A Story From the Fifties!!!

-By Dave Wilson

In 1957, two years after I graduated from North Vancouver High, I was 19 years old. I had a good job as a carpenter apprentice, worked overtime and owned a 1953 chopped, lowered and hopped up Oldsmobile 98 street rod, a 650 cc BSA Road Rocket Motorcycle and a 16 ft outboard waterski boat which I moored at Bay’s Boats in Horseshoe Bay.

A new highway was built joining North Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay (Upper Levels) which had many long straight-aways often used as a drag strip by local street- rodders and bikers much to the annoyance of
the local police.

It was a beautiful, warm and sunny Spring day and I was working on my boat at home in North Van with the able assistance of an acquaintance’s girl-friend, preparing it to launch at Horseshoe Bay. I was looking forward to getting it into the water, especially since the lady in question wanted to come along! We hooked the boat and trailer on to the ’53 Olds and eagerly hit the highway. Unfortunately, her boy-friend was not too impressed with my plan and angrily followed me in his ’50 Ford Hot Rod. His intention was to get in front of me and pull me over. Obviously, I wouldn’t let him, and on one long straight-away, he pulled up beside me and we both floored it.

I completely forgot I was trailering the boat and we hit 90 mph side by side. At 100 mph I started to pull away, and at over 110 mph, I left him in the dust. Only then did it hit me that I was trailering the boat.Luckily, it was still there behind me and survived the ordeal.

When people would ask me how fast my boat would go, I could tell them without lying ” It has hit over 100 mph! As for the boyfriend in the Ford Hot Rod, he was so embarrassed at being beat by an Olds towing a boat, he never bothered me again.

It seems ironic that as I tell this story, legislation which incurs severe penalties,has been passed against street racing. In the 50’s there were fewer cars and a much lower population so the challenges of street racing were not as great. I am sure tragedies did occur. Young men still love racing fast cars and the technology has improved so much. Maybe it is time for more drag strips to be built.