New Zealand Classic Car - - Readers' Writes Letters -

Igreatly en­joyed your last is­sue and, in par­tic­u­lar, the fea­ture on the Daim­ler V8. I spent my univer­sity va­ca­tion in 1964 work­ing for Croy­don Mo­tors in Christchurch as a gen­eral work­shop dogsbody. Much of my time was spent pre­par­ing Daim­ler V8s for de­liv­ery. The cars would ar­rive at Lyt­tel­ton by ship, bat­ter­ies were fit­ted, and they were then de­liv­ered to Croy­don Mo­tors by trans­porter.

The cars were pro­tected in tran­sit by a layer of grease over the whole body. The first job was to re­move this us­ing kerosene be­fore wash­ing and pol­ish­ing. As they were a lux­ury ve­hi­cle, Clem the work­shop fore­man was pretty fussy at the qual­ity of the fi­nal prod­uct. I was al­ready into cars at that stage, hav­ing grad­u­ated from a Mor­ris 8 to a wreck of an MG TA, and took great plea­sure pre­par­ing such beau­ti­ful ve­hi­cles. I oc­ca­sion­ally had the joy of tak­ing a just-pre­pared Daim­ler through the test­ing sta­tion, and then de­liv­er­ing it to its new owner. I well re­mem­ber tak­ing a sparkling sil­ver V8 to a lady owner in Fen­dal­ton, and re­turn­ing with the trade-in. The lady in ques­tion never even came out to look at the new car, sim­ply gave me the keys to the trade-in and said good­bye — an unimag­in­able re­sponse to a car en­thu­si­ast who could only dream of ever own­ing such a beau­ti­ful car.

In­ci­den­tally, Croy­don Mo­tors was also the agent for the Prince Glo­ria at that time, and a num­ber of com­pa­nies were

wheels for its new role as a hill-climber!

With spares in­clud­ing an­other Cli­max en­gine, spare gear ra­tios, and de Dion, plus orig­i­nal knock-on wire wheels, we, too, un­der­es­ti­mated its value and it lan­guished in our parts room for a while, with the oc­ca­sional quick blat down the side street next to our work­shop. Hell, it was neat!

At a time when our charge-out rate was $6.60 an hour, and with a new busi­ness to sup­port, we de­cided that we couldn’t af­ford, or jus­tify, the $650 it was go­ing to cost for new alu­minium bodywork for the front of the Lotus, so we made the de­ci­sion to sell it.

Since then, ev­ery time I see an ar­ti­cle about the Eleven, I al­ways think, like all of us who have ever let a clas­sic slip through their fin­gers, if only!

I would be very in­ter­ested, if only for nos­tal­gia rea­sons, to find out if any of your mo­tor-sport and col­lec­tor read­ers know of ‘my’ car’s des­tiny and present where­abouts. At some stage I heard that it had been re­stored to its orig­i­nal glory and was rac­ing in his­toric rac­ing around the coun­try, but I have never taken the search fur­ther. Your ar­ti­cle has rekin­dled fond mem­o­ries and thoughts of the car’s cur­rent where­abouts.

Mau­rice Hol­lands, via email

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