Me & My Car: A thirst for rugged terrain
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Tell us about this Land Rover ...
It’s a 1978 3 series short-wheel-base petrol Land Rover. It’s ex-army soft top, imported from Europe, probably from the UK. It’s a manual, four-wheel drive and my version has an overdrive.
When did you buy it?
I bought it online in 2018. Eli Friedlander at Forward Specs got it in road condition. We painted it Heke Blue and modified it into an event vehicle to pour our Heke beer at events on Waiheke. We call it Trev (thirst responder entertainment vehicle).
It has Polk audio speakers powered by large lithium ion batteries, and a glitter ball. The idea is that people at weddings and events on the island can go to the back of Trev, pour their beers, select music from a playlist and dance under the glitter ball. We take the keys out and pick it up the next morning.
Why did you choose a Land Rover?
Land Rover fits our brand, slightly rugged and unpolished, classic design, built tough, 4WD for off-the-beaten-track places you find on Waiheke.
How does it handle difficult terrain?
Driving Trev is a little like wrestling an alligator. It’s not what you would describe as “easy driving” and you feel you have had a bit of a workout. It is a very capable 4WD, being so light, but it is old and you need to look after it.
Who did the paint job, signage etc?
As mentioned, Forward Specs in Henderson did the engine and repair work and fitted Kumho tyres. If you like Land Rovers, this place is heaven. Land Rovers from all vintages strewn over a large workshop with chaps carrying Land Rover manuals around delving through old parts — like an scene out of Steptoe and Son.
Chandler Panelbeaters in Grey Lynn did the paint job; Dispense Worx did the beer system. My nephew James Gibson, ex Elam fine arts, did the sign writing. Hope Hickman Auto Electrical in Grey Lynn did the sound and electrical. The total cost including the car was around $20,000.
Who else drives it?
One of the other founders of Waiheke Brewing Company, Mark Hindmarsh. He also drives a 1963 Falcon XL. Slightly lighter blue green but he is looking to paint his Heke Blue too.
Any other cars in your garage?
I drive another SWB Land Rover in Auckland, a 2011 diesel Defender. Yes, you might have figured I am a bit of an SWB Land Rover nut.
How does Trev fit your personality?
On the island, Trev immediately transports me to a different mind space. I first got the idea from watching the movie Mamma Mia. You might remember the blue short wheel base Land Rover taking the guests up the hill. It involves a great sense of “opportunity awaits” that we have tried to create with our Heke beer brand.
What was your first car?
A 1966 Peugeot 404. It was an amazing vehicle and that model is still used today in the Middle East. I put a cow horn in it at university.
When did you get your licence?
I was 15 years old and my father taught me the basics.
And your dream vehicle?
An electric-powered Land Rover 90. All the classic design of the SWB Defender but with high-tech under the hood.
Best road trip in this vehicle?
I took Trev through a creek at Onetangi and almost got stuck. I had to turn up the radio as things got a bit tense.
Favourite movie car scene?
I love the old Toyota ad with
Barry Crump going off the cliff. “Things could get a bit rough down here ... ”
If you could change one road rule?
I like the US system of a free right turn on a red light. I think we could do the same in New Zealand (free left turn). It would lead to greater traffic efficiency.
And your thoughts on electric and driverless vehicles?
I think that in about five years it will hit a cost tipping point where we all move to electric quickly. The value of combustion engine vehicles will depreciate rapidly. However, classic vehicles such as the Series 3 Land Rover will keep appreciating.