Rare cars in tinkerer’s collection

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Retired farmer Kelly Kingsbury built his first basic car from the ground up at aged 14 and more than 60 years on he’s stilltinkering, restoring and collecting cars.
His current fleet includes two rare Vauxhalls and aChrysler won by Lorraine Downs when she lifted the Miss Universe title in 1983.
Kelly’s current project is the restoration of a 1932 Vauxhall Roadster VY, one of only three thought to exist in the world.
The roadster has a 3 litre, six cylinder engine, similar to a Bedford motor, and was in a rough condition when Kelly got hold of it.
It is rare because most of those built were four door versions.
Kelly’s restoring the guards, running boards, hubs caps and chroming the headlights and has already reframed the doors.
The car was bought from a retired farmer in Amberley.
New upholstery work will be done by Murray Frew, who worked on another of Kelly’s restoration projects – a Vauxhall Velox Caleche Six.
The 1950 convertible is a six cyclinder, three speed beauty and was restored two years ago.
‘‘It’s only one of seven in the world and rare again because it’s atwo-door and not afour,’’ he said.
Kelly spotted the car in a sales yard in Christchurch 35 years ago while making a wool delivery and thought it would make a good project one day.
That project took 30 years to kick off and the car was stripped back to the frame.
‘‘The interesting thing about the Velox is that it was brought into Australia as a non-convertible, but then reframed and made into a convertible by Holden.’’
The car has a cruising speed of 90 kmh, hydraulic brakes, but no power steering.
Kelly spray painted it in rustic red himself, added a heater and installed a clever cover to hide the incar stereo.
He stripped back a four door Velox for parts and found original tail lights at a Winchester swap meet.
Kelly’s third restored vehicle is a 1984 Chrysler Lebaron, once owned by former Miss Universe Lorraine Downs.
‘‘She didn’t like the fact that it was left hand drive and didn’t use it. It was taken over to Australia, converted to right hand drive and later brought back to New Zealand.
‘‘I always liked the look of the car because I’d seen a number of them when I went on a trip to the USA in the 1980s.’’
Kelly bought the car 12 years ago, tinkered with its engine using an old hoist in his large workshop and soon had it running true again.
The 2.4 litre, four cylinder model has a clever talking capability feature, that advises the driver when a door is open, or if fuel or oil are low.
Once the current Vauxhall Roadster project is complete, Kelly Kingsbury and his wife will have the choice of three eyecatching beauties to take on the regular car rallies that they both enjoy so much.
‘‘I’ve always been mechanically minded, ever since I built that first car with a half horse power motor at aged 14. I like projects and I like tinkering.’’