1

A passion for wheels

Crescent Valley’s Ray Kosiancic was acquiring vehicles before he could legally drive them.



Fourth in a series of pioneer profiles

Crescent Valley’s Ray Kosiancic was acquiring vehicles before he could legally drive them.

In 1947, at age 14, he bought a tired and worn 1928 Model A Ford for $150 and put in a rebuilt motor. The following year, he got his driver’s license.

Since then he’s owned and driven all manner of automobiles, from school buses to milk trucks, farm equipment to classic cars — as often as not rescuing them from oblivion.

“I have about a dozen, but some don’t count,” he says. “They need to be restored. I’ve got models I really like but I’m not going to do it. Takes a lot of time, and at this stage I just enjoy driving them.”

(His favourite is a yellow 1972 GM Screaming Jimmy that has Slocan Motor Freight decaled on the side.)

Kosiancic has restored all three of his father’s trucks, beginning with a 1927 Chev one-ton used on the family farm, which he and his siblings learned to drive on.

“It was a workhorse for years, up until 1950 when Dad bought a new GMC ton and a half. We used that truck for delivering wood and sawdust when the sawmill was running.”

Long abandoned in the field by the time Kosiancic set to work, “it was in terrible shape,” with the old wooden cab falling off.

“So I started out from a frame and restored the wheels, put a steam engine in it, built a body for it, and spent a good three years just working on that little truck. It’s become quite famous, especially with the steam clubs.”

He also has the 1950 GMC plus a 1937 three-ton that were in equally bad shape, but have since been returned to their original glory.

Some of Kosiancic’s vintage cars have been in movies: he rented them out for Snow Falling on Cedars — although covered with fake snow, they were unrecognizable. An all-day shoot aboard the old MV Anscomb on Kootenay Lake resulted in a one-second scene.

His vehicles and farm will be shown to better advantage in the forthcoming L.V. Rogers production Project Turquoise Snowflake. Kosiancic turned down a speaking part — he appears in the background “here and there” — but the farm was one of the primary sets.

“Old vehicles, plus everything from the house to the shop to the garden, to views of the land. They did a lot of shooting out here,” he says.

Kosiancic, 78, still owns 15 acres of the original 400-acre family property his grandfather acquired more than a century ago. He grew up helping his uncle Jack on the farm, and then bought it when he was 24, after much haggling with the bank.

“I finally got a down payment and went from there. It was so hard because there wasn’t much income and I didn’t really know what to do. I tried a little of everything from pigs to chickens to some root crop.”

But what really paid the bills was milk. He and late wife Ida ran Raida’s Dairy (a combination of their first names) and delivered raw milk from Slocan Park to Corra Linn until tightened regulations forced them to quit in the early 1970s.

Kosiancic then spent 25 years as a popular school bus driver — and after retirement, bought his own bus, “just for the hell of it.”

His family photos are featured throughout Rita Moir’s recent book, The Third Crop, whose title he helped inspire.

Just Posted

Nelson, Salmo councils decline to contribute to preservation of Cottonwood forest

The decisions have effectively stalled negotiations between the RDCK and the landowner, Kootenay Land Corporation

KBRH on watch for bed bugs after two recent cases

Spokesperson Mandy Lowery says there has not been a bed bug sighting at KBRH since Dec. 8

Avalanche Canada issues special public warning

Very weak layer buried under recent snow a cause for concern

Coffee card donations return at Wait’s News

The program supplied over 200 cards last year

Trafalgar students build home for sanctuary horse

Grade 8 students collaborated on a project with a local farm sanctuary

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Final phase of Kelowna hospital cardiac centre completed

Finishing new recovery rooms marks completion of $381 million project

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Most Read