Wednesday, January 20, 2010

So it's 2010

You know, it's nice to have my own little corner of the web, perhaps one day in the distant future someone will read this and ponder for just one moment what my life may have been like....
Why am I philosophising in this manner you may ask?

Well it was my birthday recently, now Jesus and I share the same birthday, Dec. 25. I know most educated individuals might not believe that on that exact day angels heralded in the babe in a manger in Bethlehem, but it is the day that Christians celebrate this wondrous event. I am pretty sure that my mum heralded in my birth with thoughts of what have I done?

My mum always tried to separate my Christmas presents from birthday gifts by giving them to me at different times of the day, but through the years, the gifts have melded together and become less important to me than just being surrounded by my friends and family; yet now, a 6 hour plane trip from home meant that my usually large co-hort of birthday revellers were nowhere to be seen, and for the first time in as many years as I care to remember I was focused more intently on the gift giving and recieving portion of the day.

I know this makes me shallow, and alas christmas morning I was deep as a puddle, yet for some reason revelling in my opened boxes and ripped wrapping paper junkie high...

And now a few weeks later, like the P using teens frequenting K road the morning after, I am on a comedown. The shiny toys which once held my fascination are somewhat devalued when compared with the VISA statement.

Maybe this year the best gift may be airfare :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Audrey shows her age...


Sometimes the planets line up, a japanese whaling boat hits an iceberg and all is right with the world. That's how I felt when the new pannels for Audrey started turning up, I was like a kid in a candy store but with less acne and a lower propensity for childhood obesity...


The first package was floors from USA, then sills from the UK; 'because it was far cheaper' I interject pre-empting your first question as to why I didn't order everything from the same manufacturer. I laid them out all nicely imagining a perfect fit a'la Elizabeth Hurley and the dress with the safetypins, alas as you may have worked out, this may possibly be one of the unluckiest builds of all time...


When we started cutting into the original (and I use that term loosely) floors, they seemed to resemble a club sandwich about 4 layers thick. Imagine if you will a sandwich where the bread is made of rusty metal the filling, rustly metal, served on a plate made of rusty metal . In order to remove all of the rust I was given an angle grinder a beer and a wide berth, the next day we had two halves of a 356 joined by a transmission tunnel. Mr Wibble set about welding a frame to keep it square...


Then we started cutting the guards...

The Harsh Light of Day...


It was like taking a beautiful woman home from a bar and waking the next morning to find… well not quite what you remembered. But you see, I knew she was not perfect when we met, and it took me a while to wear the rose tints from my glasses, however when it did, it was akin to taking home Jessica Alba and waking to find an overweight hairy trucker in a size 8 Glassons T-Shirt.


I learned this by parking her on the street one evening and returned to find the entire RH rear quarter pushed in 15cm in a hit and run. The really worrying part was the 2cm deep filer that seemed to cover the entire guard. It was time for some decisive action.


Now, the last thing you EVER want to hear, and please listen closely, this may be one of the most valuable pieces of information you’ll get; If you EVER hear the phrase “I got a mate that can do a cash job cheap” be cautious, if it’s followed by “Yeah, a bare metal respray will be under 8 grand” back away slowly, palms up, not making eye contact. If you are unfortunate enough to part with said money (as I did) I’m sorry, I’ll skim the next part to save us both reliving the pain.


“The Mate” - 13 months, $4000 and a cut soft-top (because they didn’t know how to remove it, and while stripping the paint with an angle grinder, slipped and ground the top) I was left with what could barely pass for a claw foot bath, some bits were etch primed, some bogged, some welded, in an effort to remove the 1cm thick skim coat of filler that covered the entire vehicle. The last straw is when I went to see the car and it was no longer there, the panel beater had closed down and re-opened under a different name and shifted the car to ‘dry’ storage (now my definition of dry storage and his differ given that my definition does not, and never will include, a back yard, a tarpaulin, bed sheets or old carpet cutoffs) This panelbeater was gracious to give me a courtesy vehicle to use for the duration of this period (and for many months after) I chalked this up to being a victim of unfortunate circumstance.


“The Professional” – 2 Months, $2000 and….well actually not much (although this chap could get the soft top off) Waikato Motor Bodies (I use this name because this business is no longer trading, for pretty obvious reasons) at least stored the vehicle inside, which did make it a little difficult to get it out when he went into receivership (at least a little money came back)


“The Professional Part 2” – 3 Months $1800 and um… a new rear quarter section? I had hope for this one, you see Audrey was parked between a Model A and a Mazda 808 being re-bodied into an RX3 but alas, Audrey was to be kept outside once again to make way for the Car Dealer work that is the bread and butter of so many of these operations. At least it ade it easy to collect her when this one closed down (I was beginning to think she was cursed).


“The Restorer” - 5 Months - $OUCH. Funnily enough about 3 years prior I had some work done on a 1973 Porsche 2.7 911 I had, and was extremely happy, and this fellow and I became very good friends. Unfortunately this (and we’ll refer to him as Mr Wibble) had moved to Poland to start a Classic Mercedes Restoration business, however as luck would have it, chatting to his dad at the local fruit world, he was coming home. Apparently he had purchased a Ferrari 308 in need of restoration and a 3.2 Boxter S that was accident damaged and needed to cash up some of his toys in NZ. He looked at Audrey, and I’m happy to say, saw what I saw.

Ignore the midget and the bear...


I used to hate those films… you know what kind, the ones where there is a nerdy teen girl with glasses, bad hair and a ferocious eyebrow, who’s natural beauty is uncovered after a montage makeover of singing, dancing and hairclips. As I write this I realize I spoke too soon, I still hate those damn films… I suppose you’re thinking; build report, classic car, obvious analogy… If you’ve ever seen the programme ‘there’s something about Miriam’ you will know, sometimes all is not as it seems.


My personal ‘ugly duckling’ was discovered 5 years ago from a 2 line ad in the trade & exchange, which read. “Porsche 356b Cabriolet 1962, $xx,xxx needs work” As you might imagine, the x’s don’t mean kisses, there were actual numbers in there, and had I paid attention in algebra I might have understood the equation…porsche + xxx needs work where xxx needs work = kiss of death But I had to see her. I had to see her in the same way you have to see a midget fighting a bear, you know you’re not going to like it, but it’s a pretty compelling offer so you go anyway.


There she was, parked behind a commercial building in Greenlane. She looked like a movie star, think Audrey Hepburn; now imagine if Audrey Hepburn joined the Sex Pistols, did drugs, drank with Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious, changed her name to Audrey Rusthole and partied every night for 43 years then passed out drunk behind a commercial building in Greenlane. Yes she was a mess, there was vomit in her hair, and she’d had some bad botox, but it was Audrey Hepburn folks, and for the right amount of x’s she’d go home with me.


Now let’s just set a few things straight I was about 27 at the time, and I’d previously had a few classics; a couple of 911’s, an MGB, Mk3 Spitfire, Capri, TR7 even an RX3 when they were cheap. So I can’t claim to be na├»ve when I decided Audrey would be mine… I had a 911SC Cabriolet the owner had Audrey; we looked at each other knowingly and a deal was struck. Although she had a warrant of fitness and registration, she smoked like a French Supermodel and leaked enough oil to terrify a penguin colony, but I didn’t care; don’t get me wrong, I recycle, and I try to reduce my ecological footprint, but Audrey, she was born in a different time, a time where global warming would be just another reason to put the roof down. We traveled to Hamilton together…hmmm actually, let me rephrase, I gave her a few cups of black coffee and a couple of Neurofen on the curb and nursed her to her new home.