Hello club members, I hope you are all well and are all your families.
Well this year certainly started of with a hiss and a roar!! And we are
just about at Easter already.
The committee got together the other day and put quite a few events on the calendar
for club members to participate in.
We have got a date for our 15th anniversary club celebrations which is Saturday the 2nd
of July, so mark it on your calendar as it would be nice to get as many people to come
along, past and present members included. The venue is yet to be to finalised, and we
will be asking for confirmation of attendance closer to the time.
The club had a wonderful turn out at the Galaxy of Cars a month or so back, great to
see so many cars in one space again and the public enjoyed the whole day going by
their questions and comments.
The first Sounds of Chrome event at Hampton Downs race track was a packed
weekend that had a couple of hiccups, but can only get better in the years to come.
Whoever took their cars around the track on Sunday had fun too, and what about
those off camber corners, as they came up pretty fast if you didn’t watch out.
A committee member asked me the other day if we were going to have another over
night run again, so we have our eyes on another BOP Mustang club’s American day
down at Tauranga. This is on the 27th of November, traditionally around the time we
have our club Christmas party, so we may have it the next weekend which is the 4th of
December, lets wait and see.
A good out of town run to check out a couple of garages is coming up on the 15th May.
Wellsford is not too far away and with a glimpse at the itinerary, it looks like a great
day. Thanks to Brian Martin who is organising this one. If you come along to this day
you may win some petrol vouchers in the lucky draw. So watch out for emails about
this, as it will be an early start for some of you, but well worth it though.
Please welcome two new members to the club - Shane Wilson who owns a 1961
Cadillac De Ville, and Greg and Diane Lees with a 1968 AMC Ambassador SST.
Please say hi if you see them out on a club run, as it can be a bit daunting turning up
where you don’t know anyone.
Tip for the month.
How old is the brake fluid in your cars braking system?
Can’t remember? Change it anyway to be sure to keep water and contaminants out as
they can lead to premature brake wear or at worst brake failure, and in the scheme of
things it doesn’t cost too much to have good brakes, especially if you live in Auckland.
See you all soon
Shane Beckham Ojjjj------------o
Hi there fellow club members, the following are a few
housekeeping issues for your attention:-
1/ Please note that it is the owners responsibility to ensure that their classic is
rego’d and WOF’d when going on ACCC organized club runs, as the club is not
responsible for mishaps, accidents or prosecutions that may occur as a result.
2/ Last chance to send in your 2011 subs. on the form below!
3/ As per last AGM, we are sending out a members contact sheet with the next
issue of the Cruisepaper, listing only Name, Suburb or Town, and Phone Number
of current members (no street address). If you have an objection to your details
being listed, you need to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for exclusion.
cheers Russell ☺
President Shane Beckham 5374846 email@example.com
Secretary/Treasurer Dave Roper 8386800 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cruisepaper Editor Russell Wilson 5780868 email@example.com
Feature Writer Rodger Scorgie 5764844 firstname.lastname@example.org
Lloyd Beehre 4181815 email@example.com
Barrie Hurst 8366218 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jolinda Impey 5350304 Jolinda.Impey@hbh.org.nz
Chris Thompson 8174676 email@example.com
Graeme McKay 4161167 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rob Milligan 4836615 email@example.com
Liz Preest 8135540 firstname.lastname@example.org
Freephone 0800 456 254 or
AMERICAN CLASSIC CAR CLUB 2011 MEMBERSHIP SUBSCRIPTION
If you haven’t yet paid your 2011 membership subscription, please do so now, as this is your
final reminder. Please mail your cheque for $60 to Shane Beckham, 10D Baird Street, Howick.
Club vehicle(s) year, make, model……………………………………………………………………….
Neil Roper and Lesly Kirkland
There are families that dabble in cars and then there are those like
the Ropers who have acquired so many cars over the years that
they are hard to keep track of. All three boys in the family have
been active members of the ACCC and all live and breathe
American cars. Dave the oldest, featured in the Oct 2010 Members
Gallery and now we get a chance to see what middle brother Neil
and partner Lesly get up to.
The boys grew up in Wellington before the family moved early to West Auckland with Neil working for 20
years in the manufacturing side of Reckit and Coleman before they closed their NZ operation in 1989.
After a particularly tough time with his wife passing away and being left to look after a young family, he
turned his hand to a bit of carpentry before establishing a contract painting business which keeps him
more than occupied these days. Two grown up children, include a daughter who is a top West Auckland
auto painter (owns a show stopping Mussy Fastback with $100K invested) and a musician son.
