Society president to drive a fitting vehicle to the 17th annual induction ceremony on Sept. 23rd
When Ken Bayko takes the stage on September 23rd as president of the Vancouver Motorsport Pioneers Society at the 17th annual induction ceremony, his 1950-style hot rod will be attracting onlookers in the parking lot.
The 1932 Ford pickup he bought in pieces as a 50th birthday present to himself and took 10 years to build, represents an era when cars were cool along with the music and clothes.
The pale blue Chevy V8 powered Ford pickup has numerous custom touches that evoke memories of a different time. In many ways, the hot rod truck honours the several hundred motorsport pioneers that have been inducted by the society in areas of sports car, dragster, boat and motorcycle racing along with building hot rods and custom cars.
Fourteen more pioneers will be inducted at the ceremony, which is open to anyone interested in motorsports.
Ken Bayko’s co-pilot in driving his hot rod pickup to car shows is his 16-year-old grandson Brian Rickard who recalls seeing the old truck in its early stages of construction when he was a toddler.
“I remember it taking forever to finish,” says the teenager says, who is taking auto shop at his high school and, like his grandfather, loves tinkering with all things mechanical.
The club inductee this year is the B.C. Custom Car Association (BCCCA), formed in Vancouver by a group of early hot rodders and custom car enthusiasts 65 years ago. Some original members are expected to be in attendance to help honour the oldest club of its type in Canada.
Rejecting the term ‘hot rod’ for its negative inferences in the early Fifties, the founders named their new club the BC Custom Car Association when it came into being on January 25th, 1952. In December of that year, BCCCA became registered as a non-profit society. Membership grew rapidly to more than 300 members who collectively had several hundred rod and custom cars.
The club ran Canada’s first drag races at the Abbotsford Airport, starting in 1952 until the facility was taken over by the Canadian Air Force five years later. BCCCA would later open the first Mission Drag Strip in 1965.
The club hosted Canada’s first rod and custom car show at Vancouver’s Kerrisdale Arena in September of 1953, which was completely jammed with members’ cars. The show morphed into the Pacific International Motorama car shows at the Pacific National Exhibition, which was an annual event until 1973.
Growing up car crazy in Vancouver, Ken Bayko enjoyed a front-row seat to the burgeoning custom car scene. The enterprising lad started washing dishes after school at the Marble Arch Hotel when he was just 13, and used the money earned to buy cars. He was fascinated with the demolition derbies that ran in Callister Park across the street from the Exhibition and, although he was too young to be a driver, he became an owner.
“In those days, you could find old cars in the laneways and buy them for five dollars,” he says.
Ford and Chevy sedans from the mid-Sixties were popular cars. By the time he was 16, he was welding in crash bars and roll cages to prepare the cars for demolition events. He would later become a derby driver.
The retired Vancouver city worker was president of the Langley Speedway when it was operating. He used the skills learned back in the day to build his hot rod which was a mishmash of pieces from a variety of cars: the frame was donated by a 1928 Ford; the pickup truck cab from a 1934 Ford; and the truck box was handmade.
He had a lot of help from his friends over the decade it took to complete the truck. The body has been channeled (dropped) four inches over the custom-built tube frame. Power comes from a 350 cubic inch Chevrolet V8 engine developing 375 horsepower, and the engine compartment has been decorated with chromed parts reflected in a stainless steel firewall.
Ken’s son Michael lent his shop for the build and Ken’s wife of 45 years, Mary, stitched up the upholstery to complete the project.
Ken’s hot rod pickup truck will be displayed alongside dozens of other vintage rides outside Shannon Hall at the Cloverdale Fairground for the Greater Vancouver Motorsport Pioneers induction ceremony beginning at noon Saturday, Sept. 23. All are welcome.
Link to the original Post on Driving.ca
Alyn Edwards is a classic car enthusiast and partner in Peak Communicators, a Vancouver-based public relations company. [email protected]