PRIDE AND JOY: John Hoerlein with his 1910 Hupmobile that he restored 40 years ago at his Sadliers Crossing home.
PRIDE AND JOY: John Hoerlein with his 1910 Hupmobile that he restored 40 years ago at his Sadliers Crossing home. Sarah Harvey

JOHN Hoerlein has had a life-long love of vintage cars, driven by the thrill of turning scrap metal into something that switches on and lives.

The Sadliers Crossing 79-year-old has got rid of most of his cars since his wife Daphne died but still has a 1910 Hupmobile.

"When I got it, it was just scrap metal. It never even had an engine," Mr Hoerlein said.

"We gradually built it up; the parts that were missing, we made."

The Hupmobile was rebuilt under his house 40 years ago as the Ipswich Veteran and Vintage Vehicle Club was starting.

"Some people in the club gave me some wooden wheels and I repaired them," he said. "For the hub-caps, I made a fire in the neighbour's yard, melted the aluminium and poured and machined them.

"All the woodwork I did myself. A friend of mine found the radiator at Goondiwindi."

The engine, radiator, gearbox, differential and chassis are genuine but the brass was missing because the shearers used to pinch it and sell it.

John's father had a 1929 Triumph Super Seven and John and his brother were keen on old cars but Daphne fired his interest.

"I completely restored an MG TF because that's what I met her in and we went through our second childhood in that," he said.

"When I was a boy I had an Austin Seven. When we formed the vintage car club 40 years ago, Daphne said 'You can't join unless you restore the Austin Seven for me'.

"We used to go to a lot of invitation rallies - to Nambour and Rockhampton, to Tasmania once and Windsor in NSW.

"The longer it goes since Daphne died, the less enthusiasm I have for cars.

"It's hard work driving it and you've got no one to go crook at you; you've got to have someone to tell you to slow down or go faster or tell you to watch out when you're going around a corner. That's half the fun."


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