But soul mate these days is Lesly, who describes herself as a “ten pound” Pom, having emigrated with
her family in the 50’s from Romford in Essex. Neil and Lesly found they were the perfect match when
they discovered they both moved to the Rock and Roll beat as well as the sound of a well tuned V8
motor. Together they have competed in R&R dances in the UK and Australia, and even organised dance
concerts at the Mandalay.
But what about the cars I hear you say. Well brother Dave told me Neil’s very first car was a Hot Rod at
age 17, and it just went from there. Almost too many to list but they include, 1928 Model A Tourer, a
1936 2 door flat back, a 1930 Model A Sports Coupe, a 1934 Tudor, three 1934 four door sedans, a
1932 Ford Phaeton, and a 1932 Nostalgia Hot Rod with a Flat Head motor. Add to this two 1934 Ford
Phaetons, a 1934 3 window coupe, a 1970 genuine Bathurst Monaro (sold for $2200 and still kicking
himself) a low mileage XA GT Red Pepper Falcon, a 1967 yellow Mercury Cougar and a Rambler
Classic. Did I miss any?
One of Neil and Lesly’s current collection is a super 1934 3 window coupe that you see in the picture.
Bought in 1971 as a bare body shell lying in the rough, it was a new NZ vehicle in its day and had been
owned by Bob Ferrabend, brother of the stock car driver. This find started a seven year build that
involved scrounging bits at swap meets for years and collecting missing parts from here and there. It has
a fully boxed chassis, four wheel disc brakes and sports a 1968 429 Ford big block motor linked to a C6
auto and a four spider limited slip diff with a 3:0 ratio. There is also Lesly’s 58 Chev, a NZ new car, half
restored. It sports a 350 small block and a Turbo 350 auto, and has a new interior by Len Freshwater
who fitted out the seats and linings. Also in the present stable is a ‘73 Corvette, owned for 18 years.
But it’s not all local stuff as these two enjoy travelling. In 2003 they were in the UK doing a bit of Rock
and Roll competition but also taking in some of the big UK car shows such as the Americarna (yes they
have one too) with over 5000 cars and the NSRA Supernats with 3000 cars on display. Also such
American car shows in the UK as the “Valley of the Giants” and the Knebworth House Classic Car Show
near Stevenage. Closer to home they are regulars to the
Wintersun at Coolangatta and can be spotted at most local car
In October 2010 they took themselves off to the US and visited
a couple of LA car shows and swap meets before heading to
Las Vegas and the Barratt Jackson car Auction. Time however,
also to squeeze in an Elvis “Commitment Ceremony” in the
Chapel and a visit to the Hoover Dam. Then it was off to
Memphis and Gracelands to shed a tear with Elvis. Boy oh Boy,
how do these people fit in a day out with the American Classic
Man’s Best Friend
A little girl asks her mum, 'Mum, can I take the dog for a walk around the
Her mum replies 'No, because she is on heat.' 'What does that mean?' asked
the child. 'Go and ask your father. I think he's in the garage.'
The little girl goes out to the garage and says, 'Dad, can I take Lulu for a walk
around the block? I asked Mum, but she said the dog was on the heat, and to
come ask you.'
He took a rag, soaked it in petrol, and scrubbed the dog's backside with it to disguise the scent,
and said 'Ok, you can go now, but keep Lulu on the leash and only go one time around the block.'
The little girl left and returned a few minutes later with no dog on the leash.
Surprised, Dad asked, 'Where's Lulu?'
You're going to love this!!!!!!!!!)...............
The little girl said, 'She ran out of petrol about halfway round the block, so another dog is
pushing her home.'
A couple was going out for the evening. They'd gotten ready, all dolled up, but just needed to
put the dog out when the taxi arrives.
However as the couple walked out of the house, the dog shoots back in the house.
They don't want the dog shut in the house, so the wife goes out to the taxi while the husband
goes upstairs to chase the dog out.
The wife, not wanting it known that the house will be empty, explains to the taxi driver: 'He's
just going upstairs to say good-bye to my mother.'
A few minutes later, the husband gets into the cab.
'Sorry I took so long' he says. 'Stupid b!tch was hiding under the bed and I
had to poke her with a coat hanger to get her to come out! Then I had to wrap
her in a blanket to keep her from scratching and biting me as I hauled her
downstairs and tossed her in the back yard!
