New Zealand Classic Car - - FEATURE -

As with most projects, it is al­ways eas­ier to keep it go­ing if you do it with some­body else. It would be a great project for them to do to­gether, or even bet­ter if they made one each. Why build one when you can build two? Makes per­fect sense, re­ally. So, in 1984, Ron pur­chased a wrecked Honda CB750 (now a clas­sic in its own right) from Whangarei, and Pip a 750cc Suzuki. The two bikes were the most ex­pen­sive sin­gle part of the build. The VW front sus­pen­sion was quite easy to ob­tain.

formed. The foam proved to be light, rea­son­ably flex­i­ble, and easy to sand, but not very strong. This was found out by Ron’s cat when it jumped from the roof rafters — rather than land­ing grace­fully on the body, it left a cat-shaped hole, land­ing in the cock­pit. In a panic, it clawed its way out, mak­ing the hole even big­ger. Need­less to say, when Ron dis­cov­ered the hole, he pon­dered how many cat lives it was worth. Af­ter a day or four he calmed down. The hole was patched up, and the cat lived on bliss­fully un­aware of just how lucky it was. Still, it never went any­where near the car again.

Strin­gent rules

The ma­jor ad­van­tage of us­ing the foam was that the front of the car could be re­shaped so that it could be road le­gal in New Zealand. In the US, it is OK to have a Per­spex wind­screen on a mo­tor­bike, and, as the car is clas­si­fied as a mo­tor­bike in most states, the Tri-mag­num could be reg­is­tered with a sim­ple Per­spex wind­screen. New Zealand has a more strin­gent set of rules, and, be­cause it had a steer­ing wheel, it was clas­si­fied as a car, so would need seat­belts, a lam­i­nated glass wind­screen, wipers, etc. The cost of get­ting suitable curved glass made for it was pro­hib­i­tive, so both Pip and Ron opted for a sim­ple flat wind­screen, which, although it de­tracted a lit­tle from the Tri-mag­num’s looks, would, as they dis­cov­ered later, make the fit­ting of the sin­gle wind­screen wiper very sim­ple. For­tu­nately, the foam was an ex­cel­lent medium for mak­ing th­ese changes, as it could be shaped with noth­ing more tech­no­log­i­cal than sand­pa­per on a block of wood. Once cov­ered in fi­bre­glass, it be­came ex­tremely rigid.

Most of the other me­chan­i­cal com­po­nents were ei­ther sourced from wreck­ers or made by hand. The plans re­quired that Dat­sun 260Z side

Brief ride

Ron’s Tri-mag­num was fin­ished by the end of 1991; Pip’s car would not be fin­ished un­til the fol­low­ing year, as he wanted to per­fect the de­tail­ing such as the ven­ti­la­tion and rain pro­tec­tion.

It was dur­ing 1991 that I first saw the cars, and I even man­aged to get a ride in Ron’s. At

Left: Ply­wood pro­files at­tached to the chas­sis

Right: Ure­thane foam stuck over ply­wood

The Pip Batty Tri-mag­num has a dif­fer­ent bumper, lou­vres, and a sun­roof

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