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Building classic cars a ‘creative outlet’ – 100 Mile House Free Press

Bruce Reimer has always had a love affair with cars.

This fascination led the semi-retired mechanic from Forest Grove to build his first car, a Datsun 510, at the age of 15. Over the past 40 years, Reimer has done custom work on hundreds of cars and built dozens more for customers across British Columbia.

While other car enthusiasts at 100 Mile Cruzers Car Club love collecting cars, Reimer’s obsession is building unique vehicles you won’t find anywhere else.

“I’m a car manufacturer, that’s what I do. I love building cars, I love every aspect of them and I do everything myself,” said Reimer, 60. “I do all the welding, all the fabrication, the engine work, the mechanical work, the bodywork, the paint, it’s all 100% done by me.”

One of his most prized possessions is a replica of the 1931 Ford Model A Woody Sedan he built from scratch. He dreamed up the design when he was a teenager, partly inspired by the Beach Boys and Californian surf culture, but it’s only been in the past 20 years that he’s been able to bring the project to fruition.

During this time he created four different versions of the car.

He started in the early 2000s after noticing friends in Chilliwack were building rat rod racers — custom cars made with cheap or scrap parts — on pickup truck frames. This made him realize he could build a replica Woody on the cheap using a 1985 Toyota pickup chassis. Although he based his design on the old 1931 Woody, there is no not a single part of the car from that era.

He obtained most of the parts by barter, exchange or manufacture himself. The oldest part of the car is its headlight buckets, which are from a 1938 Dodge pickup. Its engine is a Ford 351 with a C-4 transmission, while the wood that makes up the body is made of “good old SPF” – spruce, pine and fir – which he hand-selected in the lumber yard.

“The basic concept was to build something really cool without spending a lot of money,” Reimer said. “When I first ran this car I had no more than $1,000 in it and most of it was on the wood body.”

He finished the first build in 2010 and rode it for four years before he started noticing small flaws. Eventually, he decided to redo the whole car, taking the whole thing apart and rebuilding it in four years.

“When I drive it, it’s pretty amazing. I get a lot of attention from it. I remember one day I walked into a 7-Eleven to buy gas and this young Asian couple came running to my car and started doing a photoshoot in front of me while I was filling up. I just laughed and thought “that’s cool”.

The only thing that Reimer says is still missing to this day is a custom-made surfboard. “I want to put it on the roof because I think this car should have a surfboard on it, not that I can surf,” laughed Reimer.

His time with the car, however, is coming to an end. Reimer put the car up for sale, in part to fund a winter home in Belize.

In the meantime, he has two other personal projects he is working on. One is his son’s 1970 Ford Maverick refurbishment while the other is a “really weird project” similar to the Woody.

Dubbed “the alien” by Reimer, the project is based on a 1990 Ranger that Reimer cut up to create a custom roadster. He re-welded the frame to give the car a narrower profile and trimmed the roof to give it a classic racing look.

“It will be like the Woody, a one-of-a-kind vehicle. That’s what I do, I like to do something different,” Reimer said. “Driving and getting attention is cool, but for me it’s mostly construction because that’s really what I love to do the most, it’s my creative outlet. Some people paint, some people write but I build cars.

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