One of the most eclectic collections of vintage and classic cars ever seen in Central Australia is going under the digital hammer after it was discovered at a deceased estate.
The collection belonged to Graeme Phillips — a hoarder — who lived in a dilapidated house surrounded by almost 30 cars in the centre of Alice Springs, Australia.
His quarter-acre property was so jam-packed with cars and other items, people could not enter or exit the property.
His friend, Liz Martin, described him as a “larger than life character” who devoted his life to collecting things.
“It was like a disease with him but a lot of motor vehicle enthusiasts are a little bit OCD, myself included,” she said.
“Graeme was actually obsessive about his collecting and he had some real-world rarities and some amazing things in his collection.”
Mr Phillips bought and sold more than 1,000 cars over his 81-year life, including two GT Falcons that ran in the London to Sydney marathon.
The collection being auctioned off by the public trustee includes a 1948 Ford Pilot, several FX Holdens, a 1966 Ford Mustang, 2,500 number plates and more than 400 spoons.
None of the cars work and are in varied conditions, with some only fetching $2 in bids.
Many people in Alice Springs knew of Mr Phillips but very few could say they had ever seen or spoken to the man.
“He was always very much a loner,” Ms Martin said.
“If you were part of his inner-circle, you were privileged to be in there because he was very private. He was just such an amazing man that did something for everybody and it didn’t matter where you were on the road he would always drop in and he would always have a smile.”
Mr Phillips was not just an avid collector, he was also a mad runner who was often seen running everywhere, including racking up almost 1,000 trips up and down Uluru.
He spent decades working as a tour guide throughout the Territory and would often be called up to chauffeur dignitaries around Central Australia.
A pavilion will be named after Mr Phillips at the Road Transport Hall of Fame where more of his cars and memorabilia is being housed.