Old vehicles get the thumbs up from Dale
Ask Dale Williams how many motorbikes he has and he develops a certain evasive demeanour.
‘‘There’s 11 in the garage, and, oh, some others around the place,’’ he says, gesticulating in a non-committal manner to his wider surrounds.
Further questioning of the stay-at-home-dad and Porirua City councillor reveals the source of his discomfit.
‘‘My wife doesn’t really know how many bikes I have and it’s probably good that way.’’
For Williams, the bikes mean many things but mainly they evoke happy memories and he’ll get to share them in the Motor Trade Association Show later this month.
There’s the 1973 Yamaha found in an Invercargill hay barn, the old farm bike that starts first pop and the one that really makes his eyes sparkle - a Harley Davidson Fatboy he bought new in 2006.
‘‘That’s the one that will go to the grave with me. I’d like to be 80-years-old and have a bike that’s always been mine.’’
Now retired, Williams did his mechanics apprenticeship in the late 1970s - he still tinkers from his original 1979 toolbox.
‘‘I like the idea of things last- ing, or being repaired and not thrown away.’’
The bikes he collects are mainly Yamahas from the late 70s and 80s because they’re the ones he used to work on.
‘‘Most of what I’ve added to my collection come from that era. I don’t like the thought of things deteriorating.’’
He compared collecting bikes to being a treasure hunter, always on the lookout for ‘‘the next nugget’’.
Parked outside his Porirua home is his latest find - one he spent 10 years looking for and finally bought sight unseen.
The orange 1977 Holden HZ, 5 litre V8 was stock-standard, free of any boy racer-type modifications other, similar, vehicles had endured.
‘‘Most of the ones you see about have been modified and there’s nothing wrong with that but I wanted one that was stock.’’
It came from Canterbury, a good thing because of the dry air down south, Williams said.
‘‘The Valiants, Holdens and Falcons of the 50s, 60s and 70s didn’t last because they fell apart in New Zealand’s wet weather.’’
He’s had the ute for 10 months and drives it every day.
‘‘People give us the thumbs up when they see the ute.’’
Dale Williams with some of the motorbikes he’s collected.