Bryan Mendiola of Surrey will be bringing his classic surfer van

The man in the surfer van

Chevy Greenbrier one of more than 1,200 classic vehicles on display at 2016 Langley Good Times Cruise-In

While some antique car collectors wince at a single fingerprint on their car, Bryan Mendiola isn’t afraid to get his classic van dirty.

“Mine gets sand all over it,” Mendiola said with a laugh.

“We always go to Blackie Spit at Crescent Beach and not only cruise, we load it up with all the gear. We don’t mind getting it dirty … That’s really what it is for.”

Often seen cruising the coast with paddleboards strapped to the top, Mendiola uses his 1962 Chevrolet Corvair Greenbrier the way it was intended — for family.

Equipped with nine seats, the van has room for his wife and two sons, ages five and nine, as well as his sister and her kids.

“This is the only car that I would say I probably would not sell for a very long time, simply because of the time that I get to spend with my family in it,” Mendiola said.

“It’s not just a love for cars. The reason that I love it is the fact that I get to be with my family during that time.”

Westcoaster Car Show today at the beach. Where Draga belongs.

A photo posted by thecarverysandwichshop (@thecarverysandwichshop) on Jul 31, 2016 at 11:31am PDT

Mendiola has spent more than a decade working with vehicles, but mostly with those that are new. He was a sales manager at various car showrooms, including Kia and Toyota, before leaving to open his own restaurant, The Carvery Sandwich Shop, in South Surrey.

The Greenbrier is the third classic vehicle he has owned. Mendiola also once had a 1962 Cadillac and a 1962 Ford Falcon, but the van is by far his favourite.

Built to rival the iconic Volkswagen Bus, the Chevy Corvair Greenbrier was a novelty for its time. Featuring an air-cooled engine in the back of the vehicle, and two carburetors, its unique setup has made it rather difficult for Mendiola to repair.

When he bought the van five years ago from a lady in New Westminster — who bought it from someone in Crescent Beach, who bought it from someone in Seattle, who bought it from someone in Florida — he couldn’t even get it to start.

With the help of his friend Eric Hicks, Mendiola has replaced many parts of the Corvair engine to get it running again, and has added his own features, such as air ride suspension that is controlled through an app on his smartphone.

“Corvair was kind of like the affordable car of back then. It’s like the Corolla of the 1960s, so it was the people’s car.”

Mendiola has won awards at several different car shows this year, but the one he looks forward to most is the upcoming Langley Good Times Cruise-In.

“I go to a lot of little car shows, like the Tim Horton’s on Friday nights and the KMS Tools one, so you see your typical cars there (whose owners) live out here. But the Langley Cruise-In brings in cars from as far as the U.S. and you get to see unique cars that you normally don’t get to see everyday,” he said.

“And you get to see the really high-end stuff, too. There’s a different level of collecting when you’re dealing with quarter-million dollar cars. And that’s what I love about it, compared to other car shows.”

On Sept. 10, Mendiola and his classic surfer van, which sports light blue paint and a “Carvery Sandwich Shop” decal, will be taking a day off from the beach to attend the Cruise-In event.

Featuring more than 1,200 classic vehicles, the annual show attracts nearly 100,000 people and raises tens of thousands of dollars for local charities.

For more info, visit www.langleycruise-in.com.

Family finally arrived!

A photo posted by thecarverysandwichshop (@thecarverysandwichshop) on Jul 17, 2016 at 1:56pm PDT

Just Posted

VIDEO: Surrey Vaisakhi Parade floods Newton streets

Hundreds of thousands of people attended the annual event

Setting the stage for emerging performers

Variety fundraiser and ongoing open-mics showcase local talent

VAISAKHI EXPLAINED: Founding of the Khalsa was a seminal event in Sikh history

There are five K’s – articles of faith – worn by baptized Sikhs

Four Surrey students head to New Brunswick for Canada-wide science fair

Three projects move to nationals following regional fair at KPU

Man ‘seriously’ injured in crash after driving wrong way on Highway 17: Surrey RCMP

Police say the sedan hit a transport truck, then another car

Dashcam captures close call between minivan, taxi at busy Vancouver intersection

To make the footage more nerve-wracking, a pedestrian can be seen standing at the corner

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Seattle’s 4-20 ‘protestival’ enjoys tolerance, some support – and B.C. could do the same

Seattle’s Hempfest a large-scale occasions with vendors, prominent musical acts and thousands of attendees

Most Read

l -->