Qualicum couple has a passion for rebuilding cars

Ken and Linda Thomas are getting ready for the June 17 Show and Shine in Qualicum Beach

One of the classic vehicles on display at the Seaside Cruizer’s the Father’s Day Show ‘n Shine will be a 1967 raspberry red Beaumont lovingly polished by Ken Thomas of Parksville.

To say that Thomas is enthusiastic about collecting vintage cars is an understatement.  His wife Linda warned me before I started talking cars with him that it would be hard to get him to stop.

Boy, she was right.

Thomas has been car crazy for a long time.

“Ever since I was a wee tadpole,” he confessed.

Thomas grew up on a farm in Port Alberni where his dad encouraged him to tinker with the farm vehicles.

“With 240 acres you could drive wherever you wanted.  That’s how I learned how to drive … on a tractor.”

When he had an accident with his first car and went to the body shop, he started collecting car parts. That’s when his obsession with re-building cars began.

“Back then I had at least three vehicles on the go.  I was young and working at the pulp mill.  I started gathering toys and have been doing it ever since,” he said.

Thomas belongs to the Canadian Classic Chevelles & Beaumonts Club which is dedicated to supporting owners of the vintage vehicles.

The club is open to all Beaumonts from 1962 to 1969, Chevelles from 1964 to 1983 and El Caminos and GMC derivatives from 1959 to 1987.

Thomas and his wife will be bringing their two Beaumonts to the Father’s Day Show ‘n Shine in Qualicum Beach.

At a car show last year in Wenatchee Washington, their 1967 raspberry pearl metallic colored Beaumont won the award for favorite foreign car.

As most car collectors know, over the years Detroit built specific models for Canada.  They didn’t sell them in the U.S. so the Canuck-mobiles really get attention at shows south of the border.  The Pontiac Beaumont is a dead ringer for the Chevelle of the same era except for the trim.

Thomas can tell you the difference between each model from the placement of the tail lights, the difference between the dash boards and the grills.

He said although they won the trophy last summer, that’s not why he enters the car shows.

“It is a social event.  I do like dash plaques.  I have quite a collection.”

He added that walking around drooling over other people’s cars is also part of the attraction.

After all these years the avid car collector acknowledged there is always something to tinker with and he is still tweaking his 1966 Beaumont along with a few other roadsters he has in his collection.

As for selling his his nostalgic wheels, Thomas said he prefers to collect them.

“To me, sell is a four letter word … buy is much better,” he exclaimed.