Belfast Telegraph

The vintage Rolls Royce that's taking Australian couple on a dream tour round Ulster

By Chris McCullough

It took two months to get it to the UK from Australia.

But now their vintage Rolls Royce has arrived, an Australian couple can start their epic six-month road trip around Europe.

Avid car collectors Damien and Vicky O'Doherty live in Ballarat in Victoria, and decided to take one of their unique cars on holiday.

Having picked up their car in England the couple ferried it over to Dublin to start their tour.

They have been driving around Northern Ireland for a week, and attended vintage car rallies in Ballymena and Portglenone.

The O'Dohertys are geared up to stay in a tent beside the car where they can, but their base in Northern Ireland has been with another car collector in Cullybackey, Co Antrim.

And their vehicle of choice is quite a unique specimen, as Damien explained.

He said: "We have been planning this trip for quite some time. I am 65 and my partner a bit more but we are enjoying the trip immensely.

"I have around 15 cars in my collection but decided to bring this one along as it is a bit unique.

"The base unit was made in 1923 and it runs on a Rolls Royce 20 horsepower engine. However, it is now on its third body as it changed over the years.

"Originally it was made as a tourer but in 1932 it was converted to a sedan.

"Sometime during the Second World War it was used to settle a debt to a cabinet maker who in 1948 built the body as we see it today.

"It's made of a light timber frame with three-ply sheeting and then covered in aluminium to keep the weather out.

"I bought the car four years ago and she runs like a sweetie."

The retired accountant loves spending time with his cars.

He liked the Rolls because of the room inside it, perfect for all his camping and travelling gear.

"We brought a tent and sleep beside the car where we can," said Damien. "It's much cheaper for us to camp than pay hotels each night. We can even sleep in the car if the weather is too bad.

"This is our first time in Ireland and in Northern Ireland and it's everything I thought it would be.

"The people are the star of the show. They are so friendly and welcoming. For sure they never saw a car like mine before.

"We shipped the car from Melbourne on March 17 and we collected it in the UK on May 10.

"It's our aim now to go to mainland Britain before heading into France, Spain and down to Italy. We are aiming to be home for November 7 this year.

"The car is going great but if it breaks down beyond repair we will abandon it and carry on with the trip regardless."

He joked: "Thankfully this model has a cigarette lighter socket fitted in it so we can run our sat nav from that, otherwise we would be lost!"

Belfast Telegraph


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