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Jon's Spotting Thread. USA Road Trip.

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So, in line with Hirst who's recently started a very interesting blog-style thread with lots of varying content, I thought it best not to start a new thread about my latest goings-on and just carry on with an old one instead. I reckon I'll stick with my fleet thread (http://autoshite.com/topic/7520-my-new-zealand-shite-exciting-visa-news/?hl=ld28&do=findComment&comment=200864) since it's so highly successful* but will trial with putting most other stuff in here; not just to do with NZ stuff either but perhaps the odd thing from other Commonwealth countries, which may hint at future content.


Backtracking 2 or 3 months now and there was a local gathering organised by an NZ forum which is like the Kiwi version of Retrorides, since it fully condones the modifying of cars. Try not to get in too much of a tizzy though, as anyone with an interesting car is mostly accepted, old or new, modified or not though an unwritten and not-too-strictly adhered to rule is a Junkman-happy pre-'87, in line with the change from black to white number plates and the growing popularity of FWD over RWD, the shake-up in the NZ car market at the time from Japanese imports and a few other bits. However, it's certainly not anti-Japanese by a long shot, as they've been fully embraced; in fact, it's almost as if a group of people can admire the attributes of a FWD Mazda or a full sized Aussie car with a straight 6 or V8. Shocking.


Anyway, the meeting was for an inaugural Shed Tour, whereby we got invited to meet up at a lunch time hostelry, have a meal wrapped up in plastic and cardboard and then visit a series of sheds and one scrap yard, where people showed off their wares. It was a great day out and Mrs_Jon enjoyed herself too despite the content and the 400km round trip to attend. 


The first shed offered up no cars but a home-built mini jet engine (which was demonstrated), an impressive collection of amps and other audio bits of kit and also a coffee machine which offered up probably the best coffee I've ever had. The second had general rammle, some Aussie cars, one Yank, a Hilux and a Beetle though unlike the first one and the scrap yard, I didn't take any photos.


The final place though was one I'd visited briefly before, so knew what to expect. It's rented out by a couple of lads who really like their stuff and seem to feed their habits from the aforementioned scrap yard, which one of them manages. Also, a lot of the stuff that isn't of interest to them gets passed on to others; recent scrap yard rescues include a Triumph Mayflower and a S1 Land Rover!


Here's the Torino the scrappie fella bought over in the US for a measly sum before road tripping back to a US port and bringing home. This had earlier performed a garage burnout which was actually quite entertaining, even if I'm not usually in to that sort of thing.




Note also the incongruous presence of Mrs_Jon's Clio, which was fully accepted, though most probably because of its Ronal Turbo's, which garnered much praise, as it's guessed they could be the only set in the country!





I'm deeply in love with this 1-tonner ute, especially as Holden felt the need to commercial-ise the front of these, adding a frumpy bumper which necessitated afterthought spec indicators, then topping the lot off with a simple grille and an even simpler name badge. 





This Beetle was the aforementioned one from garage No.2 and has been nicely detailed without doing anything non-reversible. Indeed, Beetles aren't as common here, so good to see one for a bit of variety. Great colour, too.





Didn't get to speak to the owner of this Valiant, as there were quite a few people there - perhaps 30 or more. At one point in the convoy from shed to shed I witnessed a mere stab of the throttle from this and can safely say that it has some power! Not usually a fan of these as I think the rear styling doesn't match the front but this one was an exception and looks bob on. Yum.





This 2500 had been languishing in the scrap yard with no wheels, next to another red one. Seemingly brought in after bereavement of its owner, it had some parts swapped over and was back on the streets within days. Word was it didn't cost much to achieve either - perhaps £500 all in?





Nice bonnet hump! I'm guessing for a gauge? Spoke to the owner of this, who also has an ageing Holden wagon currently being restored.






The styling was so right on these Celicas and I personally like the fact it's on steels. Nice play on words for the plate, too.






From memory, the young guy that owns this has put quite a bit of effort in to bringing this back up to a usable standard after the previous owner had dicked about with it.





Spoke to the owner of this, a young-ish fella (anyone who appears younger than me is young in my eyes). Driving behind it, it's things you notice like being able to see the guy's shoulder blades due to the low height of the front seats that brings home the major detail differences that really age older cars. The fact that I could actually see in from the back probably being another.





Another yard rescue but there's talk of it being sold. From memory, this is the first time I've sat in a Marina.





Pretty sure this was scrappie sourced, too. Didn't see any visible rust from a quick look around!





