Damien Veness with his restored 1955 Desoto Fireflight Sportsman Hardtop, winner of the most desired car at the Classic Car Show.
Damien Veness with his restored 1955 Desoto Fireflight Sportsman Hardtop, winner of the most desired car at the Classic Car Show. Jay Cronan

Classic car wins ultimate prize

THE owner of the car that won most desirable of the day at the Summerland Sports and Classic Car Club's 28th annual car show in Lismore yesterday says his wife “tolerates” his hobby.

Boat Harbour-based Damien Veness took out the top prize with his 1955 Desoto Fireflight Sportsman Hardtop, on which he has spent $100,000 since buying it in 2008 from Dakota in the US.

“I bought the car on just a few photos on the internet and brought it home and started building it up the way I wanted it,” Mr Veness said.

“It wouldn't be the cheapest car to buy parts for.

"Even in the States there are not a lot of them anymore, but it certainly is a bit different to everything else that is out there, and I like to be a bit different.”

A labour of love that has absorbed “thousands of hours” of Mr Veness' time, the vehicle has a new 392 Hemi motor and other features, including a vibrant pale-lime-green paint job.

But rebuilding the car has had its challenges.

“The condition of the car was pretty average.

"It was supposed to be better than it was,” Mr Veness explained.

“The first four inches of the car had rotted off, so we replaced it all – I had to source a lot of chrome from the States.”

Mr Veness said his wife Susan liked to go cruising in the car and at least with his hobby she knew where he was – in his shed.

“I have been doing it all my life and so nothing has really changed and she knows that,” he said.

“She knows where I am at. I might be having a few beers out in the shed but I am always working on a car.”

Up to 3000 people strolled through the display of cars and motorbikes at the Clyde Campbell car park, with all proceeds from the event to be donated to the Lismore Lions Club and the Lismore Neighbourhood Centre.

 

‘Most Desirable’ Cars and Motorbike:

  • American and overall – 1955 Desoto Fireflight Sportsman Hardtop.
  • Asian – 1981 Datsun 280ZX.
  • Australian – 1959 Chrysler Royal.
  • British – 1965 Mark I Cortina GT.
  • European – 1981 BMW John Player Special.
  • Motor Cycle – 1962 Norton Café Racer.


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