A history to remember

In 1959 a car came to the Columbia Valley and started a journey that continues to this day. Audrey Osterloh has lived her entire life in Invermere where she was born and raised. Her father, and later her brother, were the owners of a car dealership in the area which saw the family go through many different cars over the years. In 1959 the the family obtained a new Ford Fairlane 500 which they drove until 1961 when Ben Schnider purchased the vehicle from the family.

Described as a Ford man by his wife Janice, Ben went on to drive the car for another 10 years before it ended up parked under a tree on his property for 30 years. From 1971 until 2002 no one had very much to do with the car other than the squirrels who decided to use the trunk as a storage space for food. When Ben decided in 2002 to fix the old Ford up he had to clear out the trunk which was about two-thirds full of pine cones. “They were homesteading,” Ben said.

Even though the car had seen better days Ben was ready to fix the rusted vehicle up. “I knew what it was like before and I knew what the potential was. Being the owner I knew I had the old parts so I didn’t have to go find a whole bunch of parts for it,” Ben said. Being a mechanic was a great help for Ben in the long procedure of bringing the classic back to its original glory. After a great deal of time fixing the car up it was ready to be brought back out to the streets it used to drive on.

It was also at this time that the family found out the original owner still lived in the area. Audrey, who admits that she is not really a car person, knew from her son’s reaction that it was something special. “A car is a car to me but my son was here and he was thrilled to see it restored. He remembered everything about it,” Audrey said.
Audrey explained that during the time she owned the car she had taken her children on a trip to California so that they could go to Disneyland. “We didn’t have much money and we only spent money on something educational. We took a frying pan so we could cook our own meals.

The kids called it our bologna holiday. Motels at that time were about $7 dollars a night,” Audrey said. Since the car has been refurbished Audrey has had the chance to go for a few shorter drives with different people at the helm. “We have had some drives in it. My son got the chance to drive it. He was pretty proud. It was fun to see my son get so excited about it,” Audrey said. Once again this year Ben and Janice will be taking their car to the Show and Shine Car Show being held in the Village of Radium Hot Springs in September. The longtime members of the local car club always enjoy going to the car show and this year is no different. “I have been involved with the automotive field for all of my life. It is part of me,” Ben said. Janice added that she enjoys the social aspects of the show and also the classic car clubs as well.

If the time ever comes that they do not want the car anymore, Janice said there will be no problem finding it a new home. “All three of our children want it though none of them are mechanically inclined so they may have problems,” Janice said.

Weather Forecast

Radium Hot Springs

Tue 16 Jul

Partly cloudy 19°F Light air E

0 mm precipitation.


2011 Show & Shine Footage

We Thank Our Sponsors