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


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.