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Rare 1924 Rickenbacker to appear at Warbirds & Wheels

15 January, 2015

Wanaka’s remarkable Warbirds & Wheels museum has just gained another piece of history in the form of a rare 1924 Model C Rickenbacker Roadster. The museum was loaned the rare car by the family of the current owner, the late Ted Aitken, to enable car lovers worldwide the chance to view a piece of engineering beauty.

The car has been in New Zealand since the original owner purchased it from the Chicago factory in 1924, and has remained in Christchurch with various owners since. According to official records, it is the only Rickenbacker outside of the United States. Only 101 of the cars were produced, and this one is a right-hand drive — believed to be the only one of its kind made. The Rickenbacker features a 117-inch wheelbase, 58hp straight-six engine, and four wheel brakes — unusual for a car in 1924.

The car is also significant on account of its namesake Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, who was an American fighter ace in World War I and Medal of Honor recipient. With 26 aerial victories, he was America’s most successful fighter ace in the war. He was also a race-car driver, automotive designer, government consultant in military matters, long-time head of Eastern Air Lines, and owner of the Indianapolis 500 Speedway. Quite the character, ‘Fast Eddie’ cheated death over 135 times and has been the subject of a number of books and movies, and even penned his own autobiography.

Showcased from January 2015, Warbirds & Wheels will continue to have the 1924 Model C Rickenbacker on display for the foreseeable future.

The Jowett Jupiter turns 70

John Ball has always enjoyed tinkering with old boats and cars. He’s old enough to think having gearbox parts on newspaper on the floor of his bedroom, while the relevant car sat waiting on nail boxes, was a normal part of growing up. His passion has always tended towards old British bangers. He reckons he’s fortunate not to have got caught up in the American muscle scene.
John’s love affair with this Jupiter started in December 2015 when, with some time on his hands during a Christchurch trip, he searched online for ‘cars, before 1970 and in Christchurch’.

A passion for classics and customs

In the highly competitive field of New Zealand classic and custom restorations, reputations are won or lost on the ability to maintain consistently high standards of workmanship. A company managing to achieve this is D A Panel beating Ltd, of Rangiora near Christchurch. Is your classic or custom car restoration stalled, or in need of a refresh, or perhaps you are looking for experts to rebuild that recent import project out of Europe or the ‘States?