Updated January 7, 2017
Pitt Meadows, BC
We attended the 1st ABFM with an MGB that I had installed a Buick V6 in…when my younger son was just 11 years old. He and I restored it again 35 years later and I sold it to a chap in Salmon Arm as we had been working with Minis since 1991.
[In 2016], I was there again with my Leyland Australia Mini Window Van that took 3rd place in a thin field of LWB Minis. I had driven 40,000 kilometres around Australia in 2011 & 2013 before shipping it to Canada. It has since gone to Ohio & back and this year to San Diego & back. And I have entered it in the Alcan 5000 Summer Rally 2018.
The 1961 Countryman sat in a rack in my garage from 2004 until December 2015. I hope to debut it in 2018 (unlikely this year) and do well in class – both my son’s Mini sedan (1994) and my Mini sedan (2007) took 1st in class. My Mini sedan got a very rare Honorable Mention from the professional judges at the Portland ABFM in 2006 after it had gone to Arizona & Maryland for the 2006 Mini Meets West & East.
I tell you this because the Vancouver ABFM is such an important date, to see & admire what others have done across Marques, to visit with Canadian & American friends who attend, and to see how others regard your efforts.
You have likely heard many stories like mine and the compliments that go to you & your team for the excellent work you do year after year.
Rick Higgs: various British cars
North Saanich, BC
Our day started with the challenge of getting our car started—however, I did find the problem and it burst into life and we made it to the start just in time!
The weekend was the first outing for the car after 6 years of restoration—and what better way than ABFM at Van Dusen and then the lovely drive up to Whistler.
We really enjoyed the weekend—great cars and great chats with so many interesting people. Also, we appreciated the wonderful award of the case of Autogylm products—it made our day. Our thanks to you all for putting on such a wonderful weekend. Kindest regards,
Peter & Judy Jeffrey: 1969 Jaguar XKE 2+2
Our first time adventure to the ABFM  was terrific. Not only did we win two awards, but we met a group of wonderful people, saw many amazing cars and thoroughly enjoyed the [VanDusen] park setting. Thanks to you and your team for putting on a spectacular event. Kind regards,
Larry Paterson & Linda Le Geyt: 1949 Austin A40 Pickup
Port Coquitlam, BC
Great ABFM weekend! Even the weather cooperated to the fullest. Thanks for the wonderful Car Show.
John McDonald: 1949 Austin A40 Devon: Chairperson, Old English Car Club—Vancouver Coast Branch
Thanks very, very much for another, very-enjoyable event. Always our favourite car activity of the year. Well worth the trip from the other Vancouver—even with the ordeals of border crossing and the tunnel tourture. This year seemed to offer an even-wider assortment of models than the past (which was then even greater than the other shows we attend). The crowd seemed bigger, too. Great food-vendor choices. Good to see fish & chips, and the crepe lady was terrific entertainment, in addition to offering very-appealing varieties of crepes. Thanks for re-introducing the Friday-evening Noggin & Natter. Looking forward to next year already.
Paul & Steffi Rollins: 1955 MG Magnette, et al
First off, I’d like to congratulate and thank you so much for a most excellent weekend, well done. The Field Meet and Whistler Run came off without a hitch. Well, at least that’s the way it seemed to us, the participants, I suspect that there may have been more than a little of the “Swan Effect” at work—all peaceful serenity above, with much frantic activity below. At any rate, another VanDusen Show is history and British motoring has officially begun for the season. Thanks again, and cheers,
Tom Morris: 1969 Morgan Plus 8
A great show, the organization was flawless, the parking directions this year was particularly efficient and the prize-giving very fast. The one suggestion is to consider placing the name of the origin of each entrant on the windscreen card. Best regards.
Jonathan Parker: 1960 AC Ace
St, Alberta, Alberta
Had an excellent time! Bravo to you and your team of volunteers. Cheers!!!
