About Us

The SVABC is a lobby group committed to preserving the hobby and supporting the car enthusiasts of BC, including individuals, clubs, associations and all vehicle types including motor cycles.

Early History of the SVABC

Before there was the SVABC,  it was originally started out being called the Specialty Vehicle Council of British Columbia. It basically started out one evening in the basement of Doug Curran’s  parents’ home in Port Moody in about 1978 or79.  Doug’s father was a member of the Social Credit Party and received a monthly newsletter. I happened to be reading the newsletter and there was a small article that the provincial government was considering addressing the Motor Vehicle Act regarding modified cars and four wheel drives. Doug’s dad said that we had better pay close attention to that as, with one stroke of a pen,  we would all be walking. The newsletter stated that there was to be a hearing at the Vancouver Court House on a certain date and if you wanted to have input into any pending changes to the motor vehicle code then you could make a presentation.

As Doug and myself were members of PISRA, a local street rod club, we took it upon ourselves to try to do something about it. There was another street rod club in the Fraser Valley called the Fraser Valley Street Rod Assn. Knowing full well that the government pays attention to you when you represent a large group of people(voters,) we made arrangements to attend the hearing as a rep of these two clubs with their permission of course. Doug gave a presentation, very positive representing the hobby as there were a few high profile speakers who wanted modified cars period outlawed. Unfortunately I cannot remember their names. Slowly we started recruiting new clubs into the organization  i.e Kim Elliot of the B.C Four Wheel Drive Assn., Tim Kolosoff of the Van Mini Club, the BC Corvette Club, the Graffiti Car Club.

The biggest obstacles in the beginning were the restoration crowd as their attitude was that this didn’t affect  them, even though John Carlson was on board representing the Vintage Car club and Richard Head was with the Studebaker club. To raise funds for the organization, other than most of us taking money out of our own pockets, we put on a car show in the Mission arena in 1980. It was called the Specialty Vehicle council of B.C Parade of Wheels. I cannot remember how much we made but I still have my dash plaque. When we went to register in Victoria as a nonprofit society the government would not let us use the word council as we were not a rep of a group of councils, there fore we had to change the name of the organization. As all the early meetings were held in my basement in Port Moody, hence the early Port Moody postal box.

At this point there were only about six to ten member reps and the decision was made to call it the SVABC which it is to this day. Many of us attended many a meeting with various clubs in the early days to promote the orginization, some were positive and some not so but that’s what it took. In the early eighties I was one of the founding members of the Early Ford V8 club and at that point could not carry on the work in the SVABC but have always supported it as a paying member.

Dennis Groundwater



A photographer at the Times-Colonist newspaper in Victoria. Being a car guy when I heard of an assignment at the Legislative Buildings of the government granting a new category of Modified Collector plates, I immediately requested the assignment. The information below is what I included with the photo’s to our City Desk.

VKA-18/06/06-Victoria- Solicitor General John Les was on hand outside the legislative buildings Thursday to announce that vintage autos in B.C. from 1949 to 1958 that have been modified will now be eligible to apply for modified collector plates from ICBC in Victoria BC Thursday,May18,2006. Photo in front of the legislative building shows Harold Wellenbrink, president of the Specialty Vehicle Association of B.C. thanking Les for this piece of legislation. The association and other interested people have been lobbying the government for years to update the modified collector plates that were only permitted for cars up to 1948. Car in photo is Wellenbrink’s 1952 Meteor convertible. Other photo shows Wellenbrink and solicitor general John Les cruising down the legislative driveway in Wellenbrink’s car. A modified collector plate differs from ordinary collector plates in that a vehicle which has been modifed means it has been altered in some way from the original, albeit the engine, suspension, body, interior or all of the above. Photo by John McKay/ Victoria
Here are the photo’s for your archives, you may already have copies of these but in case you don’t, enjoy… Cheers, John McKay
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