TONY Denny is one of Australia’s richest men you’ve never heard of, with a classic car collection so good he’s built a museum to show his favourites to the public.
Gosford Classic Car Museum, in a former Bunnings store just off the M1 at West Gosford, opens on May 28 with more than 400 classic cars that include some of the most rare, and sought-after, vehicles in the world.
They include four generations of Lamborghini including a 1968 Lamborghini Miura LP400, a rare 1999 Lamborghini Diablo SV and a Lamborghini Countach; enough Ferraris to make an Italian car lover’s heart pound; a 1995 Bentley Azure that’s one of only seven in Australia; a 1972 LJ Torana XU GTR and a 1960 MGA Coupe.
The museum also has the only factory-produced onyx Black Ford Falcon XY GT-HO Phase III in existence along with Jaguars and classic motorbikes from around the world.
Mr Denny, who entered the list of Australia’s top 200 richest people when he returned to Australia with a reported fortune of $320 million, loves cars.
“I guess I’m just your typical working-class bogan,” he said in an interview in 2015 before returning to Australia.
“I love old Holdens and my favourite car is probably a 1961 Jaguar convertible.”
One year ago he had a collection of 120 classic and vintage cars, including a 1978 Ford Zephyr 55 and 1990 Jaguar E-Type.
The museum has more than 400.
Mr Denny is reported to have started selling used cars into Russia and other former communist countries in the early 1990s. The Soviet Union was gone and Russians were embracing capitalism by buying European cars.
He left last year after Russia under Vladimir Putin became a much more complicated place.
Mr Denny is reported to have grown up in Sydney’s northern suburbs, with a father who fled the then Czechoslovakia in 1948.
Mr Denny studied horticulture but moved to selling cars, real estate and gold shares on the sharemarket during the 1980s, reportedly losing a small fortune on Wall Street’s Black Monday collapse in October 1987.
He bounced back and started buying cars in America and selling them in Europe.
He set up in Prague and reportedly started a used car business from an apartment with just one employee.
A return to Australia and setting up on the Central Coast was a choice for a quieter life, he said in an interview in 2015.
“It’s time to come home,” he said.
Gosford Classic Car Museum in Stockyard Place, West Gosford, will open on May 28.