Recreations and restorations
When putting this issue together, I was reminded once again of just how much talent we have in this country of ours when it comes to recreating and restoring classic cars.
Take, for example, the Buick Roadmaster. The restoration on this car is undoubtedly world class, and I defy anyone to show me a better example. In my view it’s an absolute credit to the individuals who have painstakingly poured many hours into ensuring every component of this car is perfect, treating it as if it were their own — and it shows. Backed up by car owners, Shaun and Rita Eastell, who have been the driving force behind this project, and have striven for nothing less than excellence, this car is simply stunning.
Secondly, the Jaguar C-type is another example of just how much talent we tuck away in all parts of the country. When it comes to the art of coachbuilding, it’s fair to say that we are blessed with craftsmen of internationally renowned skill, passion, and immense talent. The New Zealand coachbuilding industry can be traced back to the early 1900s, after a few attempts were made at creating locally made vehicles, but it wasn’t until the 1920s that coachbuilders quickly moved into building bodies for imported motor-vehicle chassis.
Fast forward several decades to today, and coachbuilding craftsmen — some of whom are from second- and thirdgeneration coachbuilding families — hone their skills on restoring rusty and fatigued classics to return them to their former glory, or recreating from scratch such exotics as early Ferraris, Jaguars and Alfa Romeos, to name but three. In many cases, amazing results are still achieved with equipment that is considered primitive in today’s modern and consumerist world of quick-turnarounds.
Many enthusiasts involved in the classic-car fraternity believe that this traditional art is slowly but surely dying away as the older master craftsmen hang up their tools after decades of plying their trade. Fortunately, there are still a few Kiwi companies that are doing their bit to keep the art of coachbuilding alive and well, and creating worldclass vehicles. Long may they continue.
Till next month … Ashley Webb Editor