This Holden Brougham is owned by the lad that owns most of the other Holdens in the shed (his daily is the red 2500 above) and is the one which will be a long term project returned to standard condition. Apparently the only bit missing was the radio, which has been sourced from Oz. He's managed to get it running, so at least it's mobile.




The vinyl roof has been removed I think to assess condition underneath, which isn't too bad. However, it's not any old vinyl roof but an 'island roof', as it doesn't quite meet the roof at the edges. Or something.




The interior's grubby but all there and most importantly, in good condition. That seat fabric is a sort of lacy effort, much like I'd imagine in a high end executive Japanese saloon of the 70's.





This Falcon van was brought up to Auckland from the town next to mine and cost very little. Shame I missed out on it in a way but I'd probably never have got around to sorting its rust issues out for a WOF. And yes, that is what you think it is next to it.





In fact, there's an estate one too!! Doubly interesting and fortunate to survive as I'm pretty sure these were never sold in NZ, so a UK import from the time. That plate is late 70's issue.





Certainly another van I lust after, if not just for the 3 tone brown paint job. Another long term project due to major rust.





I've no idea of the state of mind of the person who created this from a Honda Civic and other bits but some of it actually looks OK, if you ignore the chequer plate and Jim'll Fix It chair.





Since it was winter, it was getting a little cold, so the drum from the back of the 1-Tonner was cut up to make a Scargill Fireplace, which proved very effective. Man from garage No.1 and barrista extraordinaire amply demonstrates correct use of Kiwi safety shoes. At least he's actually wearing some!





BBQ time.





This trailer had been whipped up a few months before by another member unable to make it. All parts sourced from a scrappy again, I think. Nice play on words there.





And lastly, an overview of the evening. We were one of the last to leave and I'm not a prolific poster on the forum and very new to it but was made to feel very welcome. Incidentally, the Mustang in the foreground was another import, bought sight unseen, fettled at the port in NZ and driven the few K's home after many years being sat in a back yard. It seemed to gather Mrs_Jon's fancy, quite surprisingly......

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More, I hear you cry! OK, I'll try and do battle with the 'what's the best/worst/most oblong' threads but it's a bit futile, tbh. Nevertheless, it means I keep using my camera, so I'll carry on.


I'm sort of adding content chronologically but there's a bit of stuff from the start of the year I've forgotten to post, so that can come up some time later. However, I've recently been on a trip over to Canada, where I did the touristy thing and started off in Vancouver, travelling through the Rockies to Calgary, with plenty of other stuff inbetween. Here's a snippet of what I saw:




We'll start off lightly with a mid-late 80's Econoline and a T2. Both of these are quite common still.





Unlike these Aerostars, which were launched in 1986 but look much older. Not that inspiring a spot but I couldn't resist the DOG AREA sign so close to this unloved example.





This is more a snippet of life, showing the vehicle of favour, an overly large truck. This isn't really that large for a truck though, so just the right size for nipping to the shops for a loaf of bread and a couple of energy drinks. Shorty Chev Blazer was not a model I was aware of, in this shape at least. Had some other name but I can't remember it.





This seemed to have come straight out of the Wild Wheels book I have (Blank, H 1993) (it's not that great) and I must admit, it did actually make the KIAs parked up behind it at the dealers look a bit more appealing...





One of those SAABaru things. Weird.





People drive rusty shit. DEAL WITH IT!





DEAL WITH IT! Actually, I like how this one looks to be bowing in the middle from all the ferrous but it could be an illusion of the saggy trim.





This was spotted in the scenic town of Jasper. I am a bit strange, I guess, hence this wide shot to make it look like I was taking a photo of something of interest.





Just up the road on the same street was this late 70's (perhaps) Econoline complete with a 302 Windsor motor and for sale for about £800, which is value in anyone's book. I'm pretty sure that larger patch of chequerplate was hiding a huge rust hole but when in Rome...




This one was in much better nick visually. And much further away.





The copious hapless application of so much wob was well worth a shot. I suppose the nice new wheels attract the eye away from these imperfections.





There's a surprising amount of these Delicas about - I must have spotted one of these or the next generation model on average once a day, along with the odd early 90's Skyline and a couple of other JDM models. Funny to see something RHD knocking about and all seemed to be well looked after. Obviously, the 25 year rule doesn't apply to imports in Canada like it does in the US.





Here's a final one for now. Not the best shot in the world as it was spotted at long range and has been cropped but who wouldn't want to see a NA spec Ford (Freightliner) Cargo? I saw a couple of others with the ordinary headlights but none other than this one looked to be in running condition. Great stuff.

