BOB Denny has had an impressive career on the Southern Downs, building an Allora family business into a national player that reached into global markets, but it's what he got up to in his downtime that may be even more impressive.

Over the past 50 years Mr Denny has built a passion for vintage cars into a genuinely impressive personal collection of very rare and historic vehicles.

The collection, which totals 15 old cars, nine of which are being housed in one of Mr Denny's sheds.

 

A stunning vintage car from Bob Denny's private collection.
A stunning vintage car from Bob Denny's private collection. Jonno Colfs

"It's good to have a place I can head to and enjoy the cars and work on them," he said.

"It's a pretty big job keeping them clean and in working order, dust is a real enemy.

"I doubt I'll get any more, I've probably got enough now, but you never know."

Mr Denny said his love of cars stemmed from his childhood.

"My grandfather owned Buicks and my uncle taught me to drive in one," he said.

"My first car was a 1927 Essex that I bought off Charlie Bishop here in Allora in 1964.

"I think it's just how it was in that era; everybody had an FJ and you couldn't buy a hotted-up car, you had to do it yourself."

 

Another couple from Bob Denny's personal collection.
Another couple from Bob Denny's personal collection. Jonno Colfs

Mr Denny sold Denny's Engineering a year and a half ago and agreed to stay on with the business as head of sales and design for two years.

"I've got six months to go, but who's counting," he said.

"I'm not going to be bored, we want to get out and travel the world a bit.

"I'd like to do a few more rallies and I don't spend as much time down here with these cars as I'd like but that'll change when I retire."

Among some of the cars in Mr Denny's collection are his favourite, a 1930 Pierce-Arrow, the only car of its kind in the country, a 1929 LaSalle Cadillac, a 1938 Packard Limousine, and a 1941 Imperial Limousine Cadillac from Berkeley, California.

One story that stands out is of his 1939 McLaughlin Buick Limousine.

"I bought the car 30 years ago from an old bloke in Toowoomba," he said.

"I didn't know at the time it was such a famous car.

"I'm a member of the Buick Club and put a letter in the Buick journal looking for parts and I got a heap of letters from people letting me know it was a government car.

"Then I asked the old bloke I bought it from and he gave me the whole story.

"It turns out this car was the prime minister's official car during the war years, from 1939 onwards.

"Sir Robert Menzies and Ben Chifley used this vehicle and there's a photo somewhere of John Curtin and US General Douglas Macarthur sitting in the car."

That particular car however, is going to take a little (or a lot) more work, according to Mr Denny.

"It's all rusty and in a millions pieces in the shed," he said.

"That's a big job, one for the retirement."



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