Dave Kujala: 1973 MGB
On behalf of those of us representing the OECC from the Island I would like to thank, and commend you [Joan] and Patrick, and all of the others, of which there were many, for all of the hard work put into making the Van Dusen weekend such a success. I was so glad that Carol and I were not away this year and could be at the gardens to meet up with friends from the States and from around BC to share the atmosphere, with the band, the piper and the trilling birds only enhancing the day amongst the blossoms. Few will have any idea of how much work or time, and probably patience is needed to organize such an event, but some of us from the Island, even if our experience has only been on a smaller scale, do and we will continue to appreciate, and support you, as well as taking advantage of the event. Kind regards,
Dennis Brammer: 1962 Daimler SP250 Dart
Congratulations on another great ABFM. You do a great job of putting on a huge show. It appeared things ram sommothly for you. At least I sure hope so.
Lois Buhman: 1959 Austin-Healey
On behalf of The Rover-Landers of BC THANK YOU for another fantastic ABFM. We all had a lot of fun and we were proud to have such a great turn out of Land Rovers this year. Thank you for all your hard work over the years and to all your crew behind the scenes before and on the day of the event. Well done!!
Pamela Blair: 1966 Land Rover SIIA: Newsletter Editor & Membership Coordinator for the Rover-Landers of BC
Great job as always! Nice to see that you even kept the rain away.
Wayne Dowler: 1993 Jaguar XJS: British Motorcycles Owners Club, Vancouver
Grand Forks, BC
I wanted to let you know how we enjoyed attending the ABFM this year and meeting new people and old friends with the same passion for British cars. Just one part I heard a lot of disappointment and comments about was the way cars are judged for the awards in each class. Is there any way this can be done so that is fair to all the entries in each class? The ideas that I got from other attendees is that the judging can be by the entrant but also the use of concourse judges that would score each class as 123. Not sure if that will work. I look forward to your comments. Thanks.
George Novotny, 1975 Triumph TR6, Convertible
The class awards are judged by the entrants (including yourself). There are 61 Classes and 1, 2, 3 awards for each (Total 183 cars), so we would be there all weekend if the ABFM judges were to also then re-judge the results of the Entrants voting. Also, the folks who are disappointed need to understand the principle of Entrants Choice voting—it is simply a CHOICE made by all the ABFM Entrants who vote within non-competing class cars for THEIR choice…they do not judge on a points basis like the Sponsors’ Awards, which are judged by ABFM judges on a stricter basis; more than one of our judges also has judged at the Pebble Beach Concours. We believe that this is actually the best of both recognition systems—Entrants Choice and ABFM Judged. We are not a Concours Show and never will be as that is a whole different judging system and would be impossible with a show with more than 500 cars.
So there you have it, 31 years of this format – not perfect but recognized and copied by others, so we think it is as good as it can be given the size and nature of the event. Always interested in constructive and well informed feedback from our important entrants. If there are any further questions or suggestions from the group, please let us know.
[I am] commenting on was the disparity on restoration projects between someone who has $50,000 or more to spend as opposed to an enthusiast who spends hundreds and hundreds of hours and knows every nut and bolt and wire because of all the time spent. (in my case 600 hours). I can only use myself as an example but I’m sure there are others out there as well. When I registered for the 2016 ABFM (I’ve only missed 1 in 26 years) after a 2 year restoration on my bright yellow 1959 TR3A I ticked off the box as a Debuting Restoration under $50,000. As I was competing against professional restoration shops I knew my chances of any recognition were slim at best. As I mentioned to you, I wonder if there are any other enthusiasts out there like myself that have spent many hours restoring their cars? I’m thinking that there could be some kind of recognition/award for those of us who make the effort to be involved with most of the restoration themselves. An Enthusiasts Restoration award maybe?
This would be for the owners that spend the time and effort to make their cars the best they can at a budget price. (in my case $20,000 for a frame off restoration and the car is actually worth more than was spent, what a concept!).
I’m sure there are many owners out there that don’t have $50,000 or more to spend but still want to preserve and enjoy the vehicles we have come to love. Just a thought.
