DODGEM CARS: Leon Treadwell from Tweed Heads has finished restoring a 1/3 scale Mini Dodge car originally built in 1949.
DODGEM CARS: Leon Treadwell from Tweed Heads has finished restoring a 1/3 scale Mini Dodge car originally built in 1949. Scott Powick

Replica restored to former glory

TWEED Heads West resident Leon Treadwell will pay the ultimate homage to his late father when he displays his restored mini Dodge at Cooly Rocks On.

His father, Jack, helped to create the one-third scale car in 1949 as a commission for Murwillumbah man Vic Wade.

"My father was one of the first panel beaters on the Tweed," Mr Treadwell said.

He said the car was a snapshot of the old-school handiwork his father was known for at Hewitson's Motors in Murwillumbah.

"This car is all handmade. Dad built the (panel) parts for it," Mr Treadwell said.

 

FORMER GLORY: Jack Treadwell’s mini Dodge replica featured in the newspaper in 1952.
FORMER GLORY: Jack Treadwell’s mini Dodge replica featured in the newspaper in 1952. Contributed

After 40 years and his dad's passing, Mr Treadwell - now also a retired panel beater - tracked down the mini vehicle under Mr Wade's house in Murwillumbah. It was not in good repair.

He hoped restoring it to its former glory and showcasing the handiwork at Cooly Rocks On would be a fitting tribute to its creator, who died nine years ago.

"I wanted to get it back to the way it was," he said.

"I wanted to get it and restore it in memory of what he'd done on it."

Mr Wade wasn't initially keen to part with the machine, but eventually agreed to sell it to Mr Treadwell.

"He was a bit reluctant to sell it because he's got family too," he said.

"It was so dilapidated."

Mr Treadwell was thrilled to be able to restore the car, with the original panels all hand-rolled, lead-wiped and hand-filed.

"Dad took his work to an art form," he said.

Mr Treadwell said there were now many collectors hoping to buy the restored car, which has a working engine, but he was keen to hold onto it in memory of his father.

"There's so many people wanting to buy it because there's just not old panel beaters like that now," he said.

Mr Treadwell's car will be on show at Cooly Rocks On next weekend.

COOLY ROCKS ON:

* When: Full festival June 3-13

* Where: Coolangatta, Tweed Heads

* Street parade: Saturday, June 11 from 9.30am

* What: Over 1300 pre-1970s cars parked in the streets and in parade, 50s and 60s music and dance

* Info: For more details visit coolyrockson.com

CORRECTION: Please note, this article has been altered to reflect the fact Jack Treadwell was one of several tradesmen at Hewitsons Motors in Murwillumbah to work on the original mini Dodge model production. He was commissioned by Vic Wade to do the panel work but Mr Wade oversaw the project.



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