PHOTOS: Father’s Day treat for Kingaroy veteran car enthusiast

Graham and Marjorie Crittenden with the 1916 Dodge he restored. Pictures: Anne Skinner

The thrill of bringing old cars back to life has been a lifelong driving passion for Graham Crittenden.

The 81-year-old Kingaroy resident can’t remember a time when he didn’t love learning about cars, and he’s been collecting and restoring veteran vehicles for most of his life.

The oldest member of the Queensland branch of the Veteran Car Club of Australia, he was the guest of honour at a rally to the South Burnett last weekend.

Mr Crittenden restored his first pre-First World War car when he was only 16 years old. He still owns the German-built 1909 Stoewer – and he even has the pedal car he was given as a small child.

“It’s been the greatest thing in my life,” he said.

“It’s taken me to New Zealand, North America, Switzerland and Germany. I’ve met the most wonderful people all around the world.

“It’s been a marvellous life.”

The Brisbane-based club brought 40 cars and about 100 people to Kingaroy and Kumbia for its annual President’s Run to pay a special tribute to Mr Crittenden, whose health no longer allows him to attend the club’s rallies.

“He’s our oldest living member, and he can’t go with us any more, so this year we decided to bring the rally to him,” club president Sally York said.

Mrs York – who is Mr Crittenden’s daughter and has her own passion for veteran cars – described her father as “a legend in the club”.

“He’s been a member forever,” she said.

Mr Crittenden restored, and still owns, one of Queensland’s most classic cars, a 1912 Overland named “Whitey”.

In 1918, “Whitey” – then owned by Freddy Eager of Eager’s Motors in Brisbane – set a record on a run from Brisbane to Toowoomba. A century later to the day, Mr Crittenden recreated the record in a tribute run along the exact same route.

Unfortunately, “Whitey” was unable to attend the weekend rally. However, a 1916 Dodge, also restored by Mr Crittenden, had pride of place in the line-up at the Kumbia Memorial Hall on Sunday, where the rally members enjoyed a barbecue lunch and country music entertainment.

The rally coincided with a barbecue and raffle draw held by the Kumbia Hall Committee. The raffle was originally a major fundraiser for the inaugural Kumbia Country Festival which had to be postponed to next September due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

About 200 locals and visitors thronged the hall grounds, enjoying steak burgers, live country music supplied by local vocalist Richie Hamilton and a visit by the Shannons Super Rig.