CHEK Upside: Sooke man brings new life to 1928 REO Speed Wagon

WatchWith the pandemic putting Paul Fisher's business on hold, the 62-year-old cabinet maker found plenty of joy in giving a classic automobile a new look.

A few years back, longtime cabinet maker Paul Fisher was seeking a new challenge.

“I’m a woodworker. I was looking for a project where I could combine my woodworking skills with something that was on the road,” said the 62-year-old owner of The English Cabinet Maker.

He searched far and wide, eventually finding a 1928 REO Speed Wagon for sale in Sidney.

“I love old vehicles and I was looking in used ads and saw this old flatbed truck for sale.”

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Paul worked countless hours, using his 40-plus year cabinet-making experience to convert the Speed Wagon into his new company work vehicle. He drives it over 30 kilometres a day to his shop in Victoria.

“Oh it drives perfectly, well, most of the time,” said Fisher, who is currently tweaking the brakes before taking it back on the road.

The classic automobile comes equipped with a wooden steering wheel, a gasoline tank located under the driver seat, brass window handles – considered innovative at the time –and a modern touch or two, including a smartphone holder. His wife painted the sign, and Paul even added a foldable back-seat. His son, James, helped out along the way.

“Yeah we work very well together and he gets a lot of fun out of the vehicle. He loves driving in it,” said Paul.

“It’s always fun hanging out with my dad,” said James. “The most interesting part of working on this vehicle I’d have to say is seeing it finished and seeing the result and seeing how cool it looks.”

Paul says he doesn’t consider himself a car guy and believes anyone can fix up an old relic with some time and a lot of patience.

“I love it, yeah, I love driving it,” said Paul. “The truth is, I was going to finish this project sell it and buy a more modern vehicle and do another one but now I’ve got this one up and running and I’ve fallen in love with it I don’t want to let it go.”

Kevin CharachKevin Charach

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