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I missed this thread the first time around, so I got a treat wading through all these marvellous updates.  Starting with a Gypsy behind a fence is a hint of greatness, or a thread that has peaked too early but then you posted a line up of a P76, an Allegro and a Princess... and then you just kept posting more and more amazing things and now I am dead.


It's okay though, I'll get better.

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Yeah, there does seem to be quite a bit of worthy stuff about in NZ, which makes it pretty easy to find stuff to post up, when I have the opportunity to actually get my camera out and take photos! I'd love to have a phone with a good camera for spotting (or even a camera) but I like the size and battery life of my phone with buttons and can't stand people messing about on their phones all the time, so shun such technology; otherwise, I'd probably be able to update with a lot more content. Thankfully, Mrs_Jon is quite understanding when it comes to me taking photos of old cars when on our holidays.


I'm glad that there's some positive comments coming through though, as I was wondering if there were many people clicking to view or not. 



Is the Cargo a "Sterling" - some great spots in this thread btw, keep it coming.


andrew e, a user name blast from the past! It seems that the Cargo was sold in the US and Canada as a Ford, Freightliner and a Sterling, though I think that badge looks like a Freightliner one, although I'm not quite sure what the difference is between Freightliner and Sterling is tbh, hence why Sterling no longer exists, perhaps?


Anyway, in light of the waffle, have a spot of a tidy Chrysler LeBaron:




Will update with further stuff later.

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Righto, back into it. Start mildly again with a German tourist. Kind of overkill but cool nevertheless. Saw a shonky German registered Merc 308 in the same car park as the Le Baron but don't ask me why I didn't get a shot.





Then quite a bit of distance between this personal coop and the Mercedes above, as we'd now made it to Calgary, visiting my cousin. I can sense Vulga itching to clean that roof!




We found it one Sunday morning whilst the ladies were busy; we'd hatched a plan to find a decent coffee (an almost mythical occurrence in Canada) and settled for a Starbucks (!!), as it came with the advantage of being attached to a book shop, so we could be cheapskates and read all the car mags without buying any. Then on to a large car accessories shop for a wander round before a quick trip around the airport industrial estate, as there's usually something of interest to find and my cousin does like his 'planes. So not only did we see the above Dodge but also came across a small museum/workshop, only open to the public one Sunday a month for 3 hrs. It's subject was a couple of obsolete Avro aircraft:




The Avro Jetliner was passenger aircraft prototype (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avro_Canada_C102_Jetliner) but there wasn't that much information to hand about it, as the emphasis was all on this:




The Avro Arrow, another failed Canadian aeroplane but this time a fighter 'plane and seemingly the victim of stupid politicians, rather than being not very good at its job. I sat in a plastic chair and watched a video made in the early '90's on the subject and it was an interesting story, even for someone who thinks most types of aircraft look the same as their competitors. Anyway, the interesting bit was that they're making a not quite full scale replica which they hope to fly one day!




It's being built by volunteers and one of the project leaders had produced the models hanging from the ceiling for a film on the Subject starring Dan Ackroyd. As interesting a subject as this is however, there were still plenty of old cars and trucks to see. Here was another one close by:





Then we took the odd day trip back to the Rockies national parks and spotted these in a quiet car park. The reason for it being quiet was that the spectacular waterfall we were planning to visit was inaccessible due to maintenance on the track leading to it.




I'm obviously losing my touch as I didn't even register the Nissan Prairie in this line up above until reviewing my photos on my laptop later.




I did see this one though, two cars down. Pre-1980's American cars (ie not trucks) are really quite thin on the ground, especially those on the road.



Trucks aren't though. Went a bit fancy pants and cracked out the filter for this one:







This horse box amused me simply because it was so small, especially when all the others seen were 5th wheel affairs. Must be for those miniature ponies but why not just put them in the back of your truck?

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Then we took a day trip to Banff and I found my shite mojo, which had been lacking somewhat. Here's what I found in 20 mins or so driving about:




These camper conversions are very popular still (though they've grown bigger, naturally) and you can still see plenty of old jazz adorned with their original paint schemes knocking about.










I'm not sure whether this was roadworthy or not (front plates aren't issued in Alberta) but regardless, it's a nice bit of driveway fodder.





Ditto this Dodge. The plug dangling down at the front is for the engine heater, to ease starting in the winter. It seems people still fill their garages with crap instead of cars, then go through the daily routine of scraping off ice and snow and warming the car up in the morning, despite serious minus temperatures. Madness.





