BILL O’Connor’s 1954 Ford Crestline Sunliner is a piece of Tasmanian history.
And while it likely has plenty of stories to tell, simply finding out why it ended up in Tasmania in the 1950s remains a difficult task.
“We’ve been researching it in the paper but we’re still not sure,” Mr O’Connor said.
“One story was that it was from a Lions Club raffle.
“Another was that an American manager at Boyer paperworks had brought it over for himself.
“It’s been smashed up a couple of times too.”
Fortunately, despite years of neglect throughout its lifetime, the only car of its type in the state managed to survive the crusher.
Mr O’Connor purchased it 25 years ago when it was in a poor state, and he kept it in storage until six years ago when he started the restoration in Launceston.
“I stored it away for 25 years but I always knew I had to save it, its history in Tasmania was too great,” he said.
“We saved it from the crusher. It was too good a car.
“They’re becoming scarce. Only 8000 were made in the US, which is quite a few for Australia, but not many in the US.”
It spent three years with a panel beater, had a new engine built, electric windows and roof installed, and Mr O’Connor built parts of the interior himself to turn it into a right-hand drive.
He drove it on the Launceston streets for the first time on Saturday, and brought it to the Van Diemens Car Show at UTAS Stadium on Sunday where it was admired by onlookers, parked in pride of place with a photographic display telling the story of its restoration.
Mr O’Connor will then transport it to Melbourne for the Victorian Hot Rod Show later this month – just the second time it has ventured out of Tasmania since arriving here.
The Crestline Sunliner was one of about 180 cars and motorcycles entered in the Van Diemens Car Show in Launceston – the longest-running car show in Tasmania.
The show also featured a Lego car building competition for the first time