When a group of hot rod­ders spends an ex­tended pe­riod of time in one place. it's in­evitably go­ing to be­come a speed sanc­tu­ary, but we bet you haven't seen any­thing like this one



The depths of sub­ur­bia con­tain a home in­hab­ited by a group of hot rod­ders — Woody, Colleen, Kevin, and Roger. While the drive­way is, more of­ten than not, in­hab­ited by a hand­ful of hot rods, there is ab­so­lutely no other in­di­ca­tion that a hot rod­ding par­adise un­winds over hun­dreds of square me­tres be­hind the neat lit­tle bun­ga­low. Be­cause of the sheer enor­mity of this col­lec­tion, the only place to start this ar­ti­cle is from the be­gin­ning. “I’ve been here since ’68 or ’69,” Woody re­mem­bers. “We didn’t have all these houses here; there were prob­a­bly three or four houses on this street.” The res­i­den­tial sub­urb slowly de­vel­oped around Woody’s tem­ple of hot rod­ding, and, hav­ing been around for the past half-cen­tury, this essence of pure New Zealand nos­tal­gia is still present in all of its bare-bones glory. Kevin has lived here for around 15 years, while Roger has been here for the past 35. “We’re just mates from 40-some­thing years back,” Woody ex­plains. It all started back in 1961, how­ever, when Woody bought his first V8 — a ’35 Ford three-win­dow coupe that he paid just £100 for. Liv­ing with his par­ents at the time, Woody parked the ’35 on the lawn, and even­tu­ally took it to the tip — as was the cus­tom at the time — to be re­placed with a ’34 Ford V8 sedan. “It had been chan­nelled, and I had it for four weeks be­fore I de­cided I didn’t like it, so got rid of it for a

’38 Ford V8 coupe and then a ’37,” he says. “Back then, those cars were just like Ja­panese cars are now.” Woody even­tu­ally pur­chased a ’28 Model A road­ster pickup (RPU) in 1965, for the princely sum of £5, and he still owns it to­day. Of course, it looks and goes a lit­tle bet­ter than it did back then! It was fend­er­less and painted yel­low back in the day, but it got rolled 40 years ago, re­quir­ing a full re­build to the way it is now. Nearby is Roger’s ’31 Model A road­ster, powered by a 272ci Ford Y-block and backed by a C4 auto and eight-inch diff. Roger first bought it in 1961, sell­ing it and buy­ing it back sev­eral times un­til 1967, when he bought it back for good. The Model A road­ster sits with an un­likely com­pan­ion — a flat­head V8-powered fork­lift. “I used to work at Pioneer Auto Parts with Ron and Garth,” Woody ex­plains, “and I ended up driv­ing the fork­lift, as Ron got too old to drive it. It used to tow wag­ons at the rail­way, and Ron put the fork hoist on the back and con­verted it to a V8.” These ma­chines of Woody’s are kept com­pany by one of Kevin’s of­ten-driven hot rods — a ’27 Es­sex, powered by a su­per­charged 350ci small block Chev. Pro­ceed­ing into the first garage, we are greeted by a very rare ma­chine — a ’38 Lin­coln Ze­phyr orig­i­nally owned by Ron Ho­gan, the fa­ther of Kiwi drag rac­ing leg­end Garth Ho­gan. “I bought it for $350 back in ’73,” Woody re­calls. “Kevin towed it back here, and I thought it was go­ing to fall to bits on the trailer!” Not to be de­terred, Woody en­rolled in night school, where he learned all about met­al­work­ing and welded it back to­gether. Equipped with rare

Ho­gan flat­head V12 heads and in­let man­i­fold, the Lin­coln Ze­phyr is one of only about 26,000 made, and only around 90 New Zealand–new right-hand drive mod­els were pro­duced from 1937 to 1942. Deeper into the col­lec­tion, in rather stark con­trast to the screeds of mod­i­fied parts and pan­els through­out the prop­erty, sits a Model A coupe in beau­ti­fully orig­i­nal con­di­tion, com­plete with orig­i­nal four-banger flat­head. This is Kevin’s car, pur­chased off Chris Horn­blow, who im­ported it from Cal­i­for­nia in 2012. “I was look­ing at an­other Model A, but some­one else bought it,” Kevin says. “Chris asked me if I was in­ter­ested in Model As, and I told him I was, so he showed me a photo of this car on his phone, and we ne­go­ti­ated a price. I ba­si­cally bought it off a tiny photo, and it’s bet­ter than I had hoped.” Nearby is an­other Model A, this one a truck owned by Roger. Woody used to have a place at Great Bar­rier Is­land, and the truck was used there as a run­about. It’s in fan­tas­tic con­di­tion, de­spite its life of hard labour in an un­for­giv­ing en­vi­ron­ment,

