Recre­ations and restora­tions

New Zealand Classic Car - - Editorial -

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

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