Wairarapa News : January 18th 2012
21 WAIRARAPA NEWS, JANUARY 18, 2012 ph 04 472 4805 | www.unit d ont in rs. o.n 0800 875 825 Leasing ale ifi a i n ransp r Arrange We supply C n ainers f r: 10f , 20f , 40f & Reefer C n ainers Available TRANSPORT SYSTEMS 2000 LTD 4009665AG $2.75 news 4188310AA Digital Edition Now On-line! FREE It's easy to register and it's free at www.wairarapanews.co.nz Read the latest • complete edition of the Wairarapa News online Read past issues • online The best in local news information how ever you want to receive it 3908784AA FIXATION: Bernie Cheer working on a spare straight-six Terraplane engine Dream team brings car collection to life The Dudson Collection team: (from left) Tracey, Kerry and Kevan Dudson with Coco. Standing: Gavin Miller and Bernie Cheer. TALKING OTORSPORT KEVIN BALL MO A former factory in Taylor Street, Carterton, doesn't look much from the outside. But those invited inside are confronted by a treasure trove of gleaming historic cars, several of them early American. All are fully restored and ready to drive. It's petrolhead heaven and it's all down to the dream of one man, retired Carterton account- ant Kerry Dudson, who for 27 years has been beavering away, first gathering a vast collection of old bodies and engines from around New Zealand and then employing skilled craftsmen to restore them. Where once up to 135 people laboured at shoe-making, a small group of vastly-skilled men gather a couple of days a week to rebuild the classic cars. Last year, Kerry suffered a major stroke. The dream could have ended there but his family stepped in. Son Kevan, who owns Caltex stations in Masterton and daughter Tracey, a London-based property restorer who spends her summers at home in New Zea- land, teamed up to keep Kerry's legacy alive. Another son, Tim, took over Kerry's accountancy practice. It's business as usual,'' Kevan said last week. This is Dad's legacy -- we're just maintaining and developing it.'' Kerry is a regular visitor to the factory, where he can keep an eye on things. The car restoration hobby began modestly enough, when Kerry and an old friend, the late Henry Waldner, started working at home on a 1938 Chrysler sedan. That project took four years. But it didn't stop there. Dad was sneakily buying cars -- he had them dotted all round the region,'' said Kevan. Tracey adds that it wasn't just car remains that Kerry bought. He collected histories of the cars, number plates, enough spares to keep him going for years. When the former shoe factory became available Kerry bought it and consolidated his collection there. He also brought together the craftsmen needed to do the res- toration work. The philosophy established then still applies: no short cuts, no corner-cutting, absolute authenticity. Any hint of rust is cut out and the metal replaced. The result is a collection in as- new condition. It's a family affair with Gavin Miller produc- ing excellent panel work along- side his brother Ricky, who is responsible for paintwork. Bernie Cheer has spent 12 years, working on the mechani- cals and keeping the finished cars in working order. Failing eyesight means he will be giving that work up shortly, although he expects to remain involved in one form or another. The upholstery is done by Nic Trethewey, from Stokes Valley. Tracey and Kevan enjoy get- ting their hands dirty -- we're the labourers'' -- and are very much part of a team based on friendship, a bunch of people who enjoy each other's company. Completed cars range in age from a 1927 Chrysler Boat-tail Roadster to a 1983 V6 Ford Cor- tina Ghia. The cars from the 1930s take pride of place, a couple of Chryslers, four Hudson Terraplanes and a Pontiac saloon. Projects on the go include a 116in 1934 Hudson straight eight chassis, which will become a roadster, a similar 123in chassis destined to become a truck, a 1952 Packard Sedan 200 series and a 1972 Buick Riv- iera. That's several years' worth of work. The Dudson Collection is not open to the public but visits by groups (usually car clubs) are welcome.
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