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Land Rover’s amazing Valentine’s Day gift

23 February, 2015

Valentine’s Day 2015 presented four good friends with a slightly better gift than a box of Cadbury Favourites. As students of Otago University 15 years ago, Will Radford, Jeremy Wells, Anthony Dawson, and James Shatwell chipped in for a 1957 Series I Land Rover. ‘The Landy’ was a staple in their many adventures and trips throughout the country. Of course, time moves on, and after 15 years of ownership, The Landy was listed for sale on Trade Me, with a story of the friends’ many adventures, and their sadness at parting with it.

Land Rover New Zealand had come across the auction, and with the help of Will’s wife Claire, began a secret operation to restore The Landy from the ground up. Tony Katterns and the Custom Metal Shapers team were enlisted for the restoration. Broken parts were replaced with genuine Land Rover parts, while some of the characteristics that made it theirs — such as some of the dings and bumper stickers — were retained.

James McKee, Land Rover New Zealand’s marketing manager, says, “A heart-warming tale accompanied the listing, documenting the many journeys and stories this Land Rover has been part of and showing just how much the vehicle meant to the four guys. We decided it was an amazing opportunity to help them continue their relationship with this classic vehicle, so we bought it and restored it back to its former glory.”

The Landy was taken for a tour of the South Island following the restoration, to recreate some of the adventure shots Will included in the Trade Me auction, before it was returned to Auckland in time for Claire to hide it in the shed for the four mates’ ultimate Valentine’s Day present.

We will have a full feature on The Landy in New Zealand Classic Car Issue No. 293, on sale April 20 — be sure to keep an eye out for it, to read all about The Landy’s history, and the adventures of four good mates. Check out the video of the story and the work that went into the vehicle below:

Taipan – surpassing interest

“It’s merely a passing interest,” insists Selby — despite owning three variants of the classic VW Beetle, including an unusual VW van that was sold as a body kit for a Subaru. In his defence he points to a 1961 Ford Thunderbird, a car that he converted to right-hand drive. However, on the VW side of the ledger, since he opened Allison Autos in Whanganui 27 years ago, Selby has built 15 VW-powered Formula First cars, followed by a beach buggy, restored a derelict Karmann Ghia, and hot-rodded a common or garden Beetle into something that has to be seen to be believed. As speed is not something generally associated with classic VWs, though, Selby is still waiting for this particular modification to catch on amongst the hot rod faithful.

Travelling companion

It’s easy to see why the Morris Minor Traveller was one of the best-loved variants of the Morris Minor. Introduced in 1953, it was equipped with the same independent torsion bar front suspension, drum brakes, and rack and pinion steering as its saloon sibling but, with their foldable rear seat increasing versatility, many Travellers were used as trade vehicles, says Derek Goddard. Derek and Gail Goddard, the owners of this superbly restored example, have run Morris Minors since before they were married in 1974.
“Our honeymoon vehicle was a blue Morris Minor van — it was a rust bucket,” says Derek.