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Restoring cars and caravans a labour of love for Llewellyn manager

When Neil Gudenswager moves the Velox to get the Rowvan out so he can get to the Crestline he’s not paying homage to The Castle, it’s just another Saturday morning.

Mr Gudenswager has five cars and five caravans in various stages of repair – and disrepair – in and around his Aladdin’s cave of a shed at Warner.

General Fleet Sales Manager at Llewellyn Motors, the 60-year-old spends most of his waking moments surrounded by cars.

“I’ve always been passionate about cars, maybe it’s a bit of a downfall,” Mr Gudenswager joked.

“I’m not loyal to brands, it’s just got to look good, but I’m probably partial to the British makes because they’re just better looking cars.”

Mr Gudenswager’s journey down the road of restoration started with a 1950 Austin A40.

The key was turned on the 18-month project in 1977 and the British-made classic was registered in 1979.

It was used as a wedding car for Mr Gudenswager and his wife Cheryl before being sold in 1986.

“The A40 was a lovely car but it was a bit impractical, it didn’t really suit a baby bassinet,” Mr Gudenswager said of the decision to sell.

“That first car always stands out – every nut and bolt came off the A40 and we did everything ourselves apart from the upholstery.

“We had another couple of Austins at the time so after selling we just moved them forward and started working on those projects.”

GALLERY: The cars and caravans of Neil and Cheryl Gudenswager.

With car restoration projects picking up speed it was only natural that Mr Gudenswager would turn his attention to the things they tow – caravans.

“The 1948 Rowvan was the first, I bought it off eBay from a guy down in Grafton,” he said.

“We still have it, we’ve taken it to Lightning Ridge, the Blue Mountains and Sydney a couple of times.

“At first we towed it with a HR utility, then a 1960 AP3 Chrysler Royal, then a 1967 XR Falcon.

“We like to tow old vans with an old car. It’s more fun that way.”

When they’re not burning up the bitumen in old cars the Gudenswagers keep it simple, travelling in a Toyota Sahara or Subaru WRX from Monday to Friday.

Weekends are usually reserved for rest, relaxation and restoration.

“I’ll head down to the back shed on a Saturday morning and look at what I’m working on and think ‘okay, today I’m going to focus on this piece and work out where to go from there’,” Mr Gudenswager said.

“When I go to the shed I never take the phone with me, I never work around the clock and I never set a deadline – that’s the easiest way to take the fun out of a project.

“You’ve got to be flexible and you’ve got to like the car or the caravan in the first place because there’s a lot of work involved.

“I say to people ‘if you’re looking for a quick buck then this probably isn’t the place for you’.”

Or in other words, “Tell him he’s dreaming.”

Hit the road with Ipswich First.

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