Honour­ing Hol­lows

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - RICHARD MAYS

A 20-year restora­tion job main­tains a city con­nec­tion with Palmer­ston North-raised oph­thal­mol­o­gist Fred Hol­lows.

In 1983, Murray Martin bought a derelict 1964 Mercedes Benz for $700. The re­cent Tri­bune ar­ti­cle about Fred Hol­lows Day at Palmer­ston North Boys’ High prompted him to add this car to the Fred Hol­lows story.

‘‘It had been sit­ting out in the yard of a garage for quite a pe­riod of time. My son Chris was work­ing at the old Manawatu¯ O¯roua Elec­tric Power Board where the po­lice sta­tion is now, and saw it in the yard from the third floor win­dow,’’ Martin said.

The car was in bad shape. Pan­els had rusted out, the sills needed re­plac­ing, the up­hol­stery was in a state, and the car’s en­gine was sit­ting in the boot.

Var­i­ous other parts were stashed inside the garage. The owner, Ian Do­dun­ski, had been talk­ing about en­ter­ing the car in a de­mo­li­tion derby.

De­spite the ve­hi­cle’s con­di­tion, the own­er­ship papers and ser­vice records were im­mac­u­late.

‘‘It would have been an ex­pen­sive car in its day,’’ Martin said.

The car was reg­is­tered in New Zealand in 1968 to Hol­lows at 61 Botan­i­cal Rd.

‘‘It was reg­u­larly ser­viced at Manawatu¯ Mo­tors on Ran­gitı¯kei St, where Wald­ing St is now.’’

By the 70s, Hol­lows had es­tab­lished med­i­cal ser­vices for Aus­tralian Abo­rig­i­nals in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory and in Sydney, and sold the car to Do­dun­ski in 1973.

The ve­hi­cle had spent time at Fox­ton Beach, the salt air no doubt con­tribut­ing to the ex­ten­sive panel dam­age.

Over two decades, Martin, a mem­ber of the Vin­tage Car Club, re­stored it to as-new con­di­tion, in­clud­ing the MB-tex leatherette up­hol­stery.

The only changes he made were to swap the gen­er­a­tor for an al­ter­na­tor, and for $600, Martin fit­ted the car with power steer­ing.

The 87-year-old has two other cars in his col­lec­tion - a 1961 Hol- den Spe­cial FB sta­tion wagon, and a 1930s ‘‘gang­ster’’ car.

The fully re­stored 1930 Stude­baker straight-six with run­ning boards and rear-hinged so­called ‘‘sui­cide doors’’ is right out of the Pro­hi­bi­tion era.

PHOTO: DAVID UNWIN/STUFF

Murray Martin pur­chased Fred Hol­lows’ 1964 Mercedes Benz 220 for $700 and re­stored it.

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