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:

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.