Af­ter 39 years of get­ting up at 4am and ex­tract­ing milk from cows, it was time to sell up and ‘re­tire’ for Pete and Delilah Schi­man­ski. The fam­ily farm and farm­ing life were waved good­bye and the Taranaki coun­try­side was re­placed by a smaller life­style block. A prop­erty just out of town was deemed suf­fi­cient for the cou­ple’s life­style change, although it was lack­ing one cru­cial thing: a shed. Orig­i­nally, the Schi­man­skis’ plan was to build some­thing to house their ’34 coupe and VZ Monaro, and also have a bit of work­shop space for Pete to tin­ker about in. Pete and Delilah didn’t want just any old shed, though; they wanted some­thing a bit big­ger than nor­mal and a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent. The kit­set pole shed was soon erected and lined, ready for the two cars to be parked in­side.

This cou­ple don’t do things by halves, and the shed is no ex­cep­tion. The two cars were eas­ily swal­lowed by the mas­sive struc­ture, and that meant only one thing: it was time to start fill­ing the shed up. The pair are reg­u­lar guests on the US tours or­ga­nized by Palmer­ston North’s Kruzin Kus­toms. At times, three trips a year were em­barked on, giv­ing the cou­ple am­ple op­por­tu­nity to hand-pick var­i­ous arte­facts and ve­hi­cles to start mak­ing the vast ex­panse look a lit­tle more lived in.

Cars and all things ve­hic­u­lar have played a huge part in Pete and Delilah’s lives. The work­shop side of things houses the cou­ple’s Di­etz and Ward ‘Di­nosaur’ al­tered, and boasts more than enough floor and hoist space to house a few more race cars. On the day we visit, good friend and crew mem­ber Terry Pater­son’s only-driven-on-the­week­end-and-never-in-the-rain Honda Ac­cord is get­ting up close and per­sonal with the al­tered, as Terry is a bit short of shed space af­ter the re­cent re­build of his pro-street ’57 Chev.

As you would ex­pect in a car-mad place, the decor

is ap­pro­pri­ate. Posters, signs, var­i­ous car parts, and a col­lec­tion of sal­vaged road signs adorn the walls of the work­shop, giv­ing a hint of what is hid­ing on the other side of the slid­ing barn doors that di­vide the space in half.

Keep­ing an eye on things when Pete and Delilah are overseas is good friend and mas­ter paintslinger Stacey Roper. Rather than sit around and watch TV while she’s there, Stacey has grabbed her paint­brush and slopped on a bit of paint here and there to make things a lit­tle more homely. Walk­ing through the slid­ing doors, you’re im­me­di­ately trans­ported to Amer­ica’s Wild West, com­plete with cabin, sa­loon, bar­ber shop, jail, and bank — not the nor­mal oc­cu­pants of a shed in ru­ral New Zealand, it must be said.

Pete says that it all started with the cabin. Delilah was away in Welling­ton for the day, and Pete was sit­ting at the table hav­ing a cof­fee look­ing at the vast ex­panse in front of him and won­der­ing what the hell he was go­ing to put there. A rapid trip to the build­ing re­cy­clers net­ted ev­ery­thing he needed, and, af­ter three of four at­tempts of mea­sure-on­ce­and-cut-three-or-four-times, frontage num­ber one was com­plete.

When Delilah got home, Pete showed her his

handi­work. So im­pressed was she with what she saw that she was adamant there was no way he could have done it him­self — she even ac­cused him of call­ing in the builders to build it for him. Pete even­tu­ally man­aged to con­vince her that wasn’t the case, which meant that there was now no hold­ing him back from build­ing the rest. Pete says that the more time he can spend in the shed, the less time he has to spend in­side lis­ten­ing to Delilah telling him what to do and how to do it. This is all well and good un­til Delilah ven­tures out­side to make one of her fre­quent in­spec­tions. With a smile on his face, Pete says, “I put some­thing on the wall, and Delilah comes along and tells me it’s in the wrong place and where I need to put it!”

No shed is com­plete with­out a cou­ple of cars in­side — af­ter all, that’s the main pur­pose of a shed, right? Thus, on the op­po­site side, fac­ing the scene straight out of Blaz­ing Sad­dles, is a rather im­pres­sive line-up of Henry Ford’s finest. Pete and Delilah don’t play favourites; they like both new and old ve­hi­cles, with ex­am­ples of cars from many decades on dis­play. To pick out just a cou­ple of

ex­am­ples, a Shelby Su­per Snake rep­re­sents the mod­ern while a Model T rep­re­sents the not-quiteso-mod­ern.

As is most of­ten the case in the car world, noth­ing is ever fin­ished, and this shed is no ex­cep­tion. Con­sider it more a work in progress that Pete is adding to at his leisure — bear in mind, though, that it has gone from bare walls to what you see in front of you in only two and a half years. We guess that’s how re­tired dairy farm­ers slow down, huh? Pete says that “it’ll never be fin­ished”, but, when or if it ever is, Delilah has plans to keep Pete busy for a few more years yet. He promised that he would build her a diner, and guess what? The diner is cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion, so now he has two build­ing projects on the go — so much for a re­laxed re­tire­ment, but that’s a story for an­other day.

Monaros, may late-model for or a fetish an­other car that a long mem­ory, Monaro,Those with wide­body all-steel the cou­ple’s 47 rec­og­nize Is­sue No. way back in NZV8, fea­tured in

This ’69 Fal­con GT has been owned by Pete and Delilah for the past 10 years. They bought it off Pete’s brother, who had owned it for 25 years

This Shelby Su­per Snake was bought to prove a point to Delilah: that Pete would make money on it. It spends most of its life in­side, slowly ap­pre­ci­at­ing in value

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