Car obsession begins with an old Dodge
THE obsession with old cars began for Allan Keys when his grandfather gifted him a green Dodge bought in 1927.
Allan, who was eight at the time and living on the family farm, couldn't wait for a driving licence to try it out.
"It was still driveable. I used to drive it up through the paddocks to primary school," he said.
"We put wooden blocks on the pedals so I could reach.
"I had a hand accelerator on the steering wheel."
That first Dodge is now part of a collection of about 20 veteran and vintage cars, five of them registered for the road.
In addition to that are 40 to 50 old trucks and 40 tractors on the property at Federal.
"The old cars are far more reliable than the modern cars," Allan says.
"In 40 years, the Dodge has only let us down once.
"One thing is, the technology was made to last several lifetimes.
"My youngest son John, he's got two cars of his own.
"We're currently restoring one of his at the moment.
"We do them up - if I had to pay someone to do the work, you're looking at what the car's worth."
Most of Allan's cars were manufactured by Dodge, although a Willys-Knight he owns, made in 1924 in America, was also built to last.
"It was made to do 200,000 miles without being touched," Allan said.
"Even Rolls Royce didn't make cars that good.
"Another interesting one I've got is in bits. It's a 1914 Rio, they were commonly known as Rio speed wagons later on. This is an eight-seater touring car. "They were the early form of buses."
Allan's family share his passion for old cars and regularly join him on outings with the Mt Warning Historic Auto Club and the Northern Rivers Vintage and Veteran Car Club.
He says people are always "amazed" by the older vehicles.
"I have a lot of people come to the farm because of the collection," he said.
"We don't farm these days - it's a lost cause."
The Northern Rivers Vintage and Veteran Car Club currently has 70 members and 72 vehicles/bikes and trucks registered.
It accepts all vehicles/bikes older than December 31, 1980, of original design.
On Sunday, March 4, the club will host an outing to Cram's Farm, via Nimbin.
They will meet with members from the Tweed Valley Vehicle Restorers Club and Gold Coast Antique Auto Club.
Club meetings are held the second Wednesday of each month at the Lismore Workers Club, Keen St, Lismore, at 7.30pm.
The Mt Warning Historic Auto Club meets on the third Sunday of each month at 9.30am at Condong Bowling Club.