In Short Story June 2021, June 20213 MinutesBy Dave McCoidJuly 7, 2021

You’ll recall early in the main story Skip telling us that when he was “repaying his debt to society” at Mikes Autos in Whanganui, one of his jobs was to help build up the boss’ Holden Torana race car? Guess where that car is today?

“The boss did one-eighth- mile drag racing, and he brought this LH Holden Torana. Whanganui Auto Wreckers were the first in the country to wreck a Commodore with the fuel- injected 308 V8, and he’d grabbed it for his project. I worked on that car every day. I helped build that thing up, the nine-inch diff, T5 gearbox, the Panhard rods. All the wiring had just been cut clean, and there were no computers or diagnostics in those days. Mike got a sparky from Waiouru to come for two full days a month and just figure it out. I’ll never forget the day we fired it up for the first time.

“He painted it up in Valvoline colours, he was the agent and all that – it was cool.

“I’d heard years later that he came on troubled times and the car was seized by customs on its way out of the country in a container. Then one day, just after I’d bought the first truck, and a house, I was pouring through an Auto Trader, and there it was, for sale. My car! I couldn’t believe it, but I had not a cent to spare. It was gutting. Yeah, man!

“Turns out an aircraft engineer in Dannevirke bought it, and he sat on it for a couple of years and put it up again. This time I was in. No way was I missing out. I met him in Hastings and brought it home.

“He’d painted it white, but other than that, he’d just run it. It had the same wheels, same AWA Clarion stereo. I lifted the bonnet, and there on the radiator shroud was the V8 firing order written in my handwriting when I was 16. I couldn’t believe it, eh? Just couldn’t believe it.

“Yeah, so she’s been away for one and a half years getting a progressive full restoration at Frost Auto Body in Silverdale. It’s been down to nothing, media blasted, a rotisserie rebuild. Many custom parts have landed from Australia, some completely insane, but so was I once… Yet I can guarantee it won’t be a ‘look-at-me’ car. It’s a sleeper.

“It’s street legal. I was so hoping to have it ready to take Keeley to the ball this year, but na, we’re not going to quite make it. All good. It is what it is.

“I’ll have it until I die, I tell you. It’s memories that car.”