Verification that Lumby’s Walter Oldenborger did a great job almost singlehandedly restoring his 1958 Dodge two-door hardtop Custom Royal came at a Vernon gas station.
The first time Oldenborger, 73, filled his restored vintage car with fuel, he was just leaving the pump when a man about 25-to-30 blocked the Custom Royal with his vehicle.
“He said, ‘I’m sorry, but I’ve never seen a vehicle like that in my life. That has got to be the most gorgeous vehicle I’ve ever seen. Sorry if I scared you,’” laughed Oldenborger, 73 retired from the City of Vancouver and living on the outskirts of the Lumby with his wife, Wendy.
When the pair were dating in Vancouver in the 1960s, Oldenborger had a 1958 Dodge two-door hardtop, all white. His brother-in-law had the same vehicle. After he and Wendy married in 1968, he traded the Dodge for a Barracuda.
In 1998, while living in North Vancouver, Oldenborger started scouring buy-and-sell magazines, newspapers, for a ‘58 Dodge two-door hardtop.
“We were making retirement plans and the car is notorious for being all rusted out,” said Oldenborger. “They’re rather scarce. It took me a few years to find one in a condition where I could do a total restoration.”
He found one in Langley, bought it and brought it with him when he and Wendy retired to the North Okanagan.
Oldenborger, who took a couple of years of automotive classes in high school, began the restoration project in 2013, working every day on it for five years.
“I wanted to do as much as I could by myself,” said Oldenborger, who joined the North Okanagan chapter of the Vintage Car Club of Canada in 2013 for its resources and to pick other members’ brains about craftsmen and where they get their work done.
On July 13, 2018 – the Oldenborgers’ 50th anniversary – Walter got behind the wheel of his freshly restored vintage car, turned thekey, and he, Wendy and his best man and his wife, were off on the first run around the countryside.
“I had a big smile on my face heading down the driveway,” said Oldenborger, adding “it’s easier being married 50 years than it is restoring a car.”
The two-door hardtop Custom Royal, painted Chrysler white pearl and cherry red pearl— “the most popular two-tone colour combination for these cars,” said Oldenborger – is the feature car for the North Okanagan chapter of the Vintage Car Club of Canada’s 25th anniversary Father’s Day Car Show.
The Dodge will be among other vintage, classic, antique and custom vehicles and trucks on display at the north end parking lot at the Village Green Centre on Sunday, June 16, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Admission is by donation, and there will be food and music.
Proceeds from the show are used by the club to purchase needed equipment for Vernon School District high school automotive classes.