Quinton Taylor discovered an Aladdin’s Cave in the quiet Dunedin harbourside suburb of Andersons Bay, where Rob Douglas performs his magic on classics of all descriptions and nationalities.
Quinton recently visited Rob’s ‘cave’, and came away very impressed with his quality of work, and the attention to detail in every car he completes from the garage at the back of his home.
He first came to notice Rob’s work at Dunedin’s annual Autospectacular event, and with subsequent stories followed up over Otago and Southland — this gifted panel restorer seems to have a reputation spread over a large area.
“I don’t advertise at all as I have a lot of work on the books. I’m pretty much known by word of mouth,” Rob says.
Rob and his business, Douglas Bodyworks, will be the subject of a more in-depth story later in this magazine, but meantime, this can be a small appetizer.
Rob currently has bookings months ahead for work to be done on some very interesting cars. Some of those already completed will be seen in stories at a later date, including some very interesting and rare makes and models.
Currently in Rob’s care is a 1969 Ford Boss 302 Mustang Fastback belonging to Dunedin engineer and racer, Steve Ross.
The car is undergoing a full restoration to standard Boss 302
specifications, and currently sits on the car roller awaiting a host of new panels.
“This car had rust everywhere. It came back from the panel blasters with holes all over the place, requiring a new boot floor and side panels, engine bay internals, new cabin floor; just a lot of everything,” Rob says.
Fortunately, replacement panels and a host of other parts are being remanufactured in the USA, and Rob sources most of his parts through places such as The Mustang Centre in Christchurch and Rare Spares.
Once the floor is ready to go in, Rob will put the car onto axle stands to get everything level, and all opening panels shutting correctly.
The choice of colour will be a factory original code, yet to be decided.
It’s a massive job, but after nine years rebuilding classics it comes naturally to this talented repairer.
“Most people get a bit frightened by the amount of rust or holes where panels should be in their cars, but I guess I have done so many of these and I know that the replacement panels can be either bought, or I can make them, so I have just got used to it,” he says, laughing.
It will be some time in 2018 before this particular Mustang is fired up, but indications are that it will be as impressive as the long line of glittering classics that have left Rob’s ‘cave’, adding to a rapidly increasing collection of classics in the South.