and re­tains its orig­i­nal four-cylin­der engine. Be­yond the house is a dou­ble garage, within which are even more me­chan­i­cal good­ies wait­ing to be worked on. The garage dou­bles as the work­shop and is where Woody does all of his weld­ing and Kevin does all of his milling and ma­chin­ing. Both have worked as truck me­chan­ics, among var­ied ca­reers that have in­cluded fab­ri­ca­tion, engine build­ing, and just about ev­ery en­gi­neer­ing dis­ci­pline imag­in­able. The walls are adorned with speed equip­ment, from heads and in­take man­i­folds through to crankshafts and oil pans. The en­gines cur­rently be­ing worked on are a 292 Y-block on the engine stand, with Isky camshaft and oil­ing mod­i­fi­ca­tions. The cra­dle-mounted unit is a flat­head with three-speed trans­mis­sion for Woody’s ’35 Ford three-win­dow coupe. That coupe takes pride of place — an all-steel car that he pur­chased off a friend, Dave. He is slowly work­ing on shap­ing and weld­ing in patch pan­els for the rusty body. The yel­low Model A road­ster be­hind it is based on a Brookville body and is be­ing built in the tra­di­tional high­boy style, although it is cur­rently on the back-burner while Woody stacks a few more pen­nies to go to­wards it. Be­side the half-fin­ished road­ster is a wild ’39 Ford sedan that has been chopped and tu­dorized. Its crazy ap­pear­ance is more than backed up by its me­chan­i­cal mojo, pro­vided by a quad-carbed and 6V53-su­per­charged flat­head V8, backed by a To­ploader three-speed man­ual and Win­ters Quick Change diff. The gear­box is unique in that it runs an adapter, made by Grease Martin, al­low­ing the use of a pe­riod-cor­rect top-mount shifter. Stand­ing guard at the garage en­trance is a pair of Royal En­field mo­tor­cy­cles, both of which Woody has used as daily com­muters. How­ever, both of these pale in com­par­i­son to the ’56 Nor­ton parked in a cor­ner — a mo­tor­bike Woody has owned for about 40 years and that he used to ride daily un­til he re­built it 15 years ago. Just out­side the garage, Roger’s ’58 Ford Main­line awaits its re­turn to glory. Hav­ing owned the pickup for around 40 years, Roger was forced to park it up 15 years ago af­ter the clutch let go. Roger’s Main­line is kept com­pany by his ’42 Lin­coln sedan, on which Woody has per­formed a fair few rust re­pairs and has a fair few left to go! That’s not all the Lin­colns, ei­ther. Deep within the labyrinth of lean-tos is a ’53 Lin­coln Capri coupe owned by Woody’s part­ner, Colleen — a beau­ti­ful ma­chine that Woody is cur­rently work­ing on by mas­sag­ing one of the front fend­ers back into shape. Ahead of the big Lin­coln is a bare Kiwi Con­nec­tion chas­sis, which Woody is build­ing into a ’32 Ford coupe for Roger. In the next bay sit a pair of Ford pick­ups, both of

