A MOTORIST who died in a crash during the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run was a US-based millionaire oil executive, it has emerged.
Ron Carey, 80, strayed on to the M23 motorway and collided with a lorry while taking part in Sunday’s rally.
He died at the scene and his wife Billi, his passenger, was flown to hospital by air ambulance suffering from serious head injuries.
Yesterday she was in a stable condition at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, south-west London.
The retired tycoon, who is originally from Canada, was at the wheel of his 1903 Knox Porcupine when it is thought he took a wrong turn off the official route along the A23 in Hooley, Surrey.
Photographs showed Mr Carey’s vehicle, which had no indicators and a top speed of 35mph, was destroyed in the collision.
Friends said the couple had flown from their home in Paradise Valley, Arizona, to take part in the rally and had competed three times before, the last being in 2013.
Rick Pikulski, 62, told Canada’s CTV News: ‘It’s tragic and gut-wrenching. I’ve known Ron for almost 40 years and he was very well respected and well liked. He’s a tremendous loss.
‘He was very well travelled and would go on these vintage car rallies all the time. This was something he very much enjoyed.’
Mr Pikulski, who got to know Mr Carey through their shared interest in vintage cars, added: ‘It’s dreadful to think they were in a two-seat buggy going on to an expressway where they’re travelling at 70mph. He had no chance. It shouldn’t have happened.’
He said drivers of antique vehicles ‘tend to stay off the faster roads and in this case they should have been on scenic country roads’.
Mr Carey, who founded Canadian oil company J&L Supply, owned a £3.8million classic car collection and contributed vintage vehicles to Gasoline Alley Museum in his native Calgary, Alberta.
A spokesman for the rally said: ‘The car had left the route, which does not include the M23 where the collision took place. We are doing all we can to support the family concerned and are working with the police.’ Hundreds of car enthusiasts take part in the 60-mile run every year. A 68-year-old driver died in the event two years ago.