One of the most iconic sights in Chilliwack is staying right where it is, even as the business it’s promoting closes.
The famed ‘pink car’ that sits atop the Pick-A-Part sign has been seen by hundreds of thousands of travelers since one of John Davy’s employees first had the idea to put it up. Day and night the car’s headlights are on, a comforting welcome-to-Chilliwack sight visible from the freeway as you near the Lickman Road exit.
So popular is the pink car that an online movement is afoot to save it, and move it to the middle of the new Lickman Road roundabout.
But Davy, the founder and owner of Pick-A-Part, has no intention of moving it.
“I think I’m going to leave it where it is for now,” he mused. “I own the land and it costs me nothing to leave it sitting there, so I have no reason to take it down.
“I’m thinking I should get up there when there’s a break in the weather and paint over the facings, but the sign might work for a developer.
“It’d just cost money to pull it all apart, and for what reason?”
The origin of the Pick-A-Part sign is a story in itself.
Davy opened the business in 1990 and wanted to put up something big and visible to draw the eyeballs.
“I wanted to make a statement,” he said with a smile.
Davy researched what he could do and, with the help of Jack Hoogendoorn from Cross Country Contracting, erected the largest sign that City of Chilliwack bylaws allowed.
A dozen poles were sunk into the ground and they were covered by massive facings. Two sides featured the Pick-A-Part logo in huge black letters painted across a yellow surface.
You couldn’t miss it if you tried.
“Then I was down at ICBC buying salvage one day, and I saw this ‘grad car’ that some kids had painted bright pink with a brush or roller,” Davy reminisced. “I bought it for $100 bucks, brought it home, and one of the guys suggested putting it up on the sign.
Once the car was put atop the sign, Davy was technically over the height allowed in the bylaws.
“I thought it was a good feature, but right away I got push-back from the City,” he said. “I told them to get over it, and they told me that if I ever take that car down I’ll never be able to put it back up again.”
It’s never moved from its perch.
A half dozen times in the last 25 years, John or his employees have been up there giving it a fresh coat of paint.
“Just hot pink by the gallon from Sherwin-Williams, not automotive quality,” Davy laughed. “That car is 25 feet in the air, but if you got a little closer to it, you’d realize it’d take some serious work and you’d have to spend lots of money to get it looking good enough that you could walk past it.
“Somebody driving by on the highway at 100 clicks, it’s just a pink car. But if you wanted to put it on display, it’d take a lot of work.”