Aladdin’s Cave

New Zealand Classic Car - - Price On - Words and photos: Quin­ton Tay­lor

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.

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