This was the shape of Dodge Ram that was sold up until the funny looking ones appeared with the V10 engine options in the mid '90's. Like that red one which featured heavily in Twister.










This however was an absolute highlight, not just of the day but perhaps of the trip. I think the towing combo really set it off:





However, let's top things off this time with a final snap, courtesy of Mrs_Jon. Who doesn't like to see an excessively rust 1990's design European Ford?



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I forgot to update the rest of the stuff I saw lurking about in Canada, which was all seen in the last day and a bit whilst driving from Calgary to Vancouver, so here goes:




These fire trucks and trolley bus were seen at Three Valley Lake, an interesting place that had a sort of ghost town and also one of the most high end yet stuck in the past resorts I think I've ever seen (1970's era). Not sure what it would be like to stay at but looked cool, anyway.




They also had this battle scarred Chev Blazer which was on the road just under a year ago, if the plate was to be believed!





And this land yacht.





Then a few hours later I saw a yard which piqued my interest out the corner of my eye when driving down the highway near Kamloops. Turned off at the next exit and found the stuff round the back at a lawnmower sales/repair shop, so asked to take a look.


Heavy influence of late model compact Studebakers:








Great skill in getting foreground foliage in focus here. Top work.








Loved the scalloped sides, dustbin lid trims and high profile tyres on this.





International Scout was expectedly rusty because 4x4 in Canada.




Even worse at the back. But what's that next to it?





Only an NA spec Austin 1100!!




I think they called these Austin America in the US but I'm guessing it got plain old 1100 in Canada. Nice overriders and whitewalls. Tags expired in '92




Actually, there's a few more left but it's time for bed.

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This is legendary stuff.

One thing I notice on a few of the pics is that quite a few of the older Yanks seems to have rust erupting in spots down the sides, like rusty measles, rather than in the usual European pattern where it creeps in from the edges or starts from stone chips at the front.

Is there perhaps some cause for this? I was thinking perhaps of a lot of gravel roads leading to scarred and stone-chipped flanks?

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Hi Lowtimer, welcome along. Not sure why the rust erupts down the sides as mentioned but they generally seem to have rust occur pretty much anywhere, though your gravel roads theory could be right. Not that I encountered any on our 5000km or so but they are about.



Anyway, that evening, we arrived in a small town called Hope, around 2hrs drive from Vancouver. Must say I wasn't overly enamoured with the larger towns in Canada though outside of the likes of pretty places like Japser and Banff, this actually seemed like a decent place to live, in non-wintry weather, at least. According to the local tourist info book, one of the main claims to fame is that the town was used quite a bit during the filming of the first Rambo film, where various things are blown up etc. and the rest set-dressed, so although there is a tourist trail to see various bits used, I must say it didn't all come flooding back to me. But then I'm not a massive fan of the Rambo series and haven't seen one for years.


What there does appear to be though is a small seam of appropriately good old car which were able to be captured on camera.




I thought I'd missed the opportunity to catch this Blazer earlier whilst its elderly owner was trying to fix it at the side of the road, whilst we were driving round looking for a restaurant. Found it just up the road later on, seemingly fixed.





Not that great a subject but it was parked at the building right next to our motel and I quite liked the lighting. Don't ask why we didn't just choose to eat there though; we can be incredibly indecisive at times.



Next morning, I tried to fulfil one of the few items I'd wished to experience on our holiday, which was to sit in one of those roadside truck stop diners where you can take a window seat and observe the comings and goings of decrepit vehicles and owners whilst you sup bottomless cups of coffee. Scored only a partial victory with the diner bit and bottomless coffees but it was a bit too upmarket for my wishes and annoyingly we didn't get a window seat, so it didn't feel like I was in every North American road movie ever. Still, now we'd been fed and we had a bit of time to kill, Mrs_Jon's defences against shite spotting were low, so we hit the streets in the Chevy Sonic sedan and looked for what we could find. We did quite well, I reckon.




I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I don't think there's a single AMC/AMX model I don't like. If you disagree, then you're wrong.





I'll admit that this one was a bit of filler material but I liked the wheels the nod at sportiness from the grey paintwork with red trim accents.





Had to get my timing right with the blue sedan and the Chevy Nova, both in the same yard, as an old boy was working on the orange thing in the above pic and I didn't want to look like a weirdo. What my wife thinks about me, I really don't know.





Saw another one of these green camper vans back in Banff. These do seem to get approving nods from Mrs_Jon but only the ones without high roofs, as she's all about the aesthetics.







