Chrysler royalty rallies in Warrnambool

PAUL Ryan doesn’t care that his 1963 Imperial Crown convertible only gets 6.4 kilometres to the litre of petrol.

He didn’t buy the 5.8-metre-long, claret-coloured car for its fuel economy.

He bought it for style and the lavish convertible has buckets of it.

The Imperial convertible is one of the stallions from the Chrysler stable that have gathered in Warrnambool this week for the Australian Chrysler Restorers Club National Rally.

Mr Ryan fell in love with the convertible, once owned by the Emir of Kuwait, when he was 18.

He waited 44 years for an opportunity to buy it and has had a lot of fun with it since.

“There’s no point in having it and not driving it,” Mr Ryan said.

However, driving it across the Nullarbor was “a bridge too far”  and Mr Ryan put it on a trailer to get to last week’s Motorfest in Adelaide, where it completed 800 kilometres in festival events, before he took it on to this week’s Warrnambool rally.

His story is one of numerous tales of passion for vehicles of yesteryear that enliven the rally, which has attracted more than 160 vehicles from at least seven models in the Chrysler stable.

Apart from Chrysler and Imperial, other models in the rally include Valiant, De Soto, Plymouth, Dodge and Fargo, with the oldest vehicle a 1916 Dodge Tourer.

Rally co-organiser Mark Fenton said most of the cars in the rally were from Chrysler’s pre-electronic days that allowed owners to work on them in their garages.

“Everyone loves working on their cars,” Mr Fenton said.

“It keeps the passion alive.”

For some, their passion for Chrysler has spanned most of their adult lives.

The national rallies are held every three years and there are eight people in this rally who have been to all 13 rallies.

Some participants have taken their love of nostalgia to admirable lengths and added 1940s-style teardrop caravans to their vintage vehicles, taking about two days to reach Warrnambool from Adelaide.

Locals will be able to see a parade of the rare and unusual cars in the rally when it tours through Warrnambool’s central business district today from 9am, before heading to Timboon and Port Campbell.

The tour through the city will be led by a Victoria Police Chrysler 300 SRT8, one of the modern Chrysler models underpinning the make’s resurgence.

A public display of the rally cars will be held from 10am-2pm at Lake Pertobe Park on Saturday.

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