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Behind the garage door: XJS Jag restoration

12 December, 2018

When an ‘oops’ needs serious attention

Not all Behind The Garage Door projects are major, body-off-type restorations. Sometimes a small accident is just as annoying as something major. If your classic car has already undergone a major restoration or has never needed one because it is already in pristine condition, a minor-damage accident is not something to be taken in a minor way.

Ace Panel and Paint in Whitianga has just such a situation to deal with now. The pictured XJS has only done 22,000km, and, recently, the owner managed to run into the back of another XJS on an outing. A touch embarrassing to say the least.

The car has needed bonnet, headlight, and other front-end repairs. Repairing that and getting everything to align again is not a job for someone who doesn’t understand the concept of repairing rather than just replacing parts. Getting everything back into line and making the repaired car look as good as a new car takes time, often more time than a small and specialist panel shop can charge for.

Bruce Hayes, of Ace Panel and Paint, says that, on a job like this, when an insurance company would be looking to, “just bolt the parts on”, he would rather take the time to sit down and do it carefully, using the correct parts. He enjoys doing it and enjoys the challenge of repairing rather than replacing, and says that frequently he’ll have spent more time than he can charge for, simply because he wants the repair to be faultless. Fortunate the owner of this XJS then.

Motorsport Flashback – Kiwi rallying in the 1970s

Rallying arrived in New Zealand in 1973 like a tsunami. It had been only a few years since the sport was introduced here and shortly afterwards Heatway came on board as the sponsor to take rallying to a new level. The 1973 Heatway would be the longest and biggest yet, running in both islands with 120 drivers over eight days and covering some 5400 kilometres. The winner was 31-year-old Hannu Mikkola — a genuine Flying Finn who had been rallying since 1963 before putting any thoughts of a career on hold until he completed an economics degree. The likeable Finn became an instant hero to many attracted to this new motor sport thing. I was one of them.

Think of it as a four-door Cooper

New Zealand Mini Owners Club coordinator Josh Kelly of Dunedin loves his Minis. It’s a family affair. Julie and Mike, Josh’s mum and dad, are just as keen, and they can usually all be found taking part in the club’s annual ‘Goodbye, Pork Pie’ charity run from the North of the country to the South.
But lately Josh’s young head has been turned by some other revolutionary BMC cars. He has picked up a couple of Austin and Morris 1100 and 1300s, which he started to restore — that was until an opportunity arose to buy a rare example stored in a shed.