Fraser Coast Historic Vehicle Club life members (from left) Geoff Negus, Frank Lang, Ron Schiefelbein and Ken Caulley will celebrate 50 years of their club with a luncheon and rally.
Fraser Coast Historic Vehicle Club life members (from left) Geoff Negus, Frank Lang, Ron Schiefelbein and Ken Caulley will celebrate 50 years of their club with a luncheon and rally. Boni Holmes

For the love of restoring cars

THE Holden Monaro and Fraser Coast Historic Vehicle Club have something in common - they were both founded in 1968.

Though unlike the Monaro, which has long since departed the scene, the FCHVC has gone from strength to strength.

Fourteen men attended what came to be known as the Maryborough Antique and Classic Motor Club for the inaugural meeting in 1968 at the School of Arts building.

Now a life member, Ron Schiefelbein reflects on his days tinkering with old engines.

"I started off when I was 16 with a '27 Chevrolet ute - sold that and bought the '28 Chevy, which I still have now.

"I have bought another five or six since then."

 

The late Sam Hecker and former patron of the Fraser Coast Historic Vehicle Club with his dog sitting in his restored Didion.
The late Sam Hecker, former patron of the Fraser Coast Historic Vehicle Club, with his dog sitting in his restored Didion. contributed

Mr Schiefelbein knew others who attended that initial meeting and said Sid Parkinson from Parkinson's Wrecking Yard was the founder.

Life member Geoff Negus, who missed the initial meeting but made it to the second, said he'd always had an interest in cars.

"The aim of the club is to preserve old cars for future generations to enjoy," Mr Negus said.

"When this club formed in 1968 it was purely for vintage and veterans cars - veteran being pre-1919 and vintage was pre-1932.

"That was why the club was formed - cars built after the '30s could come along for runs but they weren't eligible for club membership."

The club was an early member of the Combined Council of Vintage and Veteran Car Clubs that pushed the Queensland government for concessional registration for eligible vehicles.

 

Fraser Coast Historic Vehicle Club members take a rally run to Atherton in May 1990. They were known then as Maryborough Antique and Classic Motor Club.
Fraser Coast Historic Vehicle Club members took a rally run to Atherton in May 1990. They were known then as Maryborough Antique and Classic Motor Club. contributed

Interested more in cars from the '30s, Mr Negus would take his vehicles on the rallies and runs.

"Early club runs started under the trees on Alice St, where the McDonald's entry is now," he said.

"They would include observation runs, treasure hunts and participation events like street parades and school centenaries."

Some of the more exciting runs were where members would hitch up the trailer and scour backyards, farm sheds and under homes.

"In the early days of the club, vintage and veteran cars could still be found under Maryborough homes and in farm sheds," Mr Negus said.

"Many expeditions were made by members with a car trailer attached looking for these cars and parts."

Another venture earlier members delved into was the restoration of the '34 Chev tip truck that was used as the Wilson Hart Sawmill's firewood dump truck.

"Every two months we would have a working bee on the truck," Mr Schiefelbein said.

"We got it from working condition to club condition, a few hours now and again.

"It took about four or five years."

 

Fraser Coast Historic Vehicle Club's members took years to restore a 1934 Chevrelot tip truck which is housed and maintained at life member Ron Schiefelbein's home.
Fraser Coast Historic Vehicle Club's members took years to restore a 1934 Chevrolet tip truck, which is housed and maintained at life member Ron Schiefelbein's home. Boni Holmes

The truck is owned by Mr Schiefelbein but is operated by the club and used to cart equipment for their rallies.

When Frank Lang joined he had one of the most modern cars in the club and is now one of seven life members.

"It was a 1950 Buick and I did 430,000 miles in that - taking it to Western Australia, Tasmania, everywhere," he said.

"Even though it was a straight Eight Buick and it could cruise all day long at 50 mile an hour, which is 85-90 kilometres an hour.

"Now it is a hindrance on the road to modern traffic doing 110."

 

This 1935 Chevrolet truck was restored by Fraser Coast Historic Vehicle Club members, including Frank Lang (left) and Ken Dein, under the guidance of club founding member Ron Schiefelbein between July 1987 to July  1992.
This 1935 Chevrolet truck was restored by Fraser Coast Historic Vehicle Club members, including Frank Lang (left) and Ken Dein, under the guidance of founding member Ron Schiefelbein between July 1987 and July 1992. contributed

When speaking to the Maryborough Herald, all members present agreed.

"Veteran cars have all but left the scene due to the roads - the cars are too slow and not suitable for highway driving," Mr Schiefelbein said.

"The roads are too dangerous now to take these cars out."

So the club evolved.

"Now in current clubs around the place cars only have to be 30 years old - so cars that were built in 1988 are eligible," Mr Negus said.

"Our club has also evolved and allowing cars 30 years and older to qualify for concessional registration - so receive cheaper rego. But as such they can only be used on club runs and for testing purposes."

 

Fraser Coast Historic Vehicle Club patron Sam Hecker's big dog sits in front of his car and was a regular passenger in many runs including the Brian Thraite's Memorial Run to Woodgate in 1985.
Fraser Coast Historic Vehicle Club patron Sam Hecker's big dog sits in front of his car and was a regular passenger in many runs, including Brian Thraite's Memorial Run to Woodgate in 1985. contributed

With more than 80 members, restoration has also dwindled.

"There are only a few people who actually restore antique cars like we did 50 years ago," Mr Schiefelbein said.

"I can't think of too many in our club that restore."

Mr Negus said they used to go on restoration runs.

"We would go around town visiting a member's house who was restoring a car to see how they were progressing," he said.

"We would probably do six to eight in the day.

"The original swap meets, which are now garage and jumble sales, were initially for vintage and veteran car parts."

Veteran cars were well represented in the club, with makes such as De Dion, Hupmobile, Star, T Model Fords and Dodge.

"We had quite a good percentage of veteran cars in the club when it was formed, some going back to 1905," Mr Negus said.

"The first major rally we ran was in 1974 and it was the first run for Ron's 1928 Chevrolet Tourer and most of the cars were from the 1920s.

"Now you have the same rally and you virtually have a show with modern cars."

Between them they have travelled many miles to show their cars and meet other clubs, including to Tasmania, South Australia and one member even shipped his Austin 7 for a show in New Zealand.