Jack and Eve Baker
Octagon Newsletter … January 2002
By Wayne Watkins
Over the years we have seen many Victoria MG Club members’ MGs and other British cars but there are many we haven’t seen or known about. This month we look at the cars of Jack and Eve Baker. There is a surprise or two as well.
Eve learned to drive on a Triumph Spitfire. It was a brand new car from Thomas Plimley in Victoria. As a new driver, Eve found the Spitfire a bit of a challenge as it had no synchro in 1st. Eve recalls learning the double clutching technique. It served her well on her many trips to Pender Island. Then it was on to an almost new dark blue Triumph TR6 also purchased from Plimley’s. The TR6 would turn out to be Eve’s favourite car. The next "interim" car was a TVR which she had for a short time.
Ah, now to MG. Eve’s next British car was a 1970 split bumper MGB and she still has the owner’s manual. Eve’s most memorable trip in the 'B' was her drive to the hospital - that’s when Stacey was born! A good part of Stacey’s first summer was riding around in Mom’s 'B', with the top down of course. Eve remembers her first and only ticket. The officer took issue with the plastic rear window in the convertible top that was cloudy instead of clear. He must of been having a bad day because the ticket also included a penalty for no current motor vehicle inspection sticker!
Jack first learned to drive on a ‘49 Austin. (I think a lot of us did - I did.) On to a ’54 Anglia coupe. Jack’s first MG was the fourth MGA to arrive in Vancouver in September, 1955. It was a bright red 1956 MGA purchased from Docksteader Motors in Kerrisdale in Vancouver. It didn’t even have a heater because that was an option that wouldn’t be available for another four months. At the time, Jack was driving for Loomis. (Can you picture Jack packing a .38 ?!?) Jack raced the MGA at the Abbotsford and Bellingham racetracks and took second place at one of the races. His prize was two cans of Bardahl.
Jack thought it prudent to sell the MGA after his employer, now the motor vehicle branch, indicated he not impressed with their newest driver examiner arriving to work in a bright red MGA race car with a big number 54 on the doors.
Later Jack bought a blue used TR6 form the local Nissan dealer. Fast forward to 1987 and Jack found a nice 1975 MGB (which he still owns). Jack trundled off to his local bank manager who said "No problem Mr. Baker, you can have the financing you need on two conditions - you have to take the MGB to Mike Owen to have it checked and you have to join the Victoria MG Club". His bank manger, at the time, was Jeremy Why! Over the years Jack’s 'B' has been well sorted out while staying factory stock. (who’s factory?)
Jack has put many happy miles on the 'B' including one of the All British Field Meets in Springfield, Oregon where he won awards for 1st Judged, 1st Peoples Choice and 2nd in the Slalom. The 'B' has taken Jack to Laguna Seca twice, to Lake Tahoe twice and many interior trips including Rally in the Rally. With a smile Jack fondly remembers a trip to Lake Tahoe with Al Fraser, with top down all the way even with rain, snow and hail on Highway 395 in Oregon. Good memories.
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