FEA­TURE CARS

New Zealand Classic Car - - Feature Car -

Grant’s DB2/4 MKII

Grant first car, pur­chased in 1967, was a 1931 Austin 7 sa­loon that needed new king­pins and other main­te­nance in or­der to meet the WOF stan­dards of the day. As it was so small, Grant was able to park the Austin be­tween the trunks of the trees on Sy­monds Street and the foot­path kerb, with­out at­tract­ing the at­ten­tion of the park­ing war­dens, whilst he at­tended lec­tures at the Uni­ver­sity of Auck­land. This car re­quired all main­te­nance to be done in the home work­shop, and taught Grant a lot about au­to­mo­tive en­gi­neer­ing — ef­fec­tively, the diminu­tive 7 sup­plied the foun­da­tion for his love of en­gines con­nected to wheels.

Sev­eral years later, an ac­ci­dent-dam­aged TR3A was ac­quired and to­tally re­built over a pe­riod of years, but was sold fol­low­ing Grant’s mar­riage to his wife, He­len, and the sub­se­quent ar­rival of a fam­ily. When Grant’s chil­dren were young, there was time to work over an­other car, and this time it was a TR4A. This beauty was even­tu­ally sold to help fund the pur­chase of a big­ger house.

At that time, Grant’s fam­ily also had a Tri­umph Her­ald — He­len’s car — and he reck­ons this was the eas­i­est ve­hi­cle to main­tain they ever owned. It was swapped for a BMW 200Tii in the mid 1970s, this ar­guably be­ing the most ex­pen­sive car to main­tain they ever had, but an ab­so­lute joy to drive. It was sold when He­len en­gaged in full-time em­ploy­ment which came with a com­pany car.

Then there was a pe­riod of about 15 years when they swapped cars for yachts when the chil­dren were teenagers, although they did un­der­take the rebuild of a 1972 Re­nault 4 es­tate car dur­ing that time — this orig­i­nally be­ing their daugh­ter’s first car, and when she no longer wanted it, the Re­nault be­came a restora­tion project. Grant and He­len came back to sports cars in 2002 when they took de­liv­ery of a new Mor­gan Aero 8 from the fac­tory in Malvern Link, near Worces­ter in the UK. Their car was num­ber 130 from a build of 296 cars, a Se­ries 1 ver­sion with no airbags or ABS, which made it ar­guably one of the last of the ‘true’ Bri­tish sports cars built. The Mor­gan was def­i­nitely be­yond Grant’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties to main­tain, but he found an ex­cel­lent trades­per­son in Derek Atkin­son, owner of Atkin­son Restora­tion Ser­vices in Hen­der­son. Dave stepped up to the mark and has looked af­ter

Af­ter fol­low­ing up on a ca­sual re­mark from Derek Atkin­son about an old As­ton in a barn that could be an in­ter­est­ing restora­tion project, Grant and He­len even­tu­ally be­came the own­ers of the late Bruce Rad­ford’s 1957 As­ton Martin DB2/4 sa­loon, in Novem­ber 2012

the car ever since it ar­rived in New Zealand. Derek is the North Is­land Mor­gan sports car ser­vice ex­pert and, as Grant and He­len’s was the first Aero 8 in New Zealand, they de­cided to work with him with re­gard to the learn­ing curve re­quired on how to look af­ter th­ese very in­di­vid­ual, hand-built cars. All prob­lems have been solved but, in ret­ro­spect, there have only re­ally been a few over the years. This car re­mains in the sta­ble at present, and is used fre­quently.

The cou­ple grew to like their first Mor­gan so much that, in 2008, they pur­chased an­other — this time a 1988 Ford 1600cc 4/4 four-seater. It had been im­ported from the UK and was living in Have­lock North. To­tally dif­fer­ent to the Aero 8, but quintessen­tially Mor­gan, she is the baby of the fleet and has also re­ceived a ma­jor rebuild cour­tesy of Derek Atkin­son. The sin­gle over­head cam Ford CVH en­gine was el­e­gantly re­built, with a few tweaks to pro­vide bet­ter per­for­mance, and the body­work and in­te­rior was given a ma­jor restora­tion. The num­bers 4/4 af­ter the word Mor­gan mean that it is a four wheel, four-cylin­der-en­gined car, and theirs is a four-seater to make it eas­ier to carry lug­gage when tour­ing. This Mor­gan is ideal for city run­ning, although she has been to Christchurch and back for the NZ Clas­sic Car Rally in 2012, an event she han­dled ex­tremely well.

The As­ton Ar­rives

Fi­nally, af­ter fol­low­ing up on a ca­sual re­mark from Derek Atkin­son about an old As­ton in a barn that could be an in­ter­est­ing restora­tion project, Grant and He­len even­tu­ally be­came the own­ers of the late Bruce Rad­ford’s 1957 As­ton Martin DB2/4 sa­loon, in Novem­ber 2012.

With a chas­sis num­ber of AM3001155, orig­i­nally this car was painted two-tone sil­ver and gun­metal.

Delv­ing back into the car’s his­tory, Grant dis­cov­ered that it had orig­i­nally been im­ported by Man­thel Mo­tors in Lower Hutt, and was first reg­is­tered to Ernest Vogth­err of Napier on March 13, 1957. On March 12, 1962, own­er­ship changed to James Morey of Lower Hutt, and then to De­nis Woods of Days Bay on June 1,

Dash­board and in­stru­men­ta­tion restora­tion and a myr­iad of other things — all of which all add up to the re­sult that the car is now a vir­tu­ally new 1957 As­ton Martin DB2/4

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