which are owned by Kevin. The green Main­line is a bit of a beast, powered by a 545ci big block Ford. The other pickup is an im­mac­u­late ’57 Ford Ranchero that Kevin be­lieves to be run­ning the orig­i­nal 312ci Y-block, backed by an over­driven three-speed trans­mis­sion. All that Kevin’s re­ally done in the time he’s owned it is re­paint it in its cur­rent white and or­ange two-tone guise. Sev­eral en­gines sit on the floor amid the eclec­tic ve­hi­cle ar­range­ment, in­clud­ing a 317ci Lin­coln V8 from Colleen’s Lin­coln Capri, which is topped by an orig­i­nal 1953 Hol­ley four-bar­rel car­bu­ret­tor and backed by a Hy­dra-Matic four-stage trans­mis­sion. It is joined by a Pon­tiac straight-eight that Woody pur­chased for his ’46 Olds, be­liev­ing it to be an Oldsmo­bile straight-eight, only to dis­cover later that it was a Pon­tiac engine. There’s a bit of his­tory be­hind Woody’s ’46 Oldsmo­bile. He bought it in 1967 but let it go af­ter split­ting up with his first wife, be­fore be­ing re­united with it sev­eral years down the track. In that time, some­one had in­stalled a non-run­ning flat­head six. The car had holes in the chas­sis for ei­ther a six or an eight, so Woody de­cided to buy an eight. Upon dis­cov­er­ing he’d ac­tu­ally bought a Pon­tiac straight-eight, he fit­ted a 460ci big block Ford and C6 trans­mis­sion in­stead. While the Olds still runs and drives, Woody ac­knowl­edges that he doesn’t drive it any­where near as of­ten as he used to. “I haven’t used it for about 10 years, but I used to drive it all the time,” he tells us. Driven rather more of­ten than the Oldsmo­bile is Woody’s ’38 Ford sedan, which he bought in 1988 from Ajay’s Ford V8 Parts. The ’38 sedan is joined by a big Kawasaki nick­named ‘Heavy Metal’ that Woody uses as a daily-driver — it’s big, grunty, and has lots of chrome, which is just the way Woody likes it. Even af­ter half a cen­tury of hot rod­ding, this house­hold shows no sign of let­ting up, and why should they? As that old cliché goes: they’ve lived it and breathed it, and they will for­ever. They are the real deal.


1928 Ford Model A RPU Powered by a 292ci Ford Y-block with a C4 trans­mis­sion and chromed nine-inch diff, Woody’s RPU is the most driven of his cars. The re­li­able pack­age has enough power to han­dle the open road with ease, and Woody has driven it to In­ver­cargill sev­eral times. “They all get driven ev­ery now and again, but this gets driven the fur­thest. I keep muck­ing around with the engine, and it seems to keep get­ting faster and faster,” Woody men­tions. “It’s got about 12:1 com­pres­sion, big valves, T-bird heads, triple carbs, and elec­tronic ig­ni­tion.”

Me­mento The ‘Do­min­ion Mo­tors’ sig­nage over the garage is there for a rea­son. “I painted it on to re­mem­ber the old man, my best mate,” Woody says. “He used to work at Do­min­ion Mo­tors in New­mar­ket.” Woody would help his fa­ther out ev­ery now and again, so it was lit­tle sur­prise that he ended up work­ing with cars fur­ther down the track.

1938 Ford Sedan Woody’s ’38 Ford sedan is a beau­ti­fully run­ning car in fan­tas­tic con­di­tion. All it needs is for Woody to in­stall the win­dow rub­ber kit he has for it, as the orig­i­nal rub­bers have per­ished — they had a good run, though! It runs a Mer­cury flat­head V8 with Of­fen­hauser heads and dual-carb in­take and a three-speed trans­mis­sion. “The engine isn’t clean, be­cause it’s been used,” Woody ex­plains.

1927 Es­sex Kevin bought the ’27 Es­sex about a decade ago. “We were at the NSRA Na­tion­als at Kara­piro, and we saw it for sale. None of us thought any­thing of it,” he says. “Later on, I asked if any­one knew what that car Ron was sell­ing was, and no one did. I called him up, and ended up buy­ing it over the phone.” While the ’27 looks like a mild old rod, it’s a lit­tle more se­ri­ous. The 350ci small block has been re­built and topped with a Weiand su­per­charger, and is backed by a TH350 trans­mis­sion and Ford nine-inch diff.

1956 Ford Main­line “It was in a mil­lion bits when I got it from a friend in Otahuhu, Auck­land — a chas­sis, body, and doors,” Kevin re­calls about his ’56 Ford Main­line. “I was go­ing to Y-block it, but plans got changed when I de­cided to put a [460] big block in it. Then I de­cided to bore and stroke it!” The big mo­tor is backed by a C6 trans­mis­sion and nineinch diff, and Kevin uses it for rod runs and the oc­ca­sional quar­ter-mile pass.

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