NEW ZEALAND CLASSIC CAR THE COLLECTORS
Victors, for example, must have been trimmed in good-quality vinyl, because, 50 years on, it’s still in good condition and supple.
One lady owner
A Ford Escort Mark II was a common car in its day, even the upmarket 1.6-litre Ghia model. However, what makes Peter’s example so special is that it has covered just 12,600 kilometres. He is only the second owner, the Escort’s first being a lady who used it to go to the supermarket, church, and her cards group — and, presumably, to get a regular warrant of fitness. Otherwise, the car didn’t go anywhere. Peter also has a one-lady-owner Morris Minor, while a Nissan 300Z is two-owner car. The bright yellow Chrysler Hunter within his collection had one owner before him, and Peter believes it to be the last example off the Todd Motors production line.
A pair of Ford Cortinas was once owned by one couple — both Mk1 models — a wagon for him and a saloon for her. Peter bought them as a set. Another Ford in the collection is a black Consul Mk1 — another one-owner vehicle when Peter bought it.
A Hillman Super Minx, in white with a broad red stripe along the side, came from Christchurch, where it was used as the Linwood Fire Station’s rapid response unit. Peter can’t say that without laughing, but at the time the Minx was probably considered to be relatively rapid.
Despite the strong British flavour of his collection, Peter’s car-owning past has been quite varied. Back in his young days, he owned a 1963 Chevrolet Corvette for a while — the rare and very desirable split-window model. This was just one of several collectable, and now valuable, cars that have passed through his hands over the years.
Most of Peter’s cars are in long-term storage, disturbed only occasionally when he wants to get a particular one out. With them parked bumper to bumper in long lines that seemingly disappear into the distance, extracting one can take most of a day. While the cars may be covered in dust, they are
A time to buy, a time to sell
The best news for car enthusiasts is that most of Peter’s cars can be purchased. While there are some that he won’t part with, he would like to downsize his collection, as he knows very well that he has enough projects for several lifetimes — he reckons that it’s time for others to enjoy some of these classic cars. A few have already gone, while a couple have names on them.
At the time of my visit, the Series III Rapier had been sold to a Taranaki enthusiast, and was awaiting extraction from its resting place. Several others might be heading to the same region. Peter’s not interested in tyre kickers, but if a car in the photographs grabs your attention, or you genuinely want a British project car (or two, or …), give him a call on: 027 452 2700.