‘It’s come home’: Auckland man finds classic car he built in 1984
Phil Williamson never thought he would see his precious Lotus again.
He built the car from scratch almost 40 years ago and was forced to sell it in the 90s as he and his wife struggled to afford a home.
That was the last he heard of it – until a few months ago, when someone sent him a photo of the car on TradeMe.
Williamson said a wave of nostalgia washed over him as he once again laid eyes on his project car, but the nostalgia turned to surprise when he learned where the buyer lived.
* Explanation: Why do we pay so much for our groceries in New Zealand?
* Police letter to Gloriavale reveals places where harmful sexual behavior was rife
* Otago caveman reunited with his father after 25 years
“Damn, it’s come home,” Williamson said, when told the person buying her Lotus lived a short drive from her residence in west Auckland.
The car was built in 1984, when Williamson and some friends worked for over a year making the parts from a jig, to form a Lotus chassis. It’s an almost perfect replica of a 1960s Lotus 7.
Thing arranged for Williamson to meet new Lotus owner Ian Hutchinson, who was looking to fulfill a lifelong ambition of owning a classic car.
“I wanted to buy myself a Lotus 7 when I finally gave up motorcycling – something I recently realized I would never end up doing otherwise,” Hutchinson said. Thing.
Over a cup of tea, Williamson met Hutchinson at his home in Swanson and the pair discussed the history of the Lotus, starting with Williamson’s dedication to ensuring the car was built almost perfectly to perfection. ‘ladder.
The Lotus sat on the driveway with a blanket on it – ready to be revealed to Williamson for the first time since it was sold.
Williamson told Hutchinson about his experience with buying a stack of tubes to create a complete chassis for the car, buying a book called “The Legion of the Lotus” and scaling all the pictures it contains.
“My wife bought me a plastic model of a Lotus 7 and I also salvaged a lot of stuff,” Williamson said, describing the 16-month project.
“It was all built in my basement at home – all the suspension, found all the right bits, built it like a stock Lotus and used an old Ford engine.”
Williamson said driving him on Auckland’s roads for the first time had “scared the hell out of him”.
“The car is not dangerous to drive, but the first time you stop next to a bus, your head is level with the central wheel and your buttocks are less than 200 millimeters from the road,” said he declared.
“It’s like driving a brick wall, but the top speed is around 160 kilometers per hour.”
Light and mobile, the Lotus has a racing history. Williamson would run his car on the circuit at Pukekohe, drag racing and grass testing – at some point, crashing the car and replacing the front suspension.
“Parts procurement hasn’t been difficult,” he said. “After all, the original Lotuses were built from spare parts for many common English cars. He made the extra parts, like the suspension joints.
The car ended up being used by Williamson’s wife for work, with a car seat fitted for their daughter from the age of 3 months.
But over the years the couple went to build a house, they ran out of money and were forced to sell Williamson’s beloved car. The Lotus ended up being bought by a man in Nelson.
“I was sad to see him go, it’s something I’ve regretted since the day I sold him,” Williamson said. “Later on, I built other cars for other people, but your own car is always your pride and joy.”
It seemed like fate that Williamson was sitting just feet from his car again, almost exactly 30 years since he let her go.
The time has come for the big reveal. When the hood was removed from the Lotus 7, Williamson inspected the car and was delighted to find that aside from the color, virtually nothing about the car’s design was different.
“I would have expected a lot of things to be modified, people modify it as they wish, but it was all there as I built it – it’s 99% the same,” he said. .
Although it was not possible to take a nostalgic lap with the car that day, Williamson is expected to return very soon. As the memories flooded back, an interesting detail came to mind.
“When I had the Lotus, I drove down Scenic Drive and right past Ian’s. So the car drove past his house multiple times throughout the day,” Williamson said.
A suitable place for the car to come home.