– Story by Maggie Jackson Photography by Don Denton
Langford City Councillor, Matt Sahlstrom, has been in love with cars since he was a toddler. “My parents have always maintained my first word was car. When I was around three years old, we lived next door to my Uncle Richard, a car collector, on what is now Knockan Hill in Victoria.
Matt’s first classic car was a 1965 Mustang. “I had a 1968 Ford custom, 2-door post, but when I owned it, it wasn’t a classic yet. My first stock car back in 1977 was a 1956 Ford,”
Matt bought his Mustang from a family friend. It had sat in his garage for 10 years when Matt bought it. “I’ve owned the 1965 Mustang for about 19 years now. It’s special to me because it comes with a history that is close to me. The previous owners knew I would take good care of it. We still call it “Josh” as the previous owner had requested.
Matt’s other car is a 1984 Ford Thunderbird Fila. This car is as unique as it is classic as there were only 500 made. Of those, only two of these rare birds came to BC. Matt was able to purchase it from the original owner about 10 years ago. “Everything on the T-bird Fila is 100% original,” he said. “I always regretted selling my 1986 Thunderbird years ago. My younger brother Robert, a Ford mechanic at Suburban Motors, found the Fila Thunderbird online and alerted me right away. He knew it would fill the gap the ’86 left in my heart and my garage.”
The Thunderbird has some interesting options including: a kidnap latch in the trunk, white leather interior, toggle for premium sound and a hand pump that inflates the seat for lumbar support. “The lights also come on when it gets dark,” Matt said. “Which was very premium for 1984.”
When it comes to driving his classics, Matt knows just where to take them. “I love to drive these cars through the country roads of Langford and Metchosin and drive along the Esquimalt Lagoon. I love the fresh air, the peacefulness, the winding left and right turns. Most of the time it’s like I’m the only person on the road. No one tailgating me or rushing me. I just get to take it all in, the scenery and the pleasure of driving these cars.”
Matt would also love to get his hands on a 1959 Cadillac. “I’m the same age as the car,” Matt said. “I love the huge fins and the characteristic front grill. My Mom and Dad gave me a 1959 Cadillac Bourbon Decanter on my 50th birthday.”
In a perfect world, he’d also have a 1935 Chrysler 2 door businessman coupe. “My uncle Richard had one of those too. It was kept in a heated garage on its own and covered in blankets. I used to sit in that car for what seemed like forever, dreaming of owning it and driving it on the streets. Maybe someday.”