Going way back

by Derek Clouthier

3 VALLEY GAP, B.C. – If you were to pull off Highway 1 just west of Revelstoke and east of Sicamous, B.C. at a place called 3 Valley Gap and checked out the location’s Ghost Town, you’d find what appears to be a hidden gem in the trucking industry.

Included in the Ghost Town is a collection of historical vehicles, ranging from non-motorized buggies, to the famous Model T Ford, and even a ’57 Chevy.

A 1909 International High Wheelers Model A Autobuggy can be found in 3 Valley Gap, B.C. with a sign that reads, "beginning of International Trucks."
A 1909 International High Wheelers Model A Autobuggy can be found in 3 Valley Gap, B.C. with a sign that reads, “beginning of International Trucks.”

But also found in the impressive assortment is a 1909 International High Wheeler, Model A Autobuggy, which, if the sign describing the vehicle is correct, marked the beginning of International Trucks.

George Bell, the owner of 3 Valley Gap, said his father purchased the High Wheeler in 1993 from the B.C. Museum of Transportation, Science and Industry, which was located in New Westminster and closed that same year.

“They had about 200 cars on the auction block,” Bell said. “It was one of those vehicles that was basically just a museum piece.

“It wasn’t something that you’d want to bomb around in with your wife and kids.”

Bell’s father told him there were about 2,000 buyers at the auction, there to snap up what the museum was auctioning off, many of whom were from south of the border.

Bell’s father passed away in 2007.

In addition to claiming the High Wheeler was the ‘beginning of International Trucks,’ the sign also says the vehicle boasts a 74-inch wheelbase and ran on two cylinders.

It was designed as a farm truck but was used as a passenger vehicle before it was converted into a truck to carry goods.

“It’s basically a transformation from a buggy to a car,” Bell said. “We’ve had it running here and I rode in it. It’s air-cooled, there’s no radiator, it’s chain drive and about (14) horsepower.”

George said the paperwork he has on the High Wheeler indicates the vehicle was resorted in 1986 by a group of students from the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

Truck West contacted the B.C. Museums Association, which had no remaining information on the Museum of Transportation, Science and Industry or on the 1909 High

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  • Check out the Pioneer Village in Chilliwack at Heritage Park right next to an exit of Hwy 1 eastbound—they have a lot of the remainder vehicles from the Transportation Museum .

    The village is run by the Atchelitz Tresherman Association and has hundreds of vehicles, tractors and plows etc on display. The giant hangar-like barn houses a lot of them, many of them loveingly and fully restored, including old wagons.

    Set aside a couple of hours to see the vehicles and museum which includes old garage pumps and oil cans, blacksmith stuff, license plates and a museum blg with rooms for a school, living room, bedroom, kitchen etc “back in the day”.