She better not crap in the vegetable garden again!'
The silence in the cab was deafening.
Galaxy of Cars - Western Springs February 6
As the saying goes, “the best laid plans of mice and men’ - after arranging to meet fellow club members
on the side of Motions Road leading up to the display field, so we could roll in together, the traffic plan
for getting in was non existent, with cars backed right up Motions Road and around the corner into Great
After a half hour crawl to get to the entrance, the problem
seemed to be the officials, who individually all wanted to stop
each car, and charge differing entrance fees for each car.
After being stopped by no less than four people, we made
our way in to find some club members had already secured a
great spot backing on to the hanger, with enough room to put
up a couple of sunshades.
One of the great things about Galaxy of Cars is the diversity
of vehicles, from American, to British and European, so there
is a great variety to view and occupy the day. Couple this
with the ability to view the aircraft in the hangers, rummage
through the swap meet, or take a tram ride up to Motat, it makes for a great and entertaining day out.
Most club members attending brought their own picnic lunch, so the shades were well frequented
throughout the day. What a great way to spend a warm and sunny Sunday, with lots of cars to look at,
and great company to have a natter with.
Napier Art Deco Festival
Sunny February is a great time to visit Napier and in between checking out the vineyards and
restaurants it is also a great time to soak up the Art Deco Festival. This year it was the 80th
Anniversary of the Hawkes Bay earthquake. Little did anybody know that a few days later an even
more devastating quake would flatten the city of Christchurch in a similar manner.
Because of the timing of the Napier quake on February 3, 1931, the rebuilding was done in a
unique style of the period, later to be known as Art Deco. The festival held annually, is a
commemoration of this disastrous quake that took the life of 258 people, but it is also an
opportunity to celebrate that wild period of dress and cars and architecture during the 1920’s and
The highlight of the Festival, now in it’s 23rd year, is a parade of more than 300 vintage cars
cruising down Emerson Street, weaving their way between spectators dressed up to the nines for
the occasion. Add to this are the street corner Ragtime bands and Barbershop Quartets, people
displaying Jitterbug dancing, and Petanque games in the parks. To cap it off there is the Gatsby
Picnic on Sunday with elegantly attired ladies and gents sipping their bubbly and nibbling delicacies
from their best Royal Doulton china. All terribly posh stuff, but a great scene all the same.
Then there is the Show and Shine for the cars at the Soundshell and for the kids of all ages the
Soapbox Derby on Sunday morning featuring the most amazing trolleys and homemade carts
racing down Tennyson Street.
Add to all this the endless variety of Vineyards with their restaurants and it all adds up to a great
Not to many ACCC members there as it is from a period earlier than we normally celebrate as the
50’s and 60’s, but Dave Parker and Catherine Tristram, who have a car for all occasions were
spotted there in the thick of it.
A great event and well worth a look.
Julia, the blondinies and I set sail earlier this year for a 10 day cruise on the P&O Pearl.
Going out of Auckland was party central with bands
playing and jugglers juggling and passengers singing
and a dancing. I kid you not my bed was almost next
to the buffet, with 5***** accommodation and a young
cabin man at our Beck am call. His name was Abdul
and he was from Jakarta.
We set sail into the night bound for Mystery Island
somewhere near Vanuatu. The sea got a bit rough 2
days out and we couldn’t tender to the island, so we
pressed on through cyclone Varnia and 10 m swells to Port Villa, Vanuatu. We hired a taxi
with our new found friends and checked out a resort and some of the locals, the 2
Blondinies and Julia put on their bathers and swam with a swarm of Turtles, some reef
sharks and a de-barbed stingray. Coconuts were consumed and after another great buffet
we sloped of to bed.
Cyclone Varnia was now growing much bigger and we couldn’t put out
to sea, so we had another day looking around the town, shopping and
exploring. Back on board the 280m - 68,000 ton ship we learned that
another more vicious cyclone Zillia was steaming to Norfolk Island and
Vanuatu, so we high tailed it outa there and out into the open sea.
Now on board this small city of a boat for the next 3 days we bingo-ed,
went to the shows, went to the casino, watched movies and oh! Yes, might have gone to
the buffet once or twice. Jessica even swung it that all of us got a personal invite to have
cocktails with Captain Lorenzo Paollettie.
I can Highly recommend going on a cruise with P&O and it is well worth the money, the
entertainment was superb, the food was fresh and tasty, all the crew are friendly, what
more could you want. Choice! Shady.
