WHEELY OLD: Gary Ellis, of the Stanthorpe Historical Vehicle and Machinery Group, with his original 1947 Humber.
WHEELY OLD: Gary Ellis, of the Stanthorpe Historical Vehicle and Machinery Group, with his original 1947 Humber. Deirdre Smith

Historic cars get into gear

NICHE markets such as historic cars are one way Stanthorpe gets the tourist dollars rolling in.

The Stanthorpe Historical Vehicle and Machinery Group's Winter Run will see between 12 and 20 cars and associated owners from southern Queensland and northern New South Wales staying for the entire three-day program, starting on Friday, August 2.

Club president Gary Ellis said many stay even longer, organising a holiday around the event.

A full program includes a meet-and-greet on the Friday, a drive around the district and dinner on Saturday and a display at the showgrounds on Sunday.

And it's not just cars but tractors and vintage earthmovers as well, all of which will arrive by trailer.

"It's vast in tastes of what we get,” he said.

Mr Ellis' own interest in cars is also quite particular, not only does he drive around Stanthorpe in a 1947 Humber, he is also restoring a Leyland P76, a particular 6-cylinder manual model so rare that only 567 were made.

Humber is hardly a household name but they rivalled Rolls Royce for status back in their heyday.

The Pullman version even came with a glass partition and a built-in bar for the rear passengers. That assumes that there was a chauffeur up front.

Unlike many old car fans, who want their car to look showroom-shiny, Gary is happy to keep his old girl with a few "war wounds” and he has chosen not to paint it.

"It's only original once,” he said.

The car also comes with "suicide doors”, which open forward and despite the diminished safety they provided, they were popular between the 30s and 50s for the easy access they allowed to the car.

Rather than having the car registered as a historic vehicle, which limits its use, Mr Ellis prefers a normal registration, meaning he can drive the car whenever he wants.

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