Calgary man confirmed dead in accident during English vintage car rally

CALGARY — A well-known oilman and philanthropist has been confirmed as the man who died in a fatal crash during a vintage car rally in England.

Ron Carey, 80, of Calgary died Sunday on the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run in a vehicle 36 years older than he was — a 1903 Knox Porcupine.

“Whatever he did, he was both feet in,” said Carey’s longtime friend Glen Richardson.

Hundreds of classic cars from all over the world take part in the rally, which has been held since 1927. It is an annual celebration of the 1896 Locomotives on the Road Act, which removed requirements for all cars to be preceded by a man with a red flag and set a speed limit of 23 km/h.

British media reports say Carey died as he was steering his vintage ride onto the M23 motorway, a major English north-south artery. His car, one of the original horseless carriages, was struck by a heavy-duty truck.

Carey’s wife, Billi, who was a passenger, was flown to hospital with serious head injuries.

A spokesman for the event said Carey had left the rally’s marked route, which does not include the M23.

Richardson said his friend, who had collected millions of dollars worth of antique cars, had taken part in classic car rallies around the world. Carey had driven a 1915 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost in rallies in the eastern U.S. and Europe, and once drove from Mexico to Alaska in a Diamond T truck he restored himself.

Most of Carey’s collection, which included a substantial amount of gas station memorabilia, was donated to Gasoline Alley at Calgary’s Heritage Park.

Carey owned J&L Supply, a successful oilfield supply company.

“He was a very, very generous person and knew tons of people,” Richardson said. “He was very well-known and well-liked.

“Anything he did, he worked hard. It’s a sad thing.”

The 1903 Knox had a wooden chassis and a one-cylinder engine that generated about eight horsepower. It got the name “Porcupine” from its cooling system, which featured a fan blowing over hundreds of pins screwed into the engine block to dissipate heat.

“Not a whole lot different than a wagon with a steering wheel and a motor,” Richardson said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 5, 2019.

— By Bob Weber in Edmonton. Follow him on Twitter at @row1960

The Canadian Press

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