Neil Rodway of Barkers Vale at the swap meet at Lismore Showground.
Neil Rodway of Barkers Vale at the swap meet at Lismore Showground. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Vintage cars full of memories

SOME might contest what defines a vintage car, but for Ralph Nichols, it's all about memories.

Back in 1966, he bought a 1958 Holden FC and it has been a part of the family ever since.

"I've had it for 46 years - it's a joy to be able to say that," he said.

"It was our honeymoon car. We brought three children home from hospital in it and my kids all learnt to drive in it.

"There's a lot of great memories there."

More than 30 vintage car and hotrod owners had vehicles on show at the annual Lismore Automotive Swap Meet at Lismore Showgrounds yesterday.

Mr Nichols, 66, of Mullumbimby recently spent $34,000 restoring his Holden and said he enjoyed showing off his vintage car and admiring others.

"It's like a religion or a cult," he said.

"Your enthusiasm's here, it's a joy to be here and the smell of the hotrod fuel gets up your nose."

The swap meet gave enthusiasts a place to display and sell just about anything to do with automobiles.

Co-ordinator Peter Nielsen said the event has evolved and expanded in the past decade.

"It used to be called a Vintage Swap Meet but now it accommodates automotive, bikes, cars and you also get your collectables and antiques," he said.

"It's had to accommodate everything now because there's not that much vintage stuff left."

However, there were some 100-year-old automotive parts at the swap meet.

Yesterday, bargains were abundant and Lynne Syrjanen of Dorrigo was looking for old European tools.

"I just found an old Swedish pair of pliers," she said.

"If you go to Bunnings, a lot of the time it's Chinese tools and they're not good quality, so it's good to be able to get some sturdy old English, German and Swedish tools."

Mr Nichols said if average cars are kept in their original condition, they may be defined as vintage down the track.

"I always knew if I kept this one long enough that one day it would be a vintage car."



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