“We consider all of the established clubs; the ones that have a reputation for supporting the car club culture,” explained Challice. “We also look at special anniversaries, the ages of the clubs and their contributions to their communities. And based on all the factors, we decide which one will be the Featured Club at Motorama.”
For this year’s show, which takes place March 13, 14 & 15 at Toronto’s International Centre, the Brantford Piston Pushers will enjoy the designation of being the 2020 Featured Club at Motorama.
Reacting to the news, the Brantford Piston Pushers proclaimed, “We are the oldest, biggest, fastest car club in Canada. We were registered as a club in 1954 and have been hot-rodding the Brantford area ever since. Present-day, we are primarily a social club with 125 members.”
Since its inception, the Brantford Piston Pushers have participated in the Southern Ontario drag racing scene, playing an instrumental role with the Ontario Timing Association (OTA) and the opening and running of the first drag strip in Canada, Kohler Dragway, now known as Cayuga Dragway at Toronto Motorsports Park.
The club’s founding president, Don Douglas (who remains a member to this day) and founding member Larry Rook, purchased the first ‘Christmas Tree’ in Canada. Over the years, club members have held numerous records at Kohler Dragway, including AA Fuel Altered record holder Charlie Haviland and his ‘Charlie Horse’ dragster in the 1970s.
Each year, the club organizes its famous Remember When cruise on the Saturday after Fathers’ Day, which takes place on June 27 in 2020.
At Motorama, the Brantford Piston Pushers will have 16 vehicles on display in their unique, interactive display, including cars from past members like Ron Lush’s 1940 Plymouth Coupe, Tim Turvey’s Hemi-powered 1929 Model A and Charlie Haviland’s 1923 Bucket T Hemi Altered.
Additionally, the club will have its 1949 panel truck and custom club trailer in the centre display, which features a 3/4-scale version of the club’s old clubhouse sign. Adjacent will be 1955 and 1957 Chevys lined up in front of the original Kohler Dragway ‘Christmas Tree.’ The booth will also feature a 1957 GMC pickup truck sporting some incredible modifications by local car builder Naisbitt Hot Rod and Custom Fab.
“The theme of our display is ‘Memory Lane,’ which is dedicated to past members who have come and gone, and we’re quietly celebrating our 65th anniversary,” said club member Gary Graham.
The Brantford Piston Pushers have built a strong reputation for supporting the local community, working with Brantford-area charities like the Lansdowne Children’s Centre, Crossing Bridges and the Brantford Food Bank. The club also puts on an annual Christmas basket program for local people in need.
Although the Brantford Piston Pushers will be feted as this year’s featured car club, they will not be alone at the show as nearly a dozen other clubs will be represented throughout the show.
Among the other car clubs expected to be on hand in Hall 2 are (in alphabetical order): the Brampton Street Rods, Corvette Club of Durham, Durham Region Mustang Club, Highway 11 Cruisers, Ontario Camaro Club, Ontario Vintage Mopar and the Turbo Buicks of Southern Ontario in Hall 2. In the Hall 4 Mayhem room, The Infidels, The Lead Kings, The SOBs, The Hellions and The Don River River Rats will have vehicles in club displays.
“We’re very happy to welcome the Brantford Piston Pushers as the Featured Car Club at the 2020 Toronto Motorama show,” said Gary Challice. “We’re also very excited about the other clubs that are coming to the show. Showgoers can expect to see great variety and amazing equipment. We’re also looking forward to seeing some neat club displays.”
ABOUT THE PISTON PUSHERS: Founded in 1954, the Brantford Piston Pushers are celebrating their 65th anniversary during the 2019-2020 calendar year. The club was a founding member of the first full-time drag strip in Canada, Kohler Dragway, which remains open to this day under the name Toronto Motorsports Park. Over the years, club members have held numerous drag racing records at Kohler Dragway and remain an important part of their local community through charitable efforts and the club’s annual ‘Remember When’ cruise around Brantford each June.