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Weekly Motor Fix: the ’74 Ford Fairlane as seen in Westside

15 November, 2016

Those with a keen eye or a good memory may have spotted Chris Patterson’s 1974 Ford Fairlane being driven by Lefty in season one of Westside

A friend of Chris’, who supplies cameras to South Pacific Pictures, told Chris that the company was looking for vehicles along the lines of his Fairlane. Being a fan of Outrageous Fortune, Chris was only too happy for the car to be used. With the Fairlane being in such amazing original condition, the only change required for filming was to replace the current registration and warrant stickers with the period-correct items.

Chris’ search for the perfect family-friendly Australian Ford wasn’t an easy one. He hunted for a year, only to purchase one that wasn’t up to his standards. Thankfully, a day before the first purchase was delivered by rail from the deep south, the car you see here came up for sale as part of a deceased estate.

Prior to its coming into Chris’ possession, it was a genuine one-owner car, specially ordered in black — a colour the vehicles were not offered in off the showroom floor, as it was normally reserved for ministerial officials. The owner passed away six years before his widow, and the vehicle sat unused for that time. As such, it’s in remarkable condition, both inside and out — although the fact that it still has fewer than 100,000km on the clock also plays a part in that. With the purchase came all the vehicle’s original paperwork, including the original sales receipt for the sum of $7823.

Wanting to ensure that the car was reliable, Chris has added modern electronic-ignition components to the 302ci engine, as well as an aftermarket carburettor and manifold. The factory exhaust was beyond saving, so an aftermarket system complete with headers has taken its place. Also helping to improve the drivability of the car are the aftermarket wheels, which are along the lines of the wheels a character such as Lefty would have fitted to a car like this back in the ’80s.

Chris has owned the car for three years and has enjoyed driving it regularly, to the point that it sometimes gets driven to work, although, due to its large size — the cars are built on an extended XB Falcon platform — and the tight confines of the office car park, that’s not an everyday occurrence.

Vehicle driven by: Lefty Munroe
Ted’s right-hand man in the gang and husband to Ngaire, Lefty obtained his nickname because he only has one testicle. This obstacle hasn’t held him back, though — he loves the ladies and has had a string of affairs. Lefty is driven by his ego but also by his wife, who scares and enthrals him in equal measure.

This article featured in NZV8 Issue No. 134. You can pick up a print copy or digital copy of the magazine below:

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.