Looking for a hidden gem in Vancouver? This might be the one.
….if you’re lucky enough to be invited as a member that is.
The Vault lives up to its name: private, full of history and luxurious.
I was welcomed with a drink to my liking, sat at a bar stool alongside a massive granite countertop and waited for Danny (aka Daniel) to show me around this beautiful collection. Looking over the railing to the mezzanine, it’s hard to decide whether the collection of (mostly) classic cars or neon signs draws my attention first.
“Danny, how many signs have you collected over the years?” I asked him. “You know what? I don’t know. I don’t know exactly. I mean, we never counted to be honest with you. But that’s a good question. We never had that question before, and actually we should count them just for the hell of it, right?”
There’s a lot of Vancouver history here. The massive Caps Bicycle signage; Star Weekly; Eight Ball Cafe; The bird from the Drake…
Not long ago I remember taking my left-footed partner for a dance at Frederico’s, and yep – Danny had that sign too. “Fredrico’s? Okay. That’s the best one story that I can tell you. So when I came to Canada in 1972, I was 14 years old, right? And didn’t speak a word of English. And I ended up going to Commercial Drive, worked at the restaurant there. It was called Luigi Mocha. So I washed dishes by hand there. I was 14 years old. I worked there for a couple years for about $50 a week they pay me.” I had found Danny’s favourite sign. “Fredrico was a kid in the band that played there, that was his dad, sisters and brothers. Right? And anyways years went by, the owner of Luigi Mocha passed away. Fredrico took over the restaurant. He used to play there from when he was a kid, a little young kid. So I’m good friends with him. So when the restaurant shut down, I asked if I can have the sign for the place. And he was all excited about me having the sign. The place closed down, we went to Commercial Drive, we took the whole sign apart. It was all in different pieces. Right? And then we put it all into one. And so that’s how Fredrico’s sign in there appeared.”
After a brief tour of the full upper floor we go back down and through a set of more locked doors to the ground floor. Here we have a full washing bay, more than 17 vehicles and a few other member surprises we aren’t allowed to talk about.
Danny points us to two Ford’s a ’61 and ’63 Unibody, a 1966 Mustang Convertible and ’63 Lincoln convertible. So when does he get to drive them? “In the summertime here and there. I’ll drive the Lincoln, and the Mustang once in a while. When you get so many cars, they become kind of a…” ‘…A collection,’ I helped him finish. “That’s about it,” he said, “You know what? And sometimes I’m wondering why do I own so many cars when I don’t get to drive them, right?”
Thank you for welcoming us into your space Danny!
Read more about each car coming up soon!