DAY-GLO METALFLAKE DREAMS

New Zealand Classic Car - - Editorial - Words: Lach­lan Jones Pho­tos: Rod Dunn

As a 28-year-old, Lach­lan spent his time wor­ry­ing about whether he had a clean shirt to wear and where his next beer would come from. Not Tim Jones. Tim has spent the pre­vi­ous 15 years com­pet­ing on the world stage as a pro­fes­sional ath­lete, reach­ing the heady heights of se­nior rugby in Can­ter­bury, and build­ing an en­vi­able col­lec­tion of cars. We caught up with Tim to find out how the 28-year-old has come to own a wide ar­ray of pre­dom­i­nantly Ital­ian clas­sics and to ask — given his youth and such a cool col­lec­tion — where he’ll go from here

Fam­ily tree

Tim Jones’ love of clas­sic cars runs deep. He grew up in a house­hold in which clas­sic cars were sim­ply a part of life, and some of his ear­li­est mem­o­ries are of rid­ing in some weird, wild, and won­der­ful cars with his dad, Richard, at the wheel. Alfa Romeos were cer­tainly a favourite, but Tim’s fa­ther owned a bevy of oth­ers, in­clud­ing a BMW 2002 — Richard started the BMW Car Club of Can­ter­bury in the 1980s, and, in 1994, he opened ‘The Ital­ian Job’, an Ital­ian work­shop in Ad­ding­ton that still op­er­ates to­day (al­beit with­out Richard’s in­volve­ment). Richard’s first car was a ’39 Chevy, and, since then, he’s tin­kered away on old cars and passed on the love to his kids — Tim and his brother, Nick, were 10 and 7, re­spec­tively, when they were given a Lan­cia each. Tim’s was a ’63 Flavia, and Nick got a ’63 Ful­via 1C. This was de­spite some trep­i­da­tion from their mum, Robyn, but the boys weren’t about to let the op­por­tu­nity pass, and the rest, is his­tory.

Go for gold

Along­side Tim’s grow­ing pas­sion for clas­sic cars, he some­how man­aged to find time for school and a glit­ter­ing athletics and rugby ca­reer. When he was 17 years old, he was se­lected to rep­re­sent New Zealand in the Youth Olympic Games in Sydney, where he won gold in the 200m (23 sec­onds flat was the time, quite pos­si­bly quicker than some of the cars in Tim’s col­lec­tion!). Later that year, he was of­fered an op­por­tu­nity to com­pete at the se­condary-school world

champs in Morocco. This was a large fi­nan­cial com­mit­ment for his par­ents, so Tim was given a choice: take the trip or get a car (an Alfa Gtv).mak­ing all of us car peo­ple proud, he took the car. This out­come suited Tim well, as he was keen to con­cen­trate on rugby for a bit, as he was in the Christchurch Boy’s High School 1st XV, which won the New Zealand and world se­condary-school cham­pi­onships. Tim was then se­lected for the Can­ter­bury U18s and New Zealand U17s, play­ing along­side such rec­og­niz­able names as Dagg, White­lock, and Crotty.

Tim’s rugby ca­reer con­tin­ued for a cou­ple of years out of school, and he made se­nior club sides, but soon de­cided that athletics was where his pas­sion truly lay. He spent three years con­cen­trat­ing on that dis­ci­pline, which cul­mi­nated in a na­tional ti­tle for the 400m in 2010 (47 sec­onds). From there, he trav­elled to Japan twice with the New Zealand men’s re­lay team.

In be­tween all this, he also found him­self in front of the cam­era as a male model for a cou­ple of years, too. Whew, I’m get­ting tired just writ­ing about Tim’s life, let alone liv­ing it! Any­way, I think you’ll be get­ting a picture of what he’s about. He’s def­i­nitely a high achiever and, in­deed, a per­fec­tion­ist.

1969 Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Ju­nior

The first time Tim spent his own cash on a car was when he was 18 years old. This was a 1969 Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Ju­nior, a dream car for Tim, as Richard has owned a 105-se­ries Alfa for a num­ber of years. When the car ap­peared on Trade Me, Tim spoke to his dad, who knew a pre­vi­ous owner in the 1980s (in fact, he still had a few pho­tos of the car from when it was based in Christchurch). As Tim was jog­ging on the spot, it didn’t take long for him to jump at the chance to own the car.

The GT 1300 was his daily- driver dur­ing his uni­ver­sity days, and she still gets taken out for a blast once a month to keep her go­ing. He in­tends to do a full restora­tion on the car when time per­mits, hop­ing to bring it back to as- close-to-new con­di­tion as pos­si­ble.

1965 Alfa Romeo Gi­u­lia Ti

Some 18 months passed, and Tim had been hap­pily putting around in his wee Alfa un­til he spot­ted an­other one on Trade Me. This time, it was an orig­i­nal Gi­u­lia, the same as his dad’s — a car he had cov­eted for so long. This old Alfa was parked in a pad­dock in Queen­stown, hav­ing not been road­wor­thy for some years.

Tim got in touch with the owner, who agreed to get the car up to Christchurch for him. Amaz­ingly enough for any old car, let alone an Alfa, she started and ran. Tim even man­aged to drive the car off the trailer and put few kilo­me­tres un­der his belt prior to get­ting the body­work un­der­way. This has since been com­pleted, and the Gi­u­lia is now wait­ing for paint and a new VIN.

