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A jumbo-sized toy shed celebration

6 June, 2016

Rotorua’s well-known performance workshop, The Toy Shed, has recently moved to larger premises at 106/112 Riri Street, to be shared with parts supply business Proparts. With both businesses belonging to well-known Rotorua petrolhead and drag racer Russell Lowe, the move to combine them made sense and offered the opportunity to increase workshop size at the same time. 

Part of that increase in space was required due to Russell also acquiring Carburettor Motors, which has been incorporated into The Toy Shed. The result is a massive 1700-square-metre complex housing all three related businesses under the one roof. With more workshop space, a dedicated dyno area, and parts supply all at the same place, the business has become the perfect one-stop shop. 

To celebrate the move, The Toy Shed is hosting an open day on July 16, the day before the annual Rotorua swap meet. The event will run from 9am through till 5pm and will feature top doorslammer and funny car fire-ups throughout the day. 

Apart from the address, all contact details for the business remain the same — phone: 07 348 5314; email: [email protected].

Becoming fond of Fords part two – happy times with Escorts

In part one of this Ford-flavoured trip down memory lane I recalled a sad and instructive episode when I learned my shortcomings as a car tuner, something that tainted my appreciation of Mk2 Ford Escort vans in particular. Prior to that I had a couple of other Ford entanglements of slightly more redeeming merit. There were two Mk1 Escorts I had got my hands on: a 1972 1300 XL belonging to my father and a later, end-of-line, English-assembled 1974 1100, which my partner and I bought from Panmure Motors Ford in Auckland in 1980. Both those cars were the high water mark of my relationship with the Ford Motor Co. I liked the Mk1 Escorts. They were nice, nippy, small cars, particularly the 1300, which handled really well, and had a very precise gearbox for the time.
Images of Jim Richards in the Carney Racing Williment-built Twin Cam Escort and Paul Fahey in the Alan Mann–built Escort FVA often loomed in my imagination when I was driving these Mk1 Escorts — not that I was under any illusion of comparable driving skills, but they had to be having just as much fun as I was steering the basic versions of these projectiles.

Fear and loathing the blue oval – part one

The slogan went something like ‘There’s a Ford in your future’. ‘Bugger off!’ were always the words that sprung to my mind. Ford and I have never really got on in the manner of many of my friends, so I’d say my relationship to the brand was distant. The accelerating blur of passing time has helpfully blanketed memories of a few Ford encounters which I probably wanted to forget but I have to admit, now I look at them, they are re-appearing through the mists of time. What comes to mind more readily, to quote some uncharitable wit, is that the letters Ford could stand for ‘fix or repair daily’. Still, I have to ’fess up, there were several Fords in my past.