Inside the B.C. Vintage Truck Museum

This hidden gem in Cloverdale, B.C. celebrates the bond between Canucks and their trucks.

BC Vintage Truck Museum - 1955 Fire TruckPhoto: Anna Dean
This 1955 GMC firetruck is a favourite in the B.C. Vintage Truck Museum’s collection.

My first time driving to the B.C. Vintage Truck Museum in Cloverdale, B.C., I took my 1929 Ford Model A Roadster pick-up truck.

I had seen a brochure for the volunteer-run museum, and walking around, I realized it was a hidden treasure. Dedicated to preserving the early history of trucking in British Columbia, the museum features 32 beautifully restored trucks dating from 1910 to 1977, along with memorabilia, gas pumps, tools, photos and the stories that go with them.

After my visit, I found one of the volunteers under my truck in the parking lot, fixing a tail light that had been hanging by a wire. Right then, I knew this is where I wanted to volunteer and contribute to my community, and I’ve been doing it for six years.

Our volunteers and trucks participate in over 25 community events each year, including fundraising events for the local food bank and the Christmas Hamper Program, Ride to Live for prostate cancer, and Show & Shine gatherings, where our trucks help raise funds for various charities.

A federal grant enabled us to provide lunch and museum tours to over 300 seniors living in care homes. So many of them remembered riding in or even driving these old trucks.

BC Vintage Truck Museum - 1914 Fwd Model B WWI TruckPhoto: Anna Dean
This 1914 FWD Model B was a WWI truck.

Collection highlights include our 1914 Four-Wheel Drive (above), used to transport troops in the First World War and later to clean snow off the B.C. electric railway lines. Our 1935 Dodge Airflow is extremely rare, the only one that was shipped to Canada.

Our 1955 GMC Firetruck (video above) is my favourite. A couple from the small town of Hope, B.C., took the train to Montreal, where it was built, and drove it right across Canada. It served their community until 2004. Their story is one of many we tell at the museum. Our trucks have hauled coal, carried dynamite and replaced the horses and wagons that hauled hay to dairy farmers.

BC Vintage Truck Museum - WeddingPhoto: Nancy Angermeyer
Anna drives her 1929 Model A at niece’s wedding.

Vintage trucks are so different from modern ones. They have manual steering, mechanical brakes, small fuel tanks and no air-ride suspension, just heavy springs. The tires were very narrow and often had inner tubes. My 1929 Model A has gravity-fed fuel, and the fuel tank is in the firewall, the battery hangs under the floor boards and the gears are not synchronized, so I have to double clutch. No problem leaving the keys in it—there are five things I need to do before I can start it!

If you enjoyed this look inside the B.C. Vintage Truck Museum, be sure to check out 10 more great day trips from Vancouver.

Originally Published in Our Canada