Queens Birthday Monday (New Zealand)


Today was a public holiday in New Zealand – Queens Birthday. A bit of a cold and cloudy day – marking Winter for us, we took a stroll into town where the wharf had some celebrations on. Walking there I pass the old Kestrel (one of the oldest ferry’s still floating in Auckland – that used to serve the seaside community of Devonport up to about 15 years ago). We then walked along the waterfront, past some of the bigger sailboats in the area. Not much happening,but the water was nice and calm.


Reaching the wharf, we were first welcomed by various car displays, and then some interesting old British bikes.

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Check out the ‘fire bike’

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Inside, some morris dancers.


Happy NZ Queens Birthday!



JW7998 All Cleaned Up

YR2935To finish off yesterdays story, todays shot (a photo of a photo from my pre digital era) is of my finished rebuild of JW7998.

Its funny, and great how looking at old images re-accesses memories buried deep in ones head. Looking at my old Mini wheels, I now recall the effort I went to hand sanding and polishing them back, before adding the golden centre paint. Searching a local wreckers yard for months before I found the “just right” side mirrors (which were bonnet mirrors). Locating and fitting the mk1 grille. Ah memories!

Best I stop reflecting for now, or I’ll end up on our local buy/sell site looking for a new project!


The Rise of JW7998

My beautiful pictureRoughly now 15 years ago was the first time I met JW7998. I was working at one of the local servos (petrol station) one day when JW7998 came rolling in. By rolling in, I mean literally rolling in. The owner,a man probably around my current age had run out of petrol and had coasted down the road before jolting to a stop outside the front.

We got talking and by the conclusion of our discussion I was handing him $50, and he was handing me the pink slip (well, actually, just keys – we don’t do pink slips here) to his car. Two minutes later he ran back inside asking if it was ok if he took his boys seat (toddler was with him) and petrol can. I said sure.

At the end of my shift I pushed it by the bins, raced home in my usual ride and came back with a friend to both drop me off and see that I make it home. As in todays photo, IW7998 was short one eye. It was dark. To avoid possible legal trouble I took the back way home. The back way was part gravel. After a fun and slightly cautious drive, I made it home in one piece. JW7998 made it home in the same shape it rolled in on, which is possibly better than could be expected!

JW7998 was not my first project car, but it was my first major project car. Within weeks I had stripped it down to a bare shell. I welded up holes, repaired panels, designed and welded up a new bodykit. I then rebuilt the engine, reupholstered the seats and interior, made a new wiring loom, added central locking. Back outside I modified the suspension – more welding. Finally a long prep and paint in an almost fluro  yellow.

Even now, after many other projects, I reflect on JW7998 as my favourite completed project. Every now and then I kick myself that I didn’t keep it longer (Mini sale prices have gone up tenfold since I sold it).

I drove it around for something like a year, maybe a year and a half, and was once again bitten by the car building bug – so it was time to say goodbye. I sold it to a young lad, his first car! – he must have been stoked.

Writing this up today I did a quick plate check on JW7998 (whom received a different, new plate when I had completed my build). I was happy to see that for many years after my ownership JW7998 was still on the road (so many of the old 70’s cars are long gone now). I was then surprised even more to see it had since been shipped off overseas to live elsewhere.

Who knows. Maybe JW7998 and I will cross paths again one day…


The mini Mini

Mini MiniNot one of my own projects today, rather a spotted project in the St Heliers area of Auckland’s central coastal area. Compared to most cars since the 70’s, the Mini has always been a small car – however a mini Mini makes a normal Mini look like a family saloon! Being they are constructed with a front and rear subframe, bolted to a mono construction body, the mini Mini is a ‘moderately easy’ (for those who know what they do) modification. I toyed with doing one years ago, but was put off at the time with the certification process. A very unique fun little car – rare as hens teeth now days too!

Image wise, shot on the Sony Nex with a Sigma 30mm lens. In post I slightly cropped, desaturated and added additional blur in the background to keep focus on the Mini.

Auckland Round the Bays run tomorrow morning. Its the biggest fun run in the country I believe, so I will be there running, and with mobile in hand to capture an image or two – at the very least whilst I wait for the start canon!


Project Mini

Mini 2A photo, and project from the archives today. Although I have not done much of recent, in the past I almost always had a project car on the go. Todays image was of my old 1975 Mini Clubman 1000. The second Mini project I have completed, it started life (well started for me) as a somewhat run down blue Clubman (I might feature a before/after or project post one day). After driving it around for a day (initially it was just going to be a runabout), I stripped it down to a bare shell and started the restoration.

Image wise, I am not sure what camera I used at the time. Possibly a fuji superzoom, but my image on file is a tiny 600×800, so smaller than my usual down sized posts. Editing, I desaturated all but the red of the Mini.


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