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Remember Captain Nemo’s six-wheeler?

23 June, 2015

Even the presence of Sean Connery couldn’t lift the 2003 flick The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen out of the doldrums. Critically pasted at the time — it scored a woeful 17 per cent on international movie site, Rotten Tomatoes — most critics feeling that the film’s creators had strayed too far from the source material: Alan Moore’s series of graphic novels. However, one of the movie’s saving graces was Captain Nemo’s amazing six-wheeler car.

Deigned by production designer and art director Carol Spier, Nemo’s steampunk-inspired car actually started life as a humdrum Land Rover fire tender. The Landie’s chassis was then draped with a fibreglass body embellished with antique gold-looking decorations that took their design cues from the Hindu god Ganesha.  The car’s wheels each measure 72cm and, hidden within the arches, are hydraulics enabling the car’s ride height to be adjusted.

Powered by a Rover V8, Nemo’s car was a totally functional bit of movie kit — and featured a fully trimmed interior complete with a complete set of Land Rover gauges. After several years in storage, the car is now showing some signs of wear as well as evidence of running repairs undertaken during filming.

However, Captain Nemo’s Nautilus car remains in full running condition and will go under the hammer at Coys Blenheim Palace auction on July 11. The car’s sale price is estimated to be in the range of £18,000–25,000 (NZ$41,500–57,600).

Motorsport Flashback – Kiwi rallying in the 1970s

Rallying arrived in New Zealand in 1973 like a tsunami. It had been only a few years since the sport was introduced here and shortly afterwards Heatway came on board as the sponsor to take rallying to a new level. The 1973 Heatway would be the longest and biggest yet, running in both islands with 120 drivers over eight days and covering some 5400 kilometres. The winner was 31-year-old Hannu Mikkola — a genuine Flying Finn who had been rallying since 1963 before putting any thoughts of a career on hold until he completed an economics degree. The likeable Finn became an instant hero to many attracted to this new motor sport thing. I was one of them.

Think of it as a four-door Cooper

New Zealand Mini Owners Club coordinator Josh Kelly of Dunedin loves his Minis. It’s a family affair. Julie and Mike, Josh’s mum and dad, are just as keen, and they can usually all be found taking part in the club’s annual ‘Goodbye, Pork Pie’ charity run from the North of the country to the South.
But lately Josh’s young head has been turned by some other revolutionary BMC cars. He has picked up a couple of Austin and Morris 1100 and 1300s, which he started to restore — that was until an opportunity arose to buy a rare example stored in a shed.