Monday, June 16, 2008


In 1992 I bought my first car, a 1969 Triumph Herald. It was 23 years old, and after being run into the ground by a succession of owners, was nearly dead. In peeling purple, with a knocking engine and self-opening passenger door, it was an eyesore. Its saving grace was that, being a Christchurch car, it had little rust under the awful paint.

Over my years at University most repairs were mechanical. It got a reconditioned engine (two actually, the 'recon' engine was a pup), overdrive, carburettor, electrics - everything to keep it running. It made several trips over the Southern Alps to the West Coast for my Masters thesis. On the first, the brakes overheated down the Otira zigzag... Ah fun times!

Once I had a job, attention turned to bodywork. I painted it myself, and from two metres away it looks pretty good. A retrimmed interior, sunroof, Superlite alloys, Vitesse brakes, swing spring, all turned it slowly from a sad old car to a very happy one. It's only broken down once in nearly 16 years and 60,000 miles, and that was my fault. For many of those 16 years it was my only car, as anything else simply felt like a Herald substitute.

For the last two years, the car has been in semi-retirement. I emigrated to Australia to work as a geologist, and the car went into storage. I drove it each Christmas, but it stayed wrapped up the rest of the year. Last Christmas, as I put it away again, I thought "enough, it's time the car emigrated too".

Which brings us up to the present day. It arrived in Brisbane on June 3rd, has been passed by Customs and is awaiting Quarantine approval. Once that's done it'll need a Roadworthy certificate, registration, and it'll be legal. And then the adventure continues...


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