Jesse Wayne Olson
Born: September 25, 1930
Died: February 24, 2014 (Surrey, British Columbia)
Member: Greater Vancouver Motorsports Hall of Fame (2008)
Boots Olson learned the craft of painting and pinstriping automobiles at a North Hollywood, Calif., shop alongside the legendary Kenny Howard, better known by his nickname Von Dutch.
In 1955, Olson moved to Spokane, Wash., where he opened a business at a car wash, charging $20 to paint cars. He later moved to Seattle, where he purchased and redesigned his masterwork, a 1963 Corvette Stingray he named Fantasia and which he decorated in an exotic style. The vehicle won numerous awards at car shows in Washington State and British Columbia, including the people’s choice award at the 1964 Chilliwack (B.C.) Custom Car Association show. Two years later, he claimed three trophies (best sports car, best paint, best interior) with Fantasia at the Inland Empire show at Spokane, Wash.
He moved to the Lower Mainland in 1970, operating a custom-car shop in the False Creek warehouse district. He later moved his shop to New Westminster and, later, Surrey, where he lived and continued painting and striping into his 80s.
Olson was inducted into the Greater Vancouver Motorsports hall of fame as a pioneer in the custom car category.
A sample of Boots Olson’s handiwork.