The Intermarque Concours d'Elegance Car Show - February 14th
This annual event at Ellerslie is modelled on similar events overseas such as the famous Pebble
Beach Concourse in California. Maybe a bit off that mark, but it is intended as New Zealand’s
celebration of classic and marque cars with competitions based on presentation, appearance,
originality and excellence. Clubs can enter teams of two cars and the Masters Class is open to
individual cars. Both are serious Concours competitions and to win, the cars will need to be
prepared to the highest standard. The team of judges checks all aspects of preparation and
presentation to the finest detail.
The MG Car Club launched the first Intermarque Concours d'Elegance at the sunken gardens,
Cornwall Park on December 1, 1972. The event like now was for all car clubs and MG became the
first winner of the Challenge Shield. Until 1981 MG and Jaguar dominated the Cornwall Park
event. Then Porsche took the Shield and moved the rapidly growing show to Ellerslie. Today over
65 car clubs, sponsors and the restoration industry support the event. The winning club each year
hosts the subsequent event. As winners of the 2010 Team's event the Porsche Car Club is the
2011 NZ Classic Car Show host. Vehicles not only come from around the country but also the
world - in 2003 for example 27 Alvis owners and their cars made the journey from the UK.
While it attracts predominately English and European marques there are still a good number of
American cars in attendance. This year the Muscle Car Club had a good showing and the Cadillac
Club with Brian and Enid Service were showing the flag. The ACCC were not particularly well
represented although Dan and Donna Thompson managed to squeeze in with their Allard after
threatening the gateman.
The Motorkana was worth a look with drivers’ showing skills that would put boy racers and their
burnouts to shame with reverse flicks, hand brake turns and more. Not only Mini’s and MG’s here,
but a good few Camaros and Firebirds going through the paces and round the chicanes.
A very enjoyable day in the sunshine, and for anybody who had a spare $495,000 there was a new
Bentley up for grabs.
Rob’s Autumn Ramblings…………
It’s the weekend before Beach Hop and I promised Russell I’d throw an article together for the
Cruisepaper. I am cutting it fine with the deadline looming I know, but I tell you, I just don’t know
where the time goes cause I never seem to have enough of it!
The weekend of Feb.6 was massive for car events, with Breakfast @ Bellagio’s, Galaxy of Cars
and the Wheels Incorporated Twilight Run to the North Harbour Country Club. And I think there
may have even been a race meeting at Hampton Downs and something on at Meremere as well!
Phew….spoilt for choice! You just have to love summer if you are a petrolhead. A good mate of
mine debuted his replica Masport Escort Service Ford Transit Van, after a thorough 2 year rebuild.
It looked simply fantastic and in the real spirit of classic rallying. All it needed was a Mk2 BDA
Group 4 Escort on a trailer behind it and we would have been back in the late seventies. Just
I opted to do the Twilight Run, as I had the girls that weekend and I knew the Country Club had a
pool, so that was a no brainer! Mary Sarten also fronted up in the Hot Rod Plymouth to do the run
itself, but carried on home as it had been a long day for her, having been to Galaxy as well.
The new start venue for the Twilight was in Parnell, and remarkably worked quite well, despite
quite a reasonable turnout of cars for such a busy weekend. Buy the time we all cruised out the
rural roads north of the East Coast Bays to Dairy Flat, maybe a hundred and fifty cars all parked up
looking cool. A bit down on numbers overall from the last couple of years, but still a successful day.
Looking forward to next years Twilight.
Next up, for me at least, was the 2011 Raglan Classic Car and Rock’n’Roll Weekend, on Feb 12th
and 13th. Now, I like this event – allot. What was disappointing was the rumour someone started
about 3-4 months out that this event was going to be cancelled, for whatever the reason. What did
not help those rumours was the almost total lack of pre-event publicity, with this excellent event
conspicuously absent in all the usual media, such as Petrolhead Magazine and the likes. Pity
The event organisers tried to spice it up a bit this year too, with a mystery cruise on the Saturday
afternoon to start the weekend’s festivities. About 45 cars took part in this cruise, which took us a
short way up the coast from Raglan, then back to the Surf Club for refreshments and a little speech
about the Surf Club – which was one of the charity recipients from our event entry fee of $ 35.00.
