Kumeu Car Show Jan 2016

2 decrepit old buggers; both still functioning

More pics Kumeu 2016

Cars I Have Known

First car I ever owned was a 1954 Standard 8 (paid £10 in 1966) and I still have it. It had suicide front quarterlights which acted as air brakes at high speed - they'd fly open and suddenly you'd lost about 30mph. It had no boot - you had to fold down the back seats and access the back space that way. The spare was accessed behind the number plate.

Next car was a Mini Van ED 2144. My brother and I hotted it up and rallyed it (racing cam, twin carbs etc). I swapped it for the hot rod (an altered 1931 Model A).

At the time it was metallic purple and orange, with a chipboard tray. This was the first car that I ever fully restored. Made running boards, the rear wheel mudguards with rolled wire edges and swaged highlights. Painted it H. Ford style. Fabricated the exhaust from headers out. Built a varnished wooden wellside tray. Came with 15 inch wide Formula One racing slicks. Added 10kg of rubber to each tyre and then they were hand-grooved to make street legal.

Just before Tui was born, bought a 3 month old 1971 Toyota Corolla Station Wagon for about $1500, which was about half new price. Bought it from (fire extinguisher co) who dumped it bc it was using 2 litres of oil for every tank of petrol. Bob Bruce diagnosed wrong piston rings and shells had been installed. Cost $60 to remedy. I've done 250,000 miles in it and only replaced one piston and one gudgeon for grand total of $9. I used it to move sheep - mate had a lifestyle block where grass was growing faster than he could control. So I would go to stock markets and buy black sheep for about $5 each, cram them in back of wagon and drop them off at farm. Mum was involved with a spinning guild which had trouble sourcing black fleeces, so I just joined up the dots for everyone.

During this period (middle to late '70's) I acquired a few more cars which were stashed all over the place. Two 1935 Oldsmobile 6's, a 1947 Vauxhall 10 (bought for sentimental reasons - first new car Dad ever had), 1954 Daimler Conquest. Bought the Olds from a young guy who needed to clear out his collection - sold me the pair of Olds and a Borgward and a Triumph Mayflower but I flicked the last two on. Nothing much has happened to the Olds - it's a complete car with chrome and nickel work redone. The Vauxhall has been de-rusted and painted, seats re-upholstered in leather. The Daimler has been stripped and sandblasted and PA10ed ready for painting.

Then I bought the current place, so I was able to shift everything home and really start accumulating crap valuable automobile parts. For example, a Coventry Climax overhead cam fire pump motor which I plan on mating with an Austin 7 chassis as a wee racer.

At a Vintage Car Club Night there was a Shiny Parts auction. I accidentally won a Model T chrome radiator cap (bc I was waving my arms around too much while talking to someone) .... for 20 cents. Later in the auction I paid one dollar for a Model T carburettor. A mate convinced me that since I'd obviously started a Model T collection I should buy his (pile of bits) Model T truck, and as a sweetener he'd throw in a Ruckstell twin speed truck diff (which was very rare). Another elderly collector had a joinery and offered to help me build the body. So in 3 weeks over Christmas holidays we built the C cab body from scratch. We had no plans but I had a photo. I knew the wheels were 21" so we simply scaled everything off that measurement. Later, proper plans turned up, and we found we were no more than 3/8th inch out anywhere.

We painted it with a special plastic house paint which would accommodate the flexing and movements of an auto body. It has a full timber frame on tray so could cover with canvas if necessary. The lockers on outer also form bench seats each side of tray.

A friend used it as a wedding car for bridesmaids, and we've rallied it.

Around this time, also collected other cars. A 1926 Rugby coupe came from a farm owned by a distant relative. Trailered home in pieces - all the bits are there but woodwork needs replacing. A 1924/5 Essex coupe came from a Kaiapoi teacher in bits - and it's still a basket case.

Also bought a couple of Toyota Crowns 1971-3. The 71 was Aussie assembled so had unusual components. Both were top of the line cars for their day - things like vacuum central locking.

These were our daily drivers for quite a while - best part of ten years in 80's - 90's.

Picked up a 1946 Vauxhall 12 and 1954 Lanchester. And also couple of Chevettes, which originally bought as parts for Tui's Chevette.

Had collected bits of 1928/9 Plymouths from all over, which got made into 3 cars. This Plymouth was the third car that I restored from scratch.

This 1929 Plymouth Four Tourer holds a Canterbury Vintage Car record for top speed and flying kilometer. We've since done many rallies in this car. And it's been raced at Ruapuna and hillclimbs. (This car is named Arkwright bc it has no roof and is "open all hours ....") Probably my favourite driver - one Irishman's trip we had a figure-of-eight race in a muddy farm paddock where we put chains on the tires, and loaded car up with 19 people to weigh it down. Mud rooster tails showering all spectators ....For some strange reason they disqualified us .....

Bought a 1926 Dodge Four Tourer off a club member which I gave to my Dad for them to drive. They called it Gladys Emmanuel bc it has big headlights. Bought Dad a raffle ticket; he won first prize, which was the number plate NZVCC1, so we put it on Gladys. Mum and Dad used it a as a Father Christmas car delivering presents around the neighbourhood as well as going on rallies with her. It only has rear wheel brakes, and the accelerator is a bit tricky - it sits between the brake and the clutch pedals.

