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Alvin Shier's Tales of Inspiration

My tale of inspiration - thanks for the opportunity to tell it.
In my case I can narrow what inspired me to indulge in a lifetime interest in specialty vehicles to two incidents from my early teens. The first occurred around 1961/62, in Calgary Alberta, Canada when my dad took us kids to the A&W on MacLeod Trail one evening. We were sitting in our 1956 Pontiac Laurentian two door post, eating hot-dogs and sipping away on our root-beers when a gorgeous black 1932 Ford five window coupe drove onto the lot. Two things that stick out in my mind about that car - the joy on the driver and his female passengers face, and most of all the open rumble seat, with blazing white rolls and pleats luminated by lights in each corner. We just stared - spellbound - something that has remained imprinted on my mind for over 50 years.

The second incident, and the one which sealed a lifetime interest in 1949 to 1954 Chevy's, arrived unexpectedly, as I waited for a transit bus on the corner of 4th and 8th Ave in downtown Calgary about 1964. While in high school I had a job washing dishes at an old folks home miles away from where I lived in Glamorgan. To get to the job each day I had to hop a bus from the school into the downtown core then transfer deep into south Calgary, where I transferred again to another bus just to get me within walking distance of my work. It was on a return trip home one night I found myself standing on the aforementioned street corner in downtown Calgary waiting for the 26th Ave transfer bus. That's when one of the most amazing sites and sounds I had experienced appeared from out of nowhere. I was standing looking north, when I heard the sound of immense power coming up 4th street behind me. I turned, and within 20 feet, staring me in the eye, was a metal-flake gold 1952 Chevy two door hardtop. I was momentarily stunned, and just as quickly as it appeared it was all over. The guy driving rumbled to a stop at the corner, within 3 feet of me, turned east on 8th Ave, and disappeared. I'll never forget the image, nor get the sound of that Chevy split six out of my head. Over the years I've owned about 20 of these vehicles, some restored, some customized and if they didn't get V/8's they all got modern sixes with dual exhausts. There's few sounds that equal it in my books.

About a year later I saved for and bought from a (long defunct) speed shop on 17th Ave (Brennan's Auto & Speed) a 12 or 14 inch three spoke mustard metal-flake steering wheel, although I was far from owning my first drivable car. That steering wheel was to become the foundation upon which I'd build my dream car, despite at the time I had trouble paying for a broken spoke on my bicycle.

Subsequently, I went on to enjoy a successful & wonderful career (40 years) in the collision repair industry, working for one employer the distance. I've built and enjoyed many different vehicles over the years, even campaigning one on the ISCA show circuit in the late 70's - winning my class in the Pacific division. That was a thrill and I knew I had fulfilled my dream - a dream that had its genesis with a 1932 Ford and a 1952 Chevy year’s prior.

I have been an automotive writer for about thirty years - currently authoring three distinctly different columns in Canada's largest automotive publication "Old Autos".
I retired in 2007 from my lifeswork in collision repair and currently live in the Rocky Mountain town of Canmore Alberta, with my wife of 45 years. We own, maintain and enjoy immensely our 1967 Nova with 43K original miles, and plan to visit our son and family in Boise ID in July of 2013 as the city celebrates its 150th anniversary. Thanks for allowing me to share my story.

Alvin Shier
Writer of
Plugs 'n' Points
Auto Bizarro
Pollution Free Motoring
Canmore, Alberta