Canadian landmark cars shown in special exhibit

Fears raised that our fixation on cars of '60s, '70s neglects the great Duesenberg and other vintage cars

There is one section in the recent Canadian International Auto Show that shows the roots of it all: The Art and the Automobile exhibit, themed this year “The Canadian Story.”

A vintage early 1960s vehicle in exhibit of Canadian landmark cars.(MICHAEL LINENNEN/TORONTO OBSERVER)

The exhibit showcase some of the vintage vehicles that celebrate the important landmarks of the Canadian automobile industry in celebration of Canada 150.

Ted Noble, one of the staff in the exhibit, said it is not easy to maintain these vintage vehicles.

“There’s probably a lot of literature on maintaining them,” Noble said. “These are more handmade, and they weren’t mass produced. Imagine if you have to replace a part in this, you’ll have to search high and low for it.”

The Duesenberg in all its old-school glory.(MICHAEL LINENNEN/TORONTO OBSERVER)

Not only are the parts difficult to find, but having people with the knowledge to maintain these cars is also very hard.

Noble said people collecting vehicles tend to focus on the 1960s and 1970s, but nothing older. He fears the tradition of collecting vintage vehicles will be lost.

“If you see these cars go to auction, they’re not catching as much money now whereas 20 years ago they’re catching big money,” Noble said. “So the value of these cars starts to go down a bit because of that.”

Travelling in style in the 1930s.(MICHAEL LINENNEN/TORONTO OBSERVER)

Noble said the difference between the vintage cars and the contemporary cars is not about speed, but character.

“They have a lot of engineers and everybody working on them to make them just absolutely perfect, whereas these cars were built by people that weren’t engineers — they saw a need for vehicles,” Noble said. “In this particular case, they wanted to build a high-end vehicle, and they put their heart and soul into these things and created wonderful pieces of art.”

Back to the beginning of the car in Canada.(MICHAEL LINENNEN/TORONTO OBSERVER)

Noble says he hopes this tradition of collecting and maintaining vintage cars will pass on to the next generation.

“Everyday, you got to do a little tinkering with them just to keep them running,” Noble said.