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Weekly Motor Fix: the Duzgo

31 March, 2015


This unusual-looking vehicle was built in 1978 by Giles Engineering in Whataroa South Westland. These little on-road/off-road vehicles were built for the farming community and have been described as the precursor to the four-wheel farm bike. Despite being only two-wheel drive and powered by a 12hp (8.9kW) Kohler engine, the vehicle’s range of gearing, 12 forward and three reverse, meant it could traverse the harshest terrain pulling a fair load without leaving deep tracks in the paddocks.

Construction of the first Duzgo began in the early 1970s; Giles Engineering went on to produce ten of these vehicles, each one individually numbered. This Duzgo is number eight. There were orders for another thirteen, when the Giles were visited by the men in suits from Wellington who, because they saw them as new vehicles, demanded payment of excise tax, which was placed on new vehicles at that time. The company was forced to close.

Though seen as new vehicles, they were built primarily from second-hand parts. For example, the two gearboxes intermeshed to give it the wide range of gears, were from Morris Minor and Ford Anglia.

According to the current owners, once you own one it is hard to part with it. ‘Duzgo #8’ has featured in a number of TV documentaries, one of which was Billy Connolly’s World Tour of New Zealand, where Billy described it as his “favourite car in the world.”

Duzgo #8 has been used as such other things as a hearse, a means to tow a helicopter trolley in and out of a hanger, and a wedding vehicle. It has currently been on display at The Bushman’s Centre at Pukekura, South Westland, and is currently on the market.

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.

Super Leicht Gullwing

It’s fair to say that nothing much in the classic Mercedes world gets past Mercedes-Benz Club stalwart Garry Boyce so it wasn’t surprising to learn that around 15 years ago he had sniffed out an extremely rare 300SL lightweight Gullwing as well as a 1958 300SL Roadster hiding away in the Waikato. The cars were not for sale but Garry eventually managed to persuade the owner to allow him and his restoration team to take a look at the Roadster. They discovered a very distressed but largely unmolested car. The car was so original that the body had never been off the chassis, meaning most of the parts and fittings were still present and correct, as they had been fitted by the factory.