Bullitt Ford Mustang


The Thunderbolt Hotel is where the body was found. It was originally called the Thunderbird Hotel but for some reason changed to Thunderbolt before the movie was filmed there (well, that’s very interesting isn’t it?). The Hotel has had a few down-grades since and isn’t quite as cool as it once was. I have taken the liberty of parking Frank Bullitt’s Mustang outside the hotel but as any film buff will know, Frank was driven to the hotel in his girlfriends Porsche. This happened post car chase so I guess the Mustang was in for repairs. Well I assume that, my HG Holden doesn’t go so well after I’ve raced it over the hills of Wellington of an afternoon. It’s like a recreation, except it’s Wellington not San Fransisco, my car is a white sedan not a green fastback (GM not Ford shock horror!), I stick to the road rules and I don’t look like Steve McQueen … otherwise.

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Fuji Rabbit motor scooter


The first Fuji Rabbit appeared in 1946, six month before the world had heard of a Vespa or Lambretta. They were built by Fuji Heavy Industries (which feels like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut) from 1946 to 1968. Like the Italians, the Japanese were inspired by the scooters the American servicemen were cruising around on and saw the scooter as an answer to their post-war transportation woes. Fuji were an enterprising bunch, introducing electric starters, automatic transmissions and pneumatic suspension systems. The Rabbit scooters were even rumoured to crack 100kph. Possibly not something one would choose to do, but nice to know you could, I guess. Rabbit faced competition from Mitsubishi with their Silver Pigeon and Honda with Juno, but it was the growing economy of Japan that finally shot the last Rabbit dead. The demand for scooters decreased in favour of more comfortable four wheel vehicles and Fuji followed suit, launching the Subaru 360 in 1958. The last Fuji scooter rolled off the production line in June 1968. So if you fancy a wee Rabbit of your own, this one doesn’t poo or dig up the lawn.

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Mercedes Benz 300 SL


Imagine having one of these parked out in the garage, next to the old man’s Champagne Toyota Camry sedan. But imagine if your son and his mate decided to give it a new coat of paint, out of the goodness of their hearts. That gun-metal grey lead-based roof paint they found in the back of the asbestos lined shed. But imagine if they couldn’t find the paint brushes so used sticks instead. Those sticks in the kitchen draw – if it’s good for Mum to paint chocolate onto cakes it’ll be good for painting cars. Reasonable enough to a five year old. Imagine if they were so thorough even the chrome got a coating. Imagine the gun-metal grey footprints on the concrete garage floor and grey fingerprints on everything within a metre radius of your precious 300SL and the old man’s Champagne Toyota Camry sedan. Imagine the wobbly you’d throw on sight of their handy work. Imagine them trying to wipe the paint off (bless them) with those dirty rags they found in a pile on the garage floor, under the lathe. Im-agine.  

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Holden FX


I knew a farmer who had one of these, I couldn’t believe what he put in it – chickens, hay bales, fence posts. No way to treat such a lovely car. Or maybe that’s just the townie in me, maybe the country folk do do that? I should take a drive in the country some time and see what I can see. I hear it pays to keep your windows up to keep out the country smells. Worse than that, I hear you get cow pats stuck in your tyres – that would make a fine mess of the carpet in the garage. That always put me off leaving the city limits but I shouldn’t be so narrow. To be fair, we do have a TV that has sunsets and waves lapping on the beach, tweeting birds, fish tanks, you know the sort of thing. I’m sure I can select a rural scene and it would be much cleaner than the real thing …. wouldn’t smell. I don’t really need to see what they put in their cars anyway, there’s bound to be a story in the Sunday supplement some time, I’ll keep an eye out. 

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Tri Five Chevrolet

1955-1957 were watershed years for Chevrolet, and the cars of these three years (in particular the 150, 210, Bel Air, and Nomad) became known as the Tri-Five. In terms of styling, and mechanically, these cars were revolutionary in their day and they spawned a cult following. They remain some of the most popular cars for collectors and enthusiasts. A popular view is that the styling increasingly chased the Cadillac market with the exaggerated tail-fins and chrome bumpers. If asked which is the better looking car, the 55, 56 or 57, it’s hard to answer but for me, maybe the 55 two door hard-top or the 56 Bel Air convertible. OK, choosing two is cheating but hey, what can you do?

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HT Premier customised


This is a recent commission from a customer in Australia. He sent me the photo of this lovely HT Prem, owned by his cousin then passed on to him. They both remember the car fondly and now have a print each to hang above the mantlepiece. This was a case of adapting an HT I had already created, adding the ‘Jellybean’ mags and matching the colours to a colour chart from 1969, which I found online.

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1960 Corvette


You know that mid-life crisis thing – go out and buy yourself a sports car only to find you’re still miserable? Kind of embarrassing too when you’re out there on the driveway on Sunday morning giving it a polish – the neighbours walk past with the dog thinking ‘Tragic’ and you’re thinking ‘I know they’re thinking ‘Tragic’ and they’re thinking ‘he’s thinking we’re thinking tragic’ … Yeah well anyway, you can have a nice sports car in the privacy of your own bedroom and not be embarrassed at all – simple as buying a print and framing it. Only one thing though, it will be better all round if you hang it on the wall and don’t prop it up on the pillow next to your’s. I’m sure we are on the same page.

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Classic Beetle ads


Adman Bill Bernbach changed advertising with the now famous Volkswagen ads. His agency in Madison Avenue New York, Doyle Dane Bernbach, was approached by Volkswagen in the late 1950’s to launch the Beetle in the United States. Americans at the time were in love with big chrome and convincing them to buy a simple, small car from Germany was a daunting challenge. Helmut Krone and Julian Koenig (Bob Levenson later replaced Koenig) were the creative team charged with the task. Their first ad was in black and white, used a photograph instead of an illustration and used a sans serif typeface – all this had not been done before. The photo was a little black beetle in the top left corner of an expanse of white. The headline was ‘think small’ (lowercase intended) and the copy respectful to its audience. The success of this ad set the tone for the campaign that followed. The ideas for these illustrations come from the ideas used in those great ads.

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Holden HG Premier


We met in 1997, it was love at first sight – when we started getting around together someone said to me, ‘you have to be rich or a mechanic to have one of these’. I said ‘nah, don’t worry, we’re in love’. It all went swimmingly to start with, but then those little things started chipping away, a bit of rust here, a little rattle there. Eventually it came time to take a ‘Break’. We’ve taken many breaks since those early days; my Prem goes and spends a few weeks with its mechanic, or its paint and panel friend, sometimes the auto-electrician. For me it’s just a bit of time out, get some exercise walking up to the shops or the bus stop. Sometimes I contemplate the carless life … life without Prem. Find myself a nice little e-bike, something not so complicated – OK I’ll say it, something less needy. But then comes the phone call, Prem’s ready to come home again. We have a wee drive and a bit of a chat, I rest my arm on the windowsill and think out loud ‘What a lot of nonsense, an e-bike indeed’.

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