Then it was back into town for an afternoon brew at any number of local watering holes or cafes
that must love the extra revenue this event brings into town. The Saturday evening also provided
entertainment in the way of live music and a theme night. I opted to go back to Te Kowhai where I
was staying the night, to wash the Pontiac for the Show and Shine on the Sunday.
A big night was had, compliments of my hosts, and by the time my guests and I got moving on
Sunday morning, you could tell it was going to be a long day! Still, nothing like decent coffee and a
feed to settle the stomach (not to mention the Nurofen for the head!) and it was Show & Shine time
in the main street of Raglan. This is a fantastic, pretty little township that really gets behind this
event. Nevertheless, for whatever reasons the attendant numbers were well down, with maybe 120
– 130 cars parked up for the public to drool over. Great to see Ian and Margaret Bloxam and Dave
and Catherine from our club there on Sunday too. Thanks for the company guys, much
The trip home was uneventful, despite getting pretty low on gas but no worries – I thought. Then,
four days after Raglan, the mighty Pontiac ran out of gas 3km from my place – on the forecourt of a
Shell Station! Try getting people keen to push 2.4 ton of American steel 10 meters to a petrol
pump….nah, not so good!
Once I did get some fuel into it, it still would not start, the fuel pump refusing to drag the liquid gold
from the tank to the carb, and then I flattened the battery trying. So, 30 minutes later and with a
mate’s assistance and his jumper leads and all the fuel lines in the engine bay off, still no juice!
Seems the fuel pump had cried enough, so onto a transporter it went, out to Kumeu to R & S
Thanks to Peter Church of Bunce Chevrolet in Wairau Road, I had another fuel pump that
afternoon, along with a spare fuel filter I already had, and the wagon was running fine again the
following Monday. Whilst hugely inconvenient, this drama could have been way worse, had it
happened at Raglan or Whangamata! So, maybe every cloud does have a silver lining huh?
How many members are going to the Beach Hop? For those that are, I’ll hopefully see you there at
some stage over that week. It should be way cool! Till next time, fingers crossed gas doesn’t go up
too much, but try not to let that put you off enjoying your classic. Cheers guys and gals.
Bayswater School Auto Show
Sunday 6th March again saw Auckland’s North Shore locals get a chance to sample motoring
excellence in their own backyard with the second annual Bayswater Auto Show.
Held at Bayswater School near Devonport, the show is a fundraising initiative for the school. The
resounding success of last years show was a hard act to follow and the inclement weather certainly
took it’s toll on car numbers. However as the day picked up there were plenty of cars on display
from the Cobra club, the Jaguar club, the American Muscle Car club as well as the latest offerings
from local franchise dealers.
Not surprisingly the day had a very kid friendly atmosphere with plenty to keep the young ones
entertained. All the usual school fair stands and stalls were present with lucky dips, raffles,
inflatable slides, and sausage sizzles. It was a great way to pass a few lazy Sunday hours.
SOUNDS OF CHROME - Hampton Downs - FEBRUARY 27
Club members Shane Beckham, Danny and Donna Thompson, and Russell Wilson all keenly turned up
at Bellagios on Sunday morning, along with about a half dozen other American cars to cruise on down to
the Hampton Downs race complex at Meremere. This was the inaugural “Sounds of Chrome” festival,
which was a celebration of all things V8, V10, & V12, running over the whole weekend.
A big surprise when we arrived at the circuit at about 9.30am was that there was almost nobody there.
We parked in the big gravel parking space inside the circuit, but this gradually filled up so there were
about 100 hot rods and classics over the next hour or so. A wander around the trade garages proved to
be very interesting, with club member Neil Roper selling his range of models there also.
The highlight of the day had to be the drive around the circuit itself, which was a real buzz, with 3 laps of
the track being driven with about a dozen other cars. Everyone who registered for the day or weekend
had the opportunity to do the circuit, and most did so. However, some of us were just content to treat it
as an experience, whilst others went the full noise and stopped in the designated area on the track to do
some skids during their laps. Some of the blown V8’s were very spectacular, disappearing in clouds of
tire smoke, which looked somewhat expensive from the tire replacement aspect.
One of the surprising things was that no instructions were given to the drivers before venturing out on
the circuit, such as no passing or minimum distance from other vehicles, but everyone seemed to be
well behaved, with only a couple of breakdowns which had to be towed off the track. There were all sorts
of vehicles on the track during the day, from hot rods and classics, to single seaters and saloon race
cars, the latter of which were circulating very quickly.