Came back after Dad died. We've given it a rechrome and repaint. Still awaiting re-assembly.

We used to have fish-and-chip nights every Thursday where we'd meet for a meal at my place, work on cars for a couple of hours, then have a few beers. We did several vehicles this way. First was a 1928 Plymouth 4 coupe (for Murray) using the bits of Plymouths I had (as above). Second was a 1928 4 cylinder Fargo truck (only 9 ever made for export) (again for Murray), then third a 1924 Chev National sedan (for Ivan), then a 1963 Chrysler Valiant AP6 for my son Glen. Next was a 1929 6 cylinder Fargo truck (1500 made), then a 1929 Plymouth 4 Roadster for Murray's wife (plate IS HERS).

All of these, apart from Glen's Valiant, which was silver, were painted yellow and black, which were actually standard Chrysler colours for that period. And so Ivan's Chev also had to conform to Team Yellow. We rallied these cars extensively, in a pack. Raced at Ruapuna, did Irishman's.

Then picked up 63 Dodge light trucks. One came off a dairy farm at Ellesmere, the other from Southbridge.

They both use the same slant-6 motor that used in Chrysler Valiants (and I happened to have a spare slant-6 I'd bought out of a Valiant that got rolled.).

Four Plymouths 'appeared' in trailerloads in various states. Some dismantled to save space, this one is outside.

Around 2000 built the second big garage and at same time bought remains of a 1929 straight 8 Graham Paige sedan off a farm in Coe's Ford. This got badly damaged in a fire.

Then bought 1983 8 seater Toyota Crown Station Wagon which just got stored but filled up with liquefaction in the earthquakes.

Bought in succession bought couple of Bluebird SSS pillarless sedans for daily drivers.

An ongoing project is 1929 Don Campbell (the American one) C8 single-seater sprint car special. Model T chassis, 1925 Overland front axle, Bullnose Morris Oxford radiator, 6 cylinder motor, box and diff out of 1929 Dodge and wire wheels off a 1930 Chrysler. Thus qualifies as a vintage racer. Just needs a body.

About 2000/2001, a friend was working on some equipment at school and mentioned he had a Mercedes he'd been trying to sell for a year without luck. It was a 1963 Belgian-assembled Mercedes 220S with original RHD. I bought it sight unseen for $200. It had been sitting under a tree and was covered in green mould, but it was runner. We cleaned off enough windscreen that I could see out of, and drove it home.

Since then I've cut rust out of floor pans, repainted it and repaired upholstery. Earthquakes left a few scratches and dents, but repairs can wait.

2003 Liz and I went on the 100 Years of Harley Tour bc some friends involved. So went to LA looking for an RV. At the motel we were staying there was a sales yard selling 1 yo school buses with new radiators and tires for $3000. Problem that the RVs were $11,000 and wouldn't keep up with bikes. Found a 1990 Dodge Ram van for just under $3000. We added curtains, a big chilly bin. We did 12,000 miles, 27 states, in 50 days. Highlight was finale in Milwaukee - Harley Davidson sponsored a week long festival culminating in a 160,000 strong concert starring Elton John.

Marketed by Dodge as Dodge Cerritos, it has 6.9L petrol V8 and still LHD. Shipped back in a 40 foot box in LA for $4000 including delivery to Lyttelton. Still going strong.

Bought 1983 Toyota Crown coupe, the last model before the Lexus. Only 3 ever in NZ.

And a Honda CRX that was originally Glen's.

Followed by the hearse. Had gone to Waimate to look at some veteran Studebaker parts. The parts guy had a 1995 Ford Fairmont Ghia 3.9EFI hearse that owed him $600 (he'd taken it in lieu of pay for a job). So gave him that and drove it home. Only had to fix power windows which involved taking the door panels off and sucking out a decade of road dust. I still drive it most days.

Bought 1937 Austin Big 7 from a friend who needed garage space. Goes, but in barn find condition.

Morris Minors

Alan's Rolls Royce Apr 2016

The last thing on Alan's bucket list was "own a Rolls Royce"

We nearly got one when he was up in Auckland in January 2016 - the guy shook hands on it at $10,000 conditional on an AA check, but then turned round and sold it to someone else. Que sera.

Another one popped up, on Waiheke Island. It had been on TradeMe and the guy made it clear that $13000 would buy it.

We rolled on over there one Saturday morning. Alan had $13000 cash stashed in his pockets. I made sure I knew where the money was in case the boat sank and I needed to rescue it. The guy met us at the wharf and we went for a test drive. All seemed good enough, so Alan goes "You wanted 13K; I offered 10, so shall we split the difference - 11?" "That's not halfway" "OK, 11 and a half?" "OK"

So Alan counted out the cash, and we got on the vehicle ferry late afternoon. Transporter picked it up on Tues evening, and delivered to Alan's home on Thursday. Pretty painless really.

And basically a lot nicer car for $11,500, than the $10,000 one he missed out on earlier in the year.

The guy had a few more nice cars

Cousin Mike's garage - they both just fitted in

He lives opposite the pub

Ellerslie Car Show 2017

(More pics here)

Tiritiri Matangi Bird Sactuary

(More pics here)

More pics

* Main Cars Index - Shows, Museums and Car Porn