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Dean Foster’s Mini love affair

8 December, 2016

In New Zealand Classic Car Issue No. 313 Dean Foster shares his story of how he came to love and cherish the Mini marque, and became involved in keeping them alive all these years.

His first car was a 1974 Leyland Mini, which he bought through good old Trade & Exchange back in 1996, with money he’d saved up from his first job. It had been fully customized and souped up with a worked 1330cc engine, a lumpy cam, and a 28/36 down-draught Weber. It had been painted red, with a white roof and Cooper stripes.

Fast forward 12 years to 2008, and Dean decided to work towards the goal of attending the Mini 50th celebrations, in October 2009. This was a good excuse to get his current Mini out of storage for a quick strip-down and repaint. The strip-down turned into a slightly larger job when he made the call to get the shell acid dipped, and a full restoration ensued.

Have a look at a few additional photos that didn’t make it into the feature in the January issue of New Zealand Classic Car (Issue No. 313) — grab your copy here to read the full story.  

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.