THREE motoring enthusiasts died instantly when the rally car they were travelling in smashed into a tree, an inquest heard.

David Echlin, 42, and his 16-year-old son, Jim, of Hawarden Road in Abermorddu, near Caergwrle, were passengers in a Peugeot 205 driven by Richard Parry, 23, of Rhosrobin Road, Wrexham.

At Wrexham Magistrates Court on Friday, North East Wales coroner John Hughes delivered a verdict of accidental death on all three.

The inquest heard the car was travelling towards Wrexham on the A541 at about 11.30pm on Thursday, January 14, when it hit a kerb, careered into a wall and crashed into a tree. All three victims died at the scene from multiple injuries.

Toxicology tests showed Mr Parry had an alcohol level below the prohibited level.

There were no eye-witnesses to the accident and the alarm was raised by passing motorists, who saw debris on the road and found the car on its roof.

The victims had been attending a weekly meeting of the Bretton and Broughton Rally Club at the New Inn pub in Pontblyddyn.

Mr Parry had offered to give Mr Echlin and his son a lift home in his H-reg Peugeot 205 GTI hatchback, which had been specially modified for rally driving.

David Echlin sat in the front and Jim sat on the floor in the rear of the vehicle. The back seats and restraining devices in the rear of the car had been removed.

PC Gordon Saynor, the crash site investigator, told the inquest the evening was cold and dry. Visibility was good and tests had shown the road surface was not a contributory factor.

PC Saynor said the car had been travelling on a single carriageway, where the speed limit is 50mph. It had not been possible, however, to determine how fast the car had been travelling.

The inquest heard written evidence from police vehicle examiner Alwyn Roach, who concluded the car was roadworthy and well-equipped to deal with winter conditions.

In his evidence, Mr Roach said: 'I could find no faults or defects contributing to what happened.'

However, he did state that the car was unsuitable for more than two passengers as it had seats in the front alone.

David Echlin, a father-of-four, was an engineer who was due to start at Airbus in Broughton in February.

He was described by his wife, Kay, as a popular man with a big personality.

In a statement read out in court, she said: 'He put his heart and soul into everything and he always had a smile on his face.'

James Echlin, known as Jim, was an apprentice tiler who left Castell Alun High School in Hope in the summer of 2004. His mother said her son was 'always on the go, with an over-abundance of energy'.

Mr Parry, originally from Pwllheli, was a gifted student who had fulfilled his ambition to work as an engineer. At the time of the accident, he was employed at DHD on the Wrexham Industrial Park and shared a home with his girlfriend of five years.

He was an accomplished rally driver who stripped down and rebuilt his car to rallying specifications.