Dick Hunt's Blog

January 5, 2011

A 1904 Cadillac

Filed under: Current — Tags: , — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 1:58 pm

A 1904 Cadillac,
By Dick Hunt, January 5th, 2011.

From 1966 to 1988 Ruth and I owned a small property on Mayne Island  in the  Gulf of Georgia. In 1967  we built a Cedar Cottage there as a family project during three weeks of our summer holidays, driving down from our home in Williams Lake pulling a single axle trailer I had built for the purpose of moving materials and tools to the building site.  We had arranged for all the  cottage materials to be delivered to the site just after we arrived which allowed us to get started building immediately.  We had also arranged for the concrete foundation to be poured and the floor joists to be installed ahead of time. The Cottage was erected, stained, wired (I did that too) hooked up to B.C. Hydro and locked up in 21 days.  We were able to take back with us to Williams Lake the temporary Power Pole we had rented  to save the daily cost of having the use of it, since we didn’t get back there for a year. Mission accomplished.  We used it for a family getaway for years.

One Christmas day, when we had moved to Campbell River, we planned with the family to drive down there for Christmas Dinner.  All the family was with us.   Ruth cooked up a big Christmas dinner, wrapped it well in blankets to retain the temperature while I conducted the Christmas day Communion service and off we went to catch the ferry from Chemainus to Saltspring Island to Mayne Island.  It was a sparkling, warm, calm, sunny day and all went like clockwork. We were at the cottage by four PM. What a precious time we all had. Over the next few years we spent many holidays on Mayne Island and finally retired there in 1985 after I broke my back and left foot in a fall from a faulty ladder.  I looked after the Anglican Parish there for three years before we moved to Maple Ridge in 1988.

We still kept up a close contact with numerous people in Campbell River including Dave and Rosemary P.  One day while visiting with them in their home, Dave told us of his experience in restoring a 1904 Cadillac car, one among many cars he rebuilt over the years.  It was complete except for the motor and for quite a long time he couldn’t locate that very essential item.  Then one day he was walking along the dock at the then functioning Sawmill operation at Chemainus and stopped to talk with an elderly man who was sitting there.  The conversation got around to restoration of old cars and Dave told him about his quest for a motor for his 1904 Cadillac. The old gentleman said he knew where there was one.  Dave said, “WHERE”?  “Right off the end of the dock there”, the man said. He said he had powered his Air Compressor with it when he had owned the Sawmill. but the new owner could not run it so he threw it off the dock.  Dave hired a diver to go down and locate the engine, deep down in the mud and they hoisted it onto the dock with a small crane. It was in relatively good condition having been covered with mud for a long time.  Fortunately, Dave was a well trained and highly experienced mechanic and was able to completely restore the engine, mount it in the appropriate spot in the car frame and complete the restoration. As I recall, it was a “one lunger” that is a single cylinder engine and used a heavy flywheel to maintain a smooth operation.  Getting the flywheel was another matter which required a good deal more searching but as I understand, it was finally whole and functional, all the parts were in place, the seat was newly upholstered and it was a marvel of patient and meticulous craftsmanship. Dave had built his house on a ground level full first floor devoted to his active hobby.  On one visit I counted eight cars in various stages of restoration plus a number of old motorbikes and all his tools, lathes, welders as needed for every job.  He and Rosemary have even taken a car to Britain for a old car show and all around North America too. Chemainus was the trigger.

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