From all appearances there did not seem to be many of the
paying public around apart from the car owners and
passengers, so it was difficult to see how the weekend event
would have been a financial success for the organisers.
However, from an ACCC point of view, we scooped the
awards, with Danny & Donna Thompson taking out the best
Euro award with their Allard, and Alex Ross taking best
American and next year’s poster car with his ’59 Impala.
1958 Ford Thunderbird - Mexican Blackbird
Billy F. Gibbons' '58 Thunderbird
From the August, 2010 issue of Street Rodder
By Eric Geisert
It seems most hot rodders like to collect. Fenders,
steering wheels, valve covers, taillights-they can
all be collected to varying degrees and, chances
are, if you aren't already a collector you probably
know someone who qualifies.
For those who have a severe case of collecting (or
hoarding), the medical field has a name for it:
obsessive-compulsion disorder. But where do you draw the line? When is having 10 '34 Fords in your
garage (or the parts thereof) too many?
Though most folks know Billy F. Gibbons as the frontman for the Texas rock 'n' roll trio identified
collectively as ZZ Top, true fans already know of one of his obsessions: fine automobiles. You've
seen them in the music videos that helped launch MTV in the '80s (the Eliminator coupe) and you've
read about them in the appropriate magazines (CadZZilla in Hot Rod, July 1989; and his '36 coupe in
the May '95 issue of STREET RODDER).
Billy also collects guitars and, as you might imagine, it's extensive (one number
puts it around 600). The assortment is world class and was outlined in the '05
book: Rock + Roll Gearhead but the work also highlights 10 of his cars, as
they're as much about his personality as the guitars he plays and the songs he
writes. Always writing new material for the next album, Billy never lets up with
his interest in cars. His most recent addition, a vintage '58 Thunderbird
nicknamed "The Mexican Blackbird" (after a '75 ZZ Top song of the same
name), was customized and subsequently reborn at the hands of SO-CAL
Speed Shop in Pomona, California, under the direction of Billy's longtime
compadre and accomplice, Pete Chapouris.
For Chapouris, whose long and illustrious history of car building is as long as Billy's four-decade
musical career, the project took him back to his early days growing up in El Monte, California, which
is just down the boulevard from Bell Gardens, Whittier, Downey, and a host of other small cities that
have had a big impact on car builders over the years, so the look of the cars coming out of Gene
Winfield's or Larry Watson's was a big influence on him.
So it wasn't a big surprise when Billy contacted Chapouris to have SO-CAL Speed Shop begin work
on something Billy had always wanted: a mid-'50s mild custom. And since the pair had worked
together on a number of projects before (including the twin HogZZilla motorcycles and the '50 Ford
three-window coupe called Kopperhed), they knew they could bounce ideas off each other and come
up with something special.
A mild custom is just that - not a lot of body mods, but enough to make a statement. Rounded door
and hood corners, shaved trim, scalloped paintjobs, and a custom upholstered interior are all
hallmarks of the genre, and all were going to be employed on Billy's ride.
So Billy reached into his warehouse of cars and produced a mint '58 for the SO-CAL team to start on.
With a textbook low profile (aided by Jamco Suspension's 3-inch lower
coils in the back and 2-inchers up front), the 'Bird's main body mod would
be the removal of the hood scoop and flattening of the hood, capably
handled by SO-CAL's Richie Nogueria. The results make the car look
even lower, as your eye isn't drawn to a big hump on top of the hood. The
wheels, gold-colored 15x7 Wheel Smith steelies, were shod with
BFGoodrich Silvertown/Coker 6.70-15 2.5-inch whitewalls and then
topped with a set of 15-inch '57 Dodge Lancer hubcaps. One of the few
items to be replaced on the T-Bird was the gas tank, which Larry's T-Bird
in Corona, California, reproduces.
The car's nameplate, fender gunsights, and door trim pieces were
removed by SO-CAL's Tony Sandoval, but the factory Thunderbird
emblems found on the nose and decklid were left intact. After SO-CAL's
body shop massaged it to perfection, they rolled the car into Mick Jenkins' on-site spray booth and
covered the car with PPG two-stage black paint.
Much talk between Billy and Chapouris ensued as the pair figured out exactly how the scallop
paintjob would be finished. After deciding on gold highlights that would follow most of the car's major
bodylines, DR Design's Dennis Ricklefs laid out the tape and filled everything in with House of Kolors
It was determined the interior of the 'Bird would have just as much impact as the exterior, so Gabe's
Street Rod and Custom Interiors got the call to begin working on the highly modified factory seats
and adding black and gold Ultra Leather to the buckets. SO-CAL's Evin Veazie modified the stock
wiring loom and Dynamat insulation was used throughout, as was square-weave carpet.