Victor Russell, 1959 Triumph TR3A, Convertible: co-founder LAMB (Langley Area Mostly British Motoring Club)
Thanks for your comments. The 1949 Austin A40 Pickup that won this year’s Best Debuting Restoration under $50,000 award (the category under which you were vying) was a restoration that took several years and the work involved was mostly done by the owner.
I am sorry that some participants were disappointed in their perception of the judging of awards at the recent ABFM in Vancouver: it is often a controversial area, whatever the size of the Show. As your response clearly indicates, at VanDusen the “Class Awards” are judged by the registered participants, with one not able to vote in the class one’s own vehicles is exhibited, whilst “Sponsors Awards” are judged only by the ABFM’s own experienced, qualified judges; nothing else is practicable.
Such a format for judging the “Class Awards” will of course always put us at the mercy of our fellow exhibiters, some of whom have a wide knowledge of English classic cars, whilst others have very little. Some will judge on originality, knowledge of factory colours and correct period accessories, whilst others might prefer twin chromed tail pipes on 4-cylinder cars, modern metallic paint finishes, or retro fitted high-backed velour seats; but it is the accumulation of the opinions of all of us which goes into the tally for the Class Awards. I have been at shows where recent Concours winning cars have been completely ignored for vehicles which have been lowered, small mag wheels fitted and had racing decals stuck onto their shiny iridescent bodywork. As a result, such voting vagaries often means that it is rare for the best three cars in any category (if judged by “qualified and experienced” judges) to emerge with the top three Class Awards because at VanDusen, and at myriad similar shows, the voting CANNOT be done by qualified judges, there are not enough of them available, so the job is farmed out to enthusiasts like us. Certain results may seem perfidious, erratic and prejudicial, but that is the way it is. I have both suffered and benefitted by such practices at Shows, but in the democratic world we vote for the person or thing we think is best. To some our choices may seem arbitrary, but at least we have participated and thrown in our 10 cents worth. “Would I change the way the voting is done?” My answer is “No” and the question reminds me of people who suggest that we should have to pass an exam before we are allowed to cast a ballot in civic elections, or even before we have children!
Most of us try to exhibit our cars to their best, we share them with everyone who comes to the Show, we smile, and we do not canvass for votes, nor do we expect that others will see all of the virtues that we see in our own cars, nor do we denigrate others. If occasionally there is a small plaque to take home it should be seen as a bonus, or even sheer luck. But if we go home with no award (and most of us do), the experience of seeing 5 to 600 English cars on parade, without an AA break-down truck anywhere, in a beautiful setting and in a well organized event, with well behaved attendees of all races, aged from a month old to one hundred, and shared with fellow enthusiasts from all over the Pacific Northwest, is a reward unto itself. Many people throughout the world would just love to be able to join us; that is why some of us continue to spend so much on fettling, ferries, hotels and meals just to participate.
Car Shows are a joint enterprise between the exhibitors and the organizers. Without each other our event could never be billed, as it is — “the greatest show on British wheels!” This “togetherness” means that people from all walks of life will continue to bring their cars, and their stories to VanDusen, and why I shall continue to send photos of the humblest Austin A30 to the most flamboyant Allard, taken at VanDusen, to friends and colleagues to drool over, whether they are in England, Switzerland or New Zealand. Being there, amongst the glitter, the noise, the colour, the memories, the sound and the odd whiff of upper cylinder lubricant, at least to me and several of my acquaintances, is what it is all about; by sharing our hobby we are both sharing and teaching history or heritage and having fun doing it: that the organizers and the judges coordinate things so well to enable that to happen is the wonderful bonus.
Thank you once again to all of the organizers, helpers, and judges who continue to combine to keep our hobby alive and to promulgate English Auto Art, from the exotic to the most utilitarian exhibits, and by writing this, I am immediately reminded me of something my six year old granddaughter said to me when riding in my Daimler –
“Papa, can I ask you a question; I’ll try to put it politely?”
“Of course, I said” and waited for her to compose herself.
“Papa, Papa, when you have retired from living, do you think that I could have this car, and still take it to shows for you?”
Dennis Brammer, 1962 Daimler SP250 Dart