after driving it for a year and then left it in the garage after taking it apart to install a Chevy V-8 engine. Winter bought it back in 1978 and put it together as he had originally wanted to do as a
“It’s a blast from the past and I feel very fortunate to have had the
opportunity to do the car the way I would have liked to and couldn’t
afford,” says Winter, who is a veteran classic car appraiser.
The Langley Loafers continue as a tight group of about 30 enthusiast
witth members who have moved as far away as Saskatoon but continue to participate in
The club will receive special recognition at tomorrow’s Greater Vancouver Motorsport Pioneers
Society induction ceremony at Shannon Hall – Cloverdale Fairgrounds.
The Loafers will display a historic 1934 Ford coupe hot rod owned by the late Rod VonAuron
inside the hall.
Alyn Edwards is a classic car enthusiast
and partner in Peak Communicators,
a Vancouver-based public relations
A buddy of mine refered me to the Langley Loafers . Can any of you guys tell me where I can find a 429 thunder jet engine for my 69 t-8 Bird
Please go directly to the Langley Loafers website. Thanks