ON WINGS: Col Dipplesmann took his 1966 XP Flacon up the Toowoomba bypass and said the car
ON WINGS: Col Dipplesmann took his 1966 XP Flacon up the Toowoomba bypass and said the car "flew". Ebony Graveur

Former bus driver tests new bypass with first passenger

NOT everyone gets to say they had a part in the making of the mayor.

But, for 20 years, Col Dipplesmann drove a school bus in Gatton and one of his passengers was Tanya Milligan.

Now favouring vintage vehicles above machines of mass transit, Col returned - briefly - to the good old days, taking Lockyer Valley Regional Council Mayor Tanya Milligan along for a ride.

For the opening of the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, Col and other members of vintage car club, Lockyer Antique Motor Association, travelled as a fleet up the Toowoomba bypass on Sunday morning, September 8.

He said his 1966 XP Ford Falcon "flew” up the new road.

"It just flew, it was top gear all the way and it's a beautiful road,” Col said.

"We went up and down it twice.”

The way Col came to own the 1966 XP Ford Falcon was unusual: He bought the car from his granddaughter who decided she was fed up with running a car so old.

For Col, whose first car was a vintage Humber Super Snipe, the idea of driving a 1960s car was exhilarating and provided a sense of nostalgia.

"They brought out EH Holdens around 1964,” Col said.

"So Ford built the XP Falcon to sort of compete with the Holden and, I think, they were a little bit flasher and that sort of thing.”

Ten years later, Col said the sky blue and cream 1966 XP Falcon was still the car of his dreams.

"It drives well, handles well,” he said. "It probably isn't as smooth as a modern car but it's pretty good on the road and it's great for rallies. It's my main vehicle now.”

In the time he has owned the car, Col has altered its interior, improving its appearance in a number of ways.

Col had the paint touched up in Esk a few years ago and Col's grandson, who works as an upholsterer, upgraded the car's hood lining, and the seats while door cards were replaced.

"He did the job for me,” Col said.

Next on the agenda is replacing the floor, which shows some signs of wear.

"And the floor rubbers,” Col said. "They have not been replaced yet.

"And the door rubbers - they're okay but they will need replacing down the track.”

Before he bought the Falcon, Col drove a GMC truck.

"I had an old 1927 GMC truck, which I got rid of,” he said.

"I had it for years but a bloke wanted to buy it so I sold it.”

He said his favourite adventure with the 1966 Falcon XP was to take it on rallies with the LAMA club.

"They're mainly around the district here, some are up on the Downs and some are in Warwick,” he said.

"The wife and I go and enjoy going out with people.

"We have up to 25 cars on those rallies.”

He said both he and his wife had been in the LAMA club since it started, though the rallies didn't take off right away.

"It's been quite a few years now, with tandem midweek rallies starting in 1992,” he said.

"We've just been to the Dalby car rally and the North Coast. We've been to quite a few invitation-only rallies.”

For the Laidley Spring Festival at the weekend, Col took the car for a spin, completing the circuit through the towns CBD twice.

Next up, the LAMA club has a rally organised for the first weekend of October.

According to Trade Unique Cars website, the Ford Falcon (1965 - 1966) XP was the first Falcon to sell more than 70,000 units during its production life.

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