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More short stories: My literature shop

Most of the readers know that I have a shop on MacEwan Street that sells automotive literature, some nice collector cars and a lot of old toys. This is true but you might be surprised at things we have been involved with here.

We get a lot of referrals from the MTO for private vehicle sales valuations for tax purposes. You can figure out why they request this!

We have hosted every local service club, the IODE, Probus, so many touring car clubs I have lost count, school kids groups, senior citizens groups, etc:

The CBC once did a remote broadcast from our shop as they were doing a “Canada’s most interesting businesses” tour across the Country and we were chosen for Ontario.

We have been contacted by tombstone engravers for a particular brochure as the family wanted the deceased’s favourite old car engraved on the tombstone.

RCMP have used our services to help track down stolen cars or ones involved in various incidents.

Lawyers have contacted us for brochures for legal cases- like- why did that Van roll over, was it the manufacturers fault or did they overload it- so of course they need the specifications. A big request was for various car owner’s manuals and how seat belt usage was written up in them. They must have had a big court case involving seatbelts on the go. I know that they told me the case involved millions of dollars.

Years ago when CTVs W5 show redid the Steven Truscott trial, they got several 1959 mostly, car brochures from us. Was that a 59 Chevy Lynn Harper got into as had been previously thought, or was it maybe one of these cars shown in the brochures they got from us.

When we were going to tear down the Hamilton Street building in 2004, it had a beautiful, very large illuminated sign facing Hamilton Street. Any GM signs being removed have to have the serial number recorded and a picture of them being run over by a truck. What a shame. I contacted GM and said that the largest vintage Cadillac collector in the world is just down the road in London and I want him to have that sign. They listened- big business does sometimes have a heart! Their lawyers drafted up a letter for Steve Plunkett to sign along with myself and the letter stated that the sign would never be resold and had to be displayed indoors. I phoned Steve and said- come get your sign- so for anyone who goes to one of his shows, look up when you walk into the car display room and you will see that beautiful “old style” Cadillac sign that came from Goderich.

Another GM story I have hardly ever related. Several years ago I got a call from a lady at GM. She had been contacted by a mother of a terminally ill child in a Toronto area hospital. The child’s wish was to have a picture of a 77 Pontiac Trans Am like the Smokey and the bandit car, but GM had nothing to offer. I did have a brochure and said I would send it to them to give to the family. When I told my son Darcy about this he said, “Dad, you gave me a remote control 77 Smokey and the bandit car as a child and it’s still in your basement.” He found the toy, cleaned and waxed it to perfection and with new batteries it was all set to go. We bundled it and the brochure up and sent the parcel off to the lady at GM. The mother would have no idea where the parcel came from but a month later the same lady from GM who had kept in touch with the family, phoned us crying, to say that the child had passed away with the Trans Am toy at his bedside as his most treasured possession.

Bet you never expected a story like that!

I have lots more stories, some of which I might tell, but that will do for this week.

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