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Car enthusiasts enjoy the countryside

Wednesday, 6th April, 2011

TRIO OF CAR BUFFS: (From left) Peter Hawkins with a 1917 Studebaker, Ian Berg with a 1910 Cadillac, and Francis Ramsley and his wife Elaine with their 1905 Darracq. TRIO OF CAR BUFFS: (From left) Peter Hawkins with a 1917 Studebaker, Ian Berg with a 1910 Cadillac, and Francis Ramsley and his wife Elaine with their 1905 Darracq.

Three veteran car enthusiasts who stopped in the city for private visit this week ended up joining the local car club on a drive Silverton.

Ian Berg, Peter Hawkins and Francis Ramsley were on their way to Mittagong in New South Wales for a national car rally.

They and their wives had come from a rally in Strathalbyn, SA, and stopped over because of a family link. 

"My wife's grandmother was born in Broken Hill and she is trying to find out where she lived," said Mr Berg, who drives a 1910 Cadillac

"I lived in America for four years. I was looking for an old car," he said.

He said what he liked about the older model Cadillacs was that they were right-hand drive.

"All the early cars built were right hand drive and then they went to left-hand drive."

Mr Berg owns five veterans cars and said his interest came from learning about the history of the Cadillac.

"It is interesting in a mechanical point of view," he said. "It is very simple to understand. You can use some wire, duct tape and a spare bolt or two to get it home somehow."

Mr Hawkins has a 1917 Studebaker which he has restored and owned for 12 years.

"It had done 5,000 miles when I bought it. It had sat in the shed most of its life," he said.

He also owns 14 other cars and has been collecting them for 20 years. He said he hoped to have another 20 by the time he had finished.

Mr Ramsley was driving a 1905 Darracq which he has owned for about 15 years.

"I had to restore it. I chased bits all over the world and even made some parts," he said.

The Darracq is the only one of its kind in Australia and Mr Ramsley has 22 other cars in his collection.

"It is very addictive ... it is worse than drugs. I only wanted one car," he said.

Mr Ramsley and Mr Hawkins live in Tasmania and met Mr Berg, who lives in Melbourne, through their passion for veteran cars.

The enthusiasts decided not to drive their prize vehicles across the country. They brought trailers to keep them in good condition for the rallies.

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