When Rick Burgess sold his 1959 Triumph TR3-A in Victoria, little did he know it would find its way back to him almost five decades later.
Burgess, who was born in Oak Bay but now lives in Carstairs, Alberta, will be bringing his beloved car to the annual Oak Bay Collector Car Festival Sunday.
“I bought (the car) off a car lot when I was probably about 19 or 20,” recalls Burgess, who later joined the Navy in the early 1960s and left the car parked at his grandmother’s house during his time in service.
His return and the need for a more family-oriented car led him to sell the car in 1964, recalls Burgess, who was born in 1944 into a house on Bee Street where the Oak Bay rec centre currently sits. The family later moved to 1423 Hampshire Rd., now the location of the Oak Bay Library and Monterey Seniors Centre.
The Burgess family was prominent in Oak Bay business, and Rick Burgess operated one of the family’s clothing stores in the village for many years before opening Pickwicks, a former restaurant in Athlone Court.
Over those same years, his Triumph travelled to Ontario where it was in storage for more than 21 years. Eventually, the car found its way to Prince George, where Burgess was re-united with it in November 2012: he was the second and later the fifth owner of the same vehicle.
“A fellow brought it, about five years ago, to Prince George, where he started working on it. He told me that it was 95 per cent completed and when I bought it, of course, I get it home to Carstairs and realize it’s not 95 per cent completed, it needs a whole bunch of new work,” he says.
He found a mechanic in Calgary who re-did the wiring, and fixed up a few other things. Finding one of the cylinders in the engine needed to have work done, he rebuilt the engine as well.
“At that point in time, you know, when it’s your car and it’s your baby coming home, you have a budget, but to heck with the budget,” he says.
Originally, Burgess had no idea it was the exact same car he had owned 48 years earlier.
He brought the convertible home to Alberta and noticed that the soft top had a tear that had been stitched up. It was then that he realized it was his car.
The canopy of the convertible had been slashed in the garage of his grandmother’s house while he was away in the Navy. He remembered stitching it up when he returned from service.
The car will be featured at the 17th annual Oak Bay Collector Car Festival, hosted by long-time friend Ken Agate this Sunday.
“I enjoy putting on the car show. I think it’s good for the community, it’s very popular, and I like seeing people enjoying the event,” says Agate.
The Oak Bay Collector Car Festival will take place on Sunday, Aug. 7 from 8 a.m. until about 3 p.m. It features a prime rib barbecue, a virtual Elvis, and a variety of collector cars.