A proper col­lec­tor

As time went by and money per­mit­ted, Tim con­tin­ued to pur­chase a few of his dream cars as they popped up on­line, and he be­gan to re­al­ize that he was per­haps a proper car col­lec­tor. This fu­elled his pas­sion for col­lect­ing even more.

A 1965 Lan­cia Ful­via 2C ar­rived next, one of only two in New Zealand. The car has cov­ered just 36,000 miles (57,936km), al­though Tim is very keen to get her back to her for­mer glory and has plans for a full restora­tion at some point in the near fu­ture. Soon af­ter, he took own­er­ship of a 1963 Fiat 500D, which is the early sui­cide-door model, and com­pleted a full restora­tion and me­chan­i­cal re­build four years ago.

When a 1971 Citroën DS21 popped up for sale, Tim sim­ply knew he had to have it. He flew up to Welling­ton and jumped in, ready for the not-too-daunt­ing trip home. All was go­ing well un­til he was just a few kilo­me­tres out of Kaik­oura, when the head gas­ket blew. Tim had to walk a cou­ple of kilo­me­tres to man­age mo­bile­phone re­cep­tion and rally the troops (in the form of dear old Dad). Some hours later, Richard ap­peared with a trailer, ready to roll. Un­for­tu­nately, the trailer wasn’t equipped with a winch, and, as the DS was stuck on the side of the road in a gravel pit, the chances of push­ing it onto the trailer were slim. Worse, in the time it had taken Richard to ar­rive, the hy­draulics had given out, and the DS was sit­ting right down on its haunches. Us­ing a bit of nous, Tim and Richard man­aged to use the starter mo­tor, and, in first gear, bunny-hopped the car grad­u­ally onto the trailer. Once it was loaded up and ready to go, they started what ended up be­ing a five-hour jour­ney home — the tow car be­ing a man­ual BMW 318i.

The DS turned out to have a rot­ted­out ra­di­a­tor, and so be­gan the process of putting it back to­gether. In Fe­bru­ary 2011, when the sec­ond quake hit, Tim was at­tend­ing the Uni­ver­sity of Can­ter­bury and us­ing the DS as his daily-driver to haul his band’s gear into the CBD (oh yeah, Tim was in a band as well … what are you do­ing with your life?). Luck­ily, he was out­side the area that be­came the red zone, and avoided in­jury.

1963 Lan­cia Flavia Pin­in­fa­rina coupé

As Tim’d been gifted the Flavia at a very young age, the car had in­grained it­self into his psy­che. Since it had been sold due to stor­age is­sues some years ear­lier, Flavia own­er­ship re­mained a pri­or­ity for Tim, and, when he thought he could af­ford it, he reached out to a renowned Ital­ian en­thu­si­ast in South Auck­land, Wim Leroy. Wim knew there were only five of the cars in the coun­try, and thought he might know of one for sale. Suf­fice it to say that Tim’s ex­pec­ta­tions weren’t high, but, luck­ily, Wim man­aged to help him get in touch with the owner, and, fol­low­ing some back and forth com­mu­ni­ca­tion, he once again be­came the proud owner of a Flavia coupé — this one which he won’t let slip through his hands.

Af­ter some slick de­tec­tive work, he man­aged to as­cer­tain that the car was built in Turin, Italy, in 1963, and cov­ered 100,000km in the next four years.

It was im­ported into New Zealand on Septem­ber 1, 1967, by Giuseppe Re­nato Can­di­ano — fur­ther re­search un­cov­er­ing that Giuseppe was an Ital­ian en­gi­neer / tun­nel builder who came to New Zealand to work on the Ton­gariro Power Project, which com­menced in 1967. The Mi­lan engi­neer­ing com­pany won the con­tract to build the long­est sec­tion of tun­nel, at 22km.

In 1969, the car was sold to a fel­low Ital­ian en­gi­neer/worker on the same project — Luigi Poli — and, upon com­ple­tion of Ton­gariro Power Project — pre­sum­ably af­ter the Ital­ian work­ers left — the car was sold on to a Mal­colm Ste­wart, who lived in Auck­land.

From there, the Flavia went through a num­ber of car-sales yards, and then was off the road for ap­prox­i­mately 20 years await­ing a full restora­tion. Dur­ing this time, it passed through a num­ber of hands, all peo­ple who pur­chased it with the in­ten­tion of restor­ing it, Tim’s dad in­cluded, from 1994 to 2000. How­ever, it only got the right at­ten­tion when a pre­vi­ous owner, Michael Find­lay of Port Chalmers, Dunedin, car­ried out a full restora­tion in time for the 2011 Latins by the Lakes bian­nual rally.

1971 Lan­cia Ful­via coupe 1.3S

Tim had bought a Ful­via in need of a full and com­pre­hen­sive restora­tion. He knew it was go­ing to be a fair way down the list of pri­or­i­ties, but he also knew he had to have one in his col­lec­tion. Not long af­ter he bought the orig­i­nal, a teaser of a one-owner car popped up on a lo­cal auc­tion site, with the seller in­di­cat­ing

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