The dash is stock, except for a simple but effective stereo system,
created by Alan Hickman at Audio Shoppe in Riverside, California.
When looking at the dash, you see the factory radio in its stock spot, but
it's just a facade. Upon opening the ashtray, there is a plug-in device for
Billy's iPod nano, which is a fifth-generation unit from Apple that
includes an internal FM tuner to go along with the hours of music he's
downloaded to his iPod.
A pre-amp is located in the glovebox that also has the tone and fade
controls. The system then runs to two Arc Audio amps-one to drive the
four Arc Audio high speakers (two 5-1/4-inchers up front and two 4-
inchers in the rear) and the other for the twin 8-inch Arc Audio
subwoofers found in a special-made (16 hours!) fiberglass enclosure.
Hickman explains: "It isn't a thumper type of stereo system, but it
delivers more performance-per-dollar than other systems."The engine,
an all-stock 352, was detailed and dressed up with a set of chrome valve covers and air cleaner, but
is otherwise your basic Y-block V-8 connected to a factory Ford-O-Matic transmission.
Once the low-slung Thunderbird was finished, it was time for a debut, and the car was shipped to the
Moon Eyes show in Japan, and then formally unveiled in the United States at the Petersen
Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. As Chapouris explains: "The Mexican Blackbird demonstrates
what customizers have known for years. With the right platform it doesn't take much more than paint,
upholstery, a good wheel combination, and slamming it to the ground to have the baddest ride in the
We couldn't agree more.
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Hot Dates for Apr – May
2 Hot Rod Club champs, Fram Autolite Dragway, Meremere
3 All Ford Day, North Harbour Stadium, Albany 10am to 2pm
3 Nostalgia Drags, Fram Autolite Dragway, Meremere
3 NZ Petrolhead/NZ Rodder breakfast at Bellagio, Plunket Avenue,
Manukau City from 7.30am.
7 Yank Tank Thursday, Botany Town Centre, Botany from 6pm
11 Renegade R&C burger run & rocker cover racing, Cranks Bar,
Mercari Way, Albany from 7pm.
16 Performance & Auto swap meet, Fram Autolite Dragway, Meremere
16 National Diecast Models Collectors Fair, Community Centre, 52
Hepburn Street, Freemans Bay 11am to 3pm
16 Hot Rod Display, Outrageous Fortune exhibition, Auckland Museum
1pm to 3pm
17 ACCC run to Glenbrook Steam Trains. Meet at Papakura BP Service
Centre at 9.30am for 10am departure. Bring picnic lunch or eat at
Waiuku during train ride.
17 Mid West Street Rods’ rodders breakfast, BP Autobahn, Northern
Motorway from 8.30am to 10.30am
19 Burger Fuel Henderson, Cnr.Te Pai Place & Lincoln Road from 6pm
23-25 Muscle Car show & swap meet, Netball Centre, Te Pai Place,
24 Outlaw Drags, Fram Autolite Dragway, Meremere
25 Anzac Day Hot Rod show, Cranks Bar, Mercari Way, Albany from
27 Burger Fuel gathering, 2/957 Gt. Sth. Rd, Manukau from 7.00pm.
1 NZ Petrolhead/NZ Rodder breakfast at Bellagio, Plunket Avenue,
Manukau City from 7.30am.
8 GM Enthusiasts Club Day Out, Clevedon School, Clevedon 10-2pm
8 Wheels of Fortune display, Lions Club, Pukekohe Park Raceway
9 Renegade R&C burger run & rocker cover racing, Cranks Bar,
Mercari Way, Albany from 7pm.
15 ACCC garage run to Wellsford. Meet at BP Service Centre, Northern
Motorway for breakfast and depart at 10am.
15 Mid West Street Rods’ rodders breakfast, BP Autobahn, Northern
Motorway from 8.30am to 10.30am
17 Burger Fuel Henderson, Cnr.Te Pai Place & Lincoln Road from 6pm
25 Burger Fuel, 2/957 Gt. Sth. Rd, Manukau from 7.00pm.
Refer to the latest issues of NZ Petrolhead & NZ Rodder for more information on dates
and times, or for a subscription phone Sara on 263 5305.