The Vintage Vehicles of Old Ottawa East

By Don Fugler

As the age of internal combustion engines wanes, there are still some residents of Old Ottawa East who have classic or vintage vehicles that burn gas, for better or worse. Some of these vehicles even evoke passion, an emotion that most sport utility vehicle (SUV) owners will never experience. SUV capability? – yes. SUV convenience? – yes. SUV attachment? – Hmmm, probably not. Here is a sample of the remarkable classic vehicles that can still be found on the streets of Old Ottawa East, and the passion of the OOE owners who lovingly tend to the care and feeding of their four-wheeled friends.

Michael's 1962 Land Rover 2A  Photo by Don Fugler

Michael’s 1962 Land Rover 2A Photo by Don Fugler

Michael’s 1962 Land Rover 2A

Michael has lots of good reasons to explain his 25-year ownership of his vintage Land Rover – simplicity and robust construction; availability of parts; historic interest; unique and strong presence; versatility and practicality from softtop to hardtop to no top, hauling garbage and garden supplies, and a good night out on the town.

“ I have always driven standard vehicles, this being the first with a non-synchronized transmission and non-power steering and brakes. It makes everyday use a challenge, but it allows for a more leisurely drive,” he says. “Although it rides like a “buckboard” wagon, I have good all-round visibility. Since I like to keep things simple and uncomplicated, there is no power anything, no electronic/computerdriven distraction. And, ultimately, the stories I hear from others who stop me is worth the noise, smells, sore muscles and wetness.”

Robert's 1959 Corvette Photo by Don Fugler

Robert’s 1959 Corvette Photo by Don Fugler

Robert’s 1959 Corvette

For the past four years, Robert has proudly owned his Classic 1959 Corvette, known as the 1st series 1953-1962 (C1). He explains that the new Corvettes made en masse today are the 8th series (C8), but back in 1959 there were fewer than 10,000 vehicles produced for that model year.

“I devoted the first three years mostly to its restoration, and a lot of dedication went into keeping the exterior and interior as it was made in 1959. I did take the liberty to update the mechanical systems, drivetrain, brakes and steering in order to make it safer to drive in today’s traffic,” Robert says.

“I have always been a car guy, and I’ve always had a car that was a little different. I take it out for a drive at any excuse. I really enjoy it when the older people give me a big smile and a thumbs up, and the younger ones like it because it’s so different and they want to know what it is.”

Don’s 1966 Volkswagen (VW) Deluxe Bus (Below back)

Don has owned his current VW Bus for 17 years – it’s one of a series of buses he has owned continuously since 1972 and used over the years for hauling goods and camping.

According to Don, “my regular vehicles are safe, comfortable, and reliable. The bus is not. However, it has a certain charm and utility. It is analog, not digital, and almost everything can (and needs) to be fixed with your own toolbox.

“It is used frequently in Spring, Summer, and Fall, and stored in the Winter. Sometimes it even goes on long trips – BC, Nova Scotia, and Manitoba – and it even delivers The Mainstreeter to local volunteer carriers,” Don says.

Don's 1966 Volkswage Deluxe Bus & Mike's 1969 Austin Mini MK II Photo by Don Fugler

Don’s 1966 Volkswage Deluxe Bus & Mike’s 1969 Austin Mini MK II Photo by Don Fugler

Mike’s 1969 Austin Mini MK II (Side front)

Mike has had a 5-year-long love affair with his Austin Mini. “I love to drive it because it drives like a go-kart – it’s a blast with regards to handling.” He uses it for Spring and Fall driving only since it has no snow tires and no air conditioning.

Mike purchased the Mini from a British gentleman named Chippendale who packed up his two boys and drove it to Ottawa across the country from their home in Vancouver. Originally purchased new for $1,600, it was sold to Mike in 2016 for $800; the little Mini has held its value well – when Mike purchased it, the Mini had depreciated a total of only $800 in 47 years – or $17 per year!

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