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Restorations

The Jowett Jupiter turns 70

John Ball has always enjoyed tinkering with old boats and cars. He’s old enough to think having gearbox parts on newspaper on the floor of his bedroom, while the relevant car sat waiting on nail boxes, was a normal part of growing up. His passion has always tended towards old British bangers. He reckons he’s fortunate not to have got caught up in the American muscle scene.
John’s love affair with this Jupiter started in December 2015 when, with some time on his hands during a Christchurch trip, he searched online for ‘cars, before 1970 and in Christchurch’.

Penny’s Pagoda – Mercedes Benz 230 SL

We scouted out a few different locations for photographing this car, but they all had one thing in common. At every stop, people could not help but come up and compliment owner Penny Webster on her stunning Horizon Blue Mercedes 230 SL.
There’s something about the ‘Pagoda’ Mercedes — so-called because the distinctive dipping curve of its roofline echoes that of the famous Eastern tiered temples — that encourages people to speak up.
Many classic cars attract a second look, but in most cases people keep their thoughts to themselves. It was striking how many people felt the need to express the warmth of their feelings about this car.
The expansive glass cockpit, the friendly, subtle lines, and its simple three-box shape seem to encourage openness among passers-by.

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.

The name’s Aston, Aston Martin

Martyn Jagusch didn’t intend to carry out a ground-up restoration on his 1971 Aston Martin DBS V8. Yet one glance at the car’s pristine condition shows he definitely changed his mind — or had it changed for him, which is nearer the truth.
The Aston Martin DBS V8 is a handsome car that only looks better with age. Enthusiasm for Aston’s earlier cars, especially the James Bond-era DB5 and the earlier super-sexy Zagato models, has been skyrocketing for years but appreciation for these larger and less iconic GT cars languished for a time. The V8 is less well recognized as a Bond car even though George Lazenby drove one in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969 as did Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights (1987).

Southern comfort

Derek and Rachel Ayson enjoy cruising southern highways to the easy loping beat of their 1970 Holden HT GTS350 Holden Monaro. Powered by Chevrolet’s popular 350 cu. in. V8, the motor has found favour in many restomod classic cars and developed a great reputation for reliability and satisfying performance.
The car it powers was originally a factory-built GTS in white with a blue interior, fitted with Holden’s 186 cu. in. six. Derek bought it in 2007 from good friends Russell and Catherine Harrex of Dunedin. During the mid 1990s the Harrexes had had the car stripped to bare metal.

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.

Smooth operator – ’74 Mazda RX-4

Cory Wilson’s Dunedin-based Retro Automotive offers servicing and a comprehensive restoration service for Mazda rotaries. As reported in the February 2021 issue of New Zealand Classic Car magazine, he joined forces with a Dunedin businessman to import a rare Mazda RX3-SP from Florida in the USA. That car and five others from Cory’s collection were, until recently, part of a display entitled “The Evolution of Japanese Cars” at Bill Richardson Transport World in Invercargill. One of them was this car: a 1974 Mazda RX-4 sedan.
“One of my customers rang me up out of the blue and asked me if I wanted to buy an RX-4,” says Cory. “I went around and had a wee nosy. The guy who was selling it had bought it when it was in its faded factory yellow, complete with the old supermarket battle wounds and stuff like that.”
The owner had it restored but it returned from the painters in a bright canary yellow colour, definitely not the factory colour.

The evergreen Land Rover

The very reason Rover decided to invent them in the first place, to create a four-wheel drive, go-anywhere vehicle that would be a boon to post-war farmers aiming to mechanise and increase production, made Land Rovers a smash hit with country cousin New Zealand, which was rapidly climbing the international prosperity rankings on the sheep’s back.

Certainly Philip Parker, who has spent almost all of his life on farms, says for decades they were as central to his existence as gumboots. “We’ve always had Land Rovers: Series 2s and Series 3s. I feel a bit strange if I don’t have a Land Rover in my life,” he says.
So, he’s got the emotional attachment and a deep understanding of the affection and nostalgia that’s driving the current surge in interest, but he’s also making a hard-headed investment. He’s so convinced of the inexorable rise in the value of Land Rovers that he decided on a patient, open-cheque-book approach to restoring this Land Rover. “After $30,000, I stopped counting,” he says. “I always knew it was going to cost a reasonable amount, but the cost of anything was never going to present a barrier in the end.”

Video of 1963 Datsun Bluebird as featured in the July/August issue 388

Our car was found stored in a shed in Warkworth. A project car, it had spent three decades waiting for the proverbial full nine yards. During that time, a few bits had been attended to: new tyres, new brakes, but not much else. When the new owner took the car he was able to start and even drive the car, although it was trailered back to Auckland. The owner reports many wows and thumbs up on the drive back to Auckland.
In this short video, the Datsun’s owner talks about the five year restoration process.

Kombined Affair

We recently caught up with VW enthusiast Steve Fejos, son of Hungarian parents who arrived in New Zealand as refugees after the ’56 uprising. Being European Steve was naturally attracted to European cars, especially the more affordable VWs. “We must have owned at least 20 Kombis and Beetles over the years,” says Steve. “My father was a handyman and was always doing things — buying, selling, and doing work and repairs at his property, so the Kombi was the ideal work horse he needed.”
As a young boy, under 10 years of age, Steve always liked to tag along with his father. Kombis in the 1960s and 1970s were usually rust buckets, but that didn’t deter his father from buying one every year and spending the winter months ‘doing it up’.

The one and only – The Sierra Cosworth

For most car-conscious folk of a certain age the sight of a whale tail still has its own magic.
No mere spoilers, these excessive peacock-fan displays signal a car with too much power to be held on the road by the weak fundamental force of gravity. Porsche 930 turbos needed them to correct the wrong-headedness of having all that power thrusting from behind the rear wheels and Sierra Cosworths also needed them for genuine road-holding reasons.
When Ford launched the bravely rounded Sierra in 1982 to replace the boxy Cortina, its blobby shape and expressionless face wasn’t universally loved.

1955 Chevrolet Pickup – Four-by-four for town and country

The half-ton truck here is a four-wheel drive 1955 Chevrolet owned by Murray Robinson, a car enthusiast who has owned many American cars, following the footsteps of his parents who have owned even more. Murray’s first car was a 1952 Chevrolet which he still owns. He also owns a 1956 panel truck that featured in the Daily Driver section of an earlier issue of  New Zealand Classic Car magazine.
The ’55-’59 Task Force pickups and trucks which also featured a panel van and station wagon in the range have always been popular and downright cool.

The greatest American hero

There won’t be many people of a certain age who haven’t seen an episode of The Dukes of Hazzard — in the US its popularity was second only to Dallas — and fans of car stunts will surely have seen quite a few of them.
It’s fair to say that ahead of James Bond’s Aston, Bullitt’s Mustang, and even the talking Pontiac Firebird also featured in these pages, the General Lee is the most famous film and TV car of them all, not least because of repeated exposure over 147 episodes in seven series, two films, and, of course, every episode’s signature stunt — the General Lee hitting a ramp and flying free as a bird, accompanied by triumphant driver Bo Duke’s “Yee-haah!”

One Hundred and Fifteen Years Young

Cadillac became one of the great luxury marques but it was a focus on quality and practicality in its humble beginnings that set its makers on the right path Words