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Shipping in: time to buy

10 August, 2017



We recently spoke to the team at Famous Pacific Shipping (FPS) about the process of importing a vehicle into New Zealand, and if you’re thinking of doing so, the best thing you can do is keep an eye on the NZD–USD exchange rate. Exchange rate fluctuations can make a significant difference in the final price you end up paying for an imported vehicle.

At the time of writing, the New Zealand dollar has dropped from a high of US$0.75 to the dollar, but still strong at $0.73 — up from May’s US$0.68 rate. What this translates to in everyday English is that, if you’re thinking of importing a car from the US, this is not a bad time for it — although, going forward it will be worth keeping an eye on rate changes. We have embedded an exchange graph updated daily, which will give an idea of how it’s looking. 

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When we talked to the team at Famous Pacific Shipping (FPS) about this, they mentioned that importing doesn’t have to be as daunting as it is often made out to be. If you have found the vehicle you’re after, they are able to assist you right through the importing procedure. 

Based in the USA, Don McIlwain — also known as ‘Hemi’ Don McIlwain, for his extensive knowledge of all things Mopar — is a key member of team, with a strong background in the automotive industry. Don has attended the last few Beach Hops with the FPS team to meet happy clients and liaise with potential new clients looking for something special. He works closely with clients to find the right car in the best condition for the price specified, with his range of services available at Having him on the team ensures peace of mind knowing the same team is handling everything from start to finish. 

Don actually helped to source the beautiful ’66 Dodge Charger owned by Rodney and Zeta Holland — a genuine 426 Hemi-powered four-speed car — that New Zealand Classic Car magazine have been fortunate enough to feature in an upcoming issue. Watch this space for the feature, and to find more information on importing a dream car of your own, visit


Saltwater Creek Garage

After passing by this building for many years, I decided to call in and ask the owner about his garage and the car that had been parked there. It was a 1982 Hyundai Pony 1200 TLS that he’d inherited from his mother who had bought it when it was nearly new. I was fortunate enough to buy it from him — many had approached him over the years but were turned away. After sitting out there for that long you could not imagine how dirty it was. At least it had never been wet in all that time. The interior is a mid-blue and almost like new — in fact his mother, Irene, had still retained the original factory-fitted thick clear-plastic cover over the mid-blue vinyl door panels.

Lunch with … Roger Bailey

Roger’s story is a classic illustration of what hard work, honesty to the point of brutal frankness, a ‘can-do’ approach, and a racer’s brain can get you in this sport of car racing. Roger, or ‘Boost’ as he’s known up and down the pitlanes of America, was who Kenny Smith turned to when he was dragging a reluctant teenager around the different pit garages at Laguna Seca.
“Scott [Dixon] kept complaining that it was too hot and he just wanted to go back to the hotel pool. I had to tell him that I was trying to secure his future — we weren’t getting much of a look in until we saw Roger who knew everyone and set about introducing Scott as New Zealand’s next big thing.