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