Piston Pushers Circa 1962
Origin of the Branford Piston Pushers Car Club
Article by: Doug Woodley
In the early 1950's, local young men would congregate at the Market Square in Brantford to pass the time and talk "car talk" ect. This probably started in the fall of 1952 and continued into the summer of 1953. At that time a small group of enthusiasts suggested a Car Club be formed. Meanwhile word spread as to this possible "happening" and other interested parties were also approached as to forming a club. In the fall of 1953, the first meeting was held at a restaurant on Colborne Street East in Brantford with an attendance of 14 young men, including Tom Drummond, Don Douglas, Dave Windrim, Alex Chorniak, Ed Chorniak, Don Fedak, Jim Rutyna, Larry Rook, Bob Brittain, Doug Woodley, Chas Haviland, Dennis Axworthy, Ron Masterson (deceased) and Jack Sedgwick (deceased).
An executive was formed with Don Douglas as president, Doug Woodley as vice president, Dennis Axworthy as secretary and David Windrim as treasurer. It was decided upon to be called the "Brantford Piston Pushers". Rules, regultions, membership dues, ect. were discussed over the next 2 to 3 meetings and further to that, it was suggested to contact the local Police Department to explain our aims and intentions of the club, as it was important for us to be in good standing. A time was arranged with Traffic Staff Sergent's Matt Bell and Ernie Walsh to come to our next meeting to discuss our intentionsect. and all future correspondence (good or bad) would be forwarded directly to these 2 gentlemen.
Further to our meeting with the Brantford Traffic Division (knowing our club had promoted safety and aided citizens on the road), suggested we have courtesy cards made up with the club's name and this card would then be handed out to the motorist we assisted for road service. The assisting club member's signature was on the caed and the motorists were encouraged to send comments back to the Traffic Department.
The Police Traffic Dept. was also given the license plate numbers of all the member's vehicles to monitor any complaints or traffic violations ect. The Traffic Dept. (Sgt. Matt Bell or Ernie Walsh) would notify the club executive of any wrong doings or positive remarks and the member would be approached regarding the matter. Additional meetings were held with the Traffic Dept. Personal who suggested 2 of our members should volunteer to join the Brantford Auxiliary Police. Tom Drummond and Don Douglas volunteered, this entailed working with the Police Dept. one evening a week to either"walk the beat" or assist in any emergency that could arise. This in turn led Tom becominga police officer. Mel Musikov (another member) also became an auxiliary policeman and later a Brantford Police Officer.
As time passed, a "SAFETY COUNCIL of BRANTFORD" was organized by civic leaders of Brantford to promote safety in the city as they knew the Piston pushers Car Club had the same interests.Tom Drummond was asked to be a representative from our club and be on the committee. The committee consisted of Aldermen, Service Clubs, City Police, Professionals and Businessmen. At a later date the " SAFETY COUNCIL of ONTARIO" hed a special meeting in Toronto. Tom Drummond ( being president of the Ontario Timing Association) (OTA) was asked to speak on safety on our roads. His speech covered car clubs of Ontario and how clubs would participate at sanctioned events to discourage street racing and to promote safety. Dignitariees at this meeting consisted ofMembers of Parliament, The Premier of Ontario and the Minister of Education, to name a few.
In 1954 the club rented a building just off Erie Ave for a clubhouse. We stayed there for a short time until we found larger accommodations on the south side of the city off the Cockshutt Road. Needing more space for members to work on theircars, the club again soon outgrew this building and were looking for a larger place to relocate. A small car club called "The Clusters" had rented the existing clubhouse on Hwy # 2 East which could accommodate7 vehicles and also had an additional room for meetings that could easily seat 35 people. This club having a younger and smaller membership offered their clubhouse to us with the understanding the Piston Pushers would take them in as members and dissolve their own club. This was agreeable with both clubs, so a merger was formed. The club stayed there until it became dormant around 1999.
During these years the club held many events including free seat belt installations for the public, car washs, car waxing, "picture frame" making for May Day festivities, free running light installation and free transporting party goers home on New Years Eve.
In the late 1950's the club built one of the first dragsters in Ontario powered by a flathead Ford. The Piston Pushers were also instrumental, along with 9 other clubs, in founding the Ontario Timing Assocication which in turn started Kohler Dragway the same year. In 1958, the club was involved in hosting the first Custom Car Show "Motorama 59" at the Hamilton Forum.
At the reunion, it was suggested the club be revived as a social club with an executive and a social committee, this was done and a new constitution was drawn up with yearly dues, etc. The club holds a meeting once a month with an average attendance of 60 to 65.
There are approx. 15 associates (those too far away to attend). Activities include rolling cruises, annual picinc, Christmas dinner, poker runs and other car related events and activities. Recently the property has been sold and the clubhouse may possibly be demolished.
Early in the spring of 2004 a few charter members suggested the club have a 50th Reunion and invite all past members and their spouses to attend. the polish Hall on Pearl Street was a unanimous decision as it held "Many Memories". After months of planning, a date was set for the reunion to be held on September 10 of 2004. A dinner was provided by the hall and the club held a Car Show and much memorabilia was displayed. Reunion T-Shirts were made available to the members and 180 tickets sold for the dinner. Last but not least, of the 14 ORIGINAL MEMBERS, ( 2 have passed a way), the other 12 attened, some coming as far away as Lethbridgr, Alta.
By 2007 things where really starting to happen in the club. A Piston Pusher Calendar featuring club member's rides was produced for sale for 2008.
In 2008 a 55th Anniversary History Album was produced for sale in 2009
This year the Piston Pusher Car Club is celebrating it's 55th Anniversary
The membership is continuing to climb, and a web-site has been added. As a club we supported many of the are cruise nights and held some unforgettable rolling cruises.
This year the club but together a Remember When Cruise, a throw back in time when we use to cruise the city streets listening to our favorite songs of the 50s and 60s and gathered at our favorite hang out with our friends
Our membership is continuing to grow so much that we were growing out of our meeting room, so early into the year the membership voted to cap our active membership at 135. This year we reach our 135 active members and have a waiting list of about 20 wanting to join.
Again this year our social committee put together some wonderfull cruises along the lake Erie shores and the breath taking country sides, we visited wind mills, water falls Ridge Road Estate Winery and Ron Harts private car collection. We also attened the outdoor car shows like the Brantford Down Town show and the Waterford show. The Remember When Cruise was held again this year and was even bigger than last year, and of course our annual picnic and Christmas dinner.
1954 to 2011
To celebrate the 55th Anniversary the club put on a large display of members rides and memorably at the Toronto Car Show, and the Paris Unfinished Nationals where the Piston Pushers where honored. After the show a dinner and celebration of the clubs 55 years of histor took place.
This year our car show committee entered the London Auto Show, Hans Drop, Mark Rogerson and Mike Roi put together an awesome display that was awarded the Ourstanding Display Award. Our car show committee also presented a trophy that was designed by some of our members to Wayen and Dorothy Hartely for their beautifull 1934 Chev Coupe.
This year again was memorable year filled with many events thanks to our committies hard work and comitment to bring us theys memorable events. Like the cruise to Boot Hill Restoratio shop in Erin Ont.The 3rd annual Remember When Cruise, which is getting bigger and better each year. The Brantford Downtown Show. The Hartman Bash in London. Our annual Picnic, The Soap Box Derby, The tip to Frankenmuth Car Show in the States and the many other cruises and cruise nights many of us attended. We also had a look at some of the projects under way. We ended the year with a joyus Christmas dinner and fellowship.