One iconic car. Two larger-than-life owners and friends.
Big Red was a familiar sight to many older Peers during the early days of Spinal Cord Injury BC (we were called BCPA back then). The 1975 Pontiac Grand Ville Brougham convertible first belonged to Stan Stronge, SCI BC’s first employee, a pioneering builder of wheelchair sports in our province and a Peer mentor to countless men and women who, like Stan himself, lived with an SCI.
Behind the wheel of Big Red, Stan was a winning competitor at many of SCI BC’s Safe Driving Rodeos in the 1970s and 80s. Originally started to promote our members’ skill and ability using hand controls, this event ultimately convinced policy makers of the day to lift speed restrictions for drivers with SCI. It continued for many years as a favourite annual Peer event.
Big Red also gracefully and reliably provided transportation for numerous Peers during countless road trip adventures and jaunts to the White Spot drive-in, and represented SCI BC in various civic parades and other events. Some 45 years later, our older Peers still swap road trip stories about Big Red.
Over the years, Big Red’s paint faded, the leather seats cracked and the motor didn’t run as smoothly. But it was destined for a second life.
After Stan stopped driving prior to his passing in 1991, the car was purchased by one of Stan’s former colleagues at SCI BC and certainly one of his biggest fans. Wayne Moser, who was a Peer Coordinator for more than a decade until the late 1980s, lovingly restored Big Red from bumper to bumper over the course of several years.
Once again, Big Red could be found on parade routes, with Wayne behind the wheel in place of his old friend. Wayne was an extremely generous and kind person; he was always happy to share the car for charitable or community events.
Our community recently lost Wayne on April 6. Big Red is now resting at Wayne’s home in Port Coquitlam. And perhaps Wayne and Stan are swapping stories once again. Rest in peace.
This article first appeared in our Summer 2019 issue of The Spin and has been edited for our blog. Read the full version alongside other stories, including:
- Clear Vision: SCI and Eye Health
- Reality Check: Neurostimulation Validity
- Adaptive Surfing
- and more!