Vintage cars go up in flames

AN electrical fault is believed to have started a fire at Paterson that destroyed two rare vintage cars, one, the only of its kind in Australia.

Allen Dunlop, 65, restored the 1910 and 1913 Cadillacs over more than 15 years.

The cars, which were valued about $70,000 each, were destroyed when flames engulfed a machinery shed on a property owned by Mr Dunlop on Webbers Creek Road, Paterson, at 11am on Monday.

Three other Cadillacs, a 1911, 1912 and 1914, were spared because Mr Dunlop and his family were using two of them on a road trip for the long weekend and another was stored in a different shed on the property.

The 1913 Cadillac was the only one of its kind in Australia and it took Mr Dunlop five years to source many of the parts for the restoration.

‘‘It’s pretty sad really, it took five years to find the right light switches,’’ he said.

‘‘I have a bunch of spare parts and I’d really like to look at rebuilding it one day.’’

The 1910 Cadillac can be traced to the Keen family of Dolgelly Station, Moree.

It still sported the original 175 NSW black and white number plates from when it was first registered.

Mr Dunlop, a Newcastle Veteran Car Club of Australia member, initially bought a T-Model Ford, but said his father was concerned it couldn’t keep up with the other cars when he took it out driving.

‘‘I bought the 1911 Cadillac for him to drive and he had no trouble keeping up with it,’’ he said. ‘‘From then on,

I was hooked on them.’’

The timber and corrugated iron shed also contained more than $200,000 worth of electrical equipment.

A police spokesman said an investigation was being carried out to determine the cause of the fire, and due to the value of property lost, a report was being prepared for the coroner.

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