DREAM SHED — ONE HELL OF A SCHED
MOST NORMAL PEOPLE SLOW DOWN AND TAKE TIME TO SMELL THE ROSES WHEN THEY RETIRE; WE GUESS THE SCHIMANSKIS AREN’T THAT NORMAL
After 39 years of getting up at 4am and extracting milk from cows, it was time to sell up and ‘retire’ for Pete and Delilah Schimanski. The family farm and farming life were waved goodbye and the Taranaki countryside was replaced by a smaller lifestyle block. A property just out of town was deemed sufficient for the couple’s lifestyle change, although it was lacking one crucial thing: a shed. Originally, the Schimanskis’ plan was to build something to house their ’34 coupe and VZ Monaro, and also have a bit of workshop space for Pete to tinker about in. Pete and Delilah didn’t want just any old shed, though; they wanted something a bit bigger than normal and a little bit different. The kitset pole shed was soon erected and lined, ready for the two cars to be parked inside.
This couple don’t do things by halves, and the shed is no exception. The two cars were easily swallowed by the massive structure, and that meant only one thing: it was time to start filling the shed up. The pair are regular guests on the US tours organized by Palmerston North’s Kruzin Kustoms. At times, three trips a year were embarked on, giving the couple ample opportunity to hand-pick various artefacts and vehicles to start making the vast expanse look a little more lived in.
Cars and all things vehicular have played a huge part in Pete and Delilah’s lives. The workshop side of things houses the couple’s Dietz and Ward ‘Dinosaur’ altered, and boasts more than enough floor and hoist space to house a few more race cars. On the day we visit, good friend and crew member Terry Paterson’s only-driven-on-theweekend-and-never-in-the-rain Honda Accord is getting up close and personal with the altered, as Terry is a bit short of shed space after the recent rebuild of his pro-street ’57 Chev.
As you would expect in a car-mad place, the decor
is appropriate. Posters, signs, various car parts, and a collection of salvaged road signs adorn the walls of the workshop, giving a hint of what is hiding on the other side of the sliding barn doors that divide the space in half.
Keeping an eye on things when Pete and Delilah are overseas is good friend and master paintslinger Stacey Roper. Rather than sit around and watch TV while she’s there, Stacey has grabbed her paintbrush and slopped on a bit of paint here and there to make things a little more homely. Walking through the sliding doors, you’re immediately transported to America’s Wild West, complete with cabin, saloon, barber shop, jail, and bank — not the normal occupants of a shed in rural New Zealand, it must be said.
Pete says that it all started with the cabin. Delilah was away in Wellington for the day, and Pete was sitting at the table having a coffee looking at the vast expanse in front of him and wondering what the hell he was going to put there. A rapid trip to the building recyclers netted everything he needed, and, after three of four attempts of measure-onceand-cut-three-or-four-times, frontage number one was complete.
When Delilah got home, Pete showed her his
handiwork. So impressed was she with what she saw that she was adamant there was no way he could have done it himself — she even accused him of calling in the builders to build it for him. Pete eventually managed to convince her that wasn’t the case, which meant that there was now no holding him back from building the rest. Pete says that the more time he can spend in the shed, the less time he has to spend inside listening to Delilah telling him what to do and how to do it. This is all well and good until Delilah ventures outside to make one of her frequent inspections. With a smile on his face, Pete says, “I put something on the wall, and Delilah comes along and tells me it’s in the wrong place and where I need to put it!”
No shed is complete without a couple of cars inside — after all, that’s the main purpose of a shed, right? Thus, on the opposite side, facing the scene straight out of Blazing Saddles, is a rather impressive line-up of Henry Ford’s finest. Pete and Delilah don’t play favourites; they like both new and old vehicles, with examples of cars from many decades on display. To pick out just a couple of
examples, a Shelby Super Snake represents the modern while a Model T represents the not-quiteso-modern.
As is most often the case in the car world, nothing is ever finished, and this shed is no exception. Consider it more a work in progress that Pete is adding to at his leisure — bear in mind, though, that it has gone from bare walls to what you see in front of you in only two and a half years. We guess that’s how retired dairy farmers slow down, huh? Pete says that “it’ll never be finished”, but, when or if it ever is, Delilah has plans to keep Pete busy for a few more years yet. He promised that he would build her a diner, and guess what? The diner is currently under construction, so now he has two building projects on the go — so much for a relaxed retirement, but that’s a story for another day.
Monaros, may late-model for or a fetish another car that a long memory, Monaro,Those with widebody all-steel the couple’s 47 recognize Issue No. way back in NZV8, featured in
This ’69 Falcon GT has been owned by Pete and Delilah for the past 10 years. They bought it off Pete’s brother, who had owned it for 25 years
This Shelby Super Snake was bought to prove a point to Delilah: that Pete would make money on it. It spends most of its life inside, slowly appreciating in value