Full sized non-pickup American cars seemed to be conspicuous in their absence, especially the older ones, so I was lucky to bag this one at a set of lights, especially as I'd seen it driving round the town a few times earlier.





What more can I say about this van, other than referring you back to the previously mentioned filler comment above. Seeing so many 1990's American things driving around like that GMC parked next door didn't soften my opinion on their lacklustre styling. I still think they look crap.





If I'm correct, I think this is a '55 or '56 Chevy. I only know it's not a '57 but in my opinion it's not as pretty as those, especially at the front, so I reckon it's earlier. As we all know, car models get prettier* when they get facelifted. 





But I think I saved the best till last in this post, as the house next door to the Chev project had trumped his neighbour with an English Ford! In fact, the whole down at heel air in this scene made me very happy that I'd managed to catch the shot and I could leave Canada that day knowing I'd seen some OK stuff. 

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I love this thread, thankyou a hundred times for the pics and write ups.


I'm still recovering from the population difference between what was once the UK and that of NZ, air to breathe, seriously envious.

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Come over for a visit, gordonbennet! Myself, STUNO and Essex V6 live in the highly populated* north island, with Essex V6 living amongst 1 in 4 of the population, since he's based in Auckland. I'm sure one or more of us could assist with the purchase/borrowing of a motoring conveyance or perhaps a room for the night during your stay.


Get enough numbers over and we could have a southern hemisphere Shitefest on our hands....

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Yeah, they can get a bit bogged down in the page ranks but there's some great spotting threads on here. Since mine's going to be an amalgamation of general stuff I've seen that doesn't involve my own fleet, then I reckon there's a fair bit of stuff to cover in backlogs, though it's just a case of getting round to uploading it all. All in good time, I guess.

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This week, I've been away from home on a course which was itself interesting but also quite lacklustre of an evening at times, being holed up in a hotel where the only people you know are fellow course members; naturally, the conversations can be quite dry and work orientated. Fortunately, there was free internet, so I was casually browsing a local forum when I found out about an auction of one guy's collection of 122 (!) classic cars on Saturday, the day after my course finished. However, Saturday was also our 6th wedding anniversary, so not really much of a treat for Mrs_Jon. Fortunately, she's crap with dates and had forgotten we'd got married on that day, so off we went for a nice day out looking at old cars I don't have any space for. Please remember this latter part, as that is my only defence as to why I didn't buy anything, though I put my hand up a few times.


Before I start with proceedings, you should know a few things. These aren't my photos, they're the ones used on line by the auctioneers, which I've downloaded for posterity. I scribbled the hammer price of each lot down and since this is a UK forum, I've converted the final price to pounds (according to yesterday's exchange rate) that somebody paid to roll each car out the yard, after buyer's premium of 10% plus GST = 11.5%. RH stands for Registration on Hold - the equivalent of SORN but if it expires, it costs a few hundred dollars to re-register the car for the road after a very strict WOF (warrant of fitness), or MOT. Dereg means the car is de-registered and would need this to drive about. Most of what is written for each lot is what the car was advertised as, with the odd but added by me.


Though I didn't end up buying, I was with a guy who did buy 6 lots! Be prepared to take a long hard look at the prices - no mistakes have been made as to missing number off the end, etc.



Lot 1 Fiat Crusader (1500 elsewhere), dereg.




Sold to the guy I knew for £149.70



Lot 2. Golf GTI RH. Interesting reg number LH3. Roof had rust holes.







Lot 3. Resprayed Golf GTI, RH.







Lot 4. Mk2 Golf RH.







Lot 5. '78 Golf parts only







Lot 6. Golf shell, burnt out







Lot 7. Subaru GFT RH




Sold to a forum member who owns another one. £49.90



Lot 8. Volvo 164 RH







Lot 9. Mini van, body only






Lot 10. MR2 auto, RH




Sold to a forum member for £74.85



Lot 11. 1984 MR2 dereg.







Lot 12. MR2 RH







Lot 13. Mini truck parts only







Anyone like me to carry on?

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carry on,    and where was that !


Was in Ohaupo. Sorry I forgot to invite you along but I didn't need any more encouragement!



Lot 14. 1300 Beetle, dereg







Lot 15. A35 van rolling body







Lot 16. Mini rolling body







Lot 17. Mini rolling body







Lot 18. Mini body only







Lot 19. 205 GTI, dereg, parts only. Looked at this for bits for ours but there was nothing of use that I didn't already have a spare of. Did have 2 x 1.9 Speedlines, though.







Lot 20. 1993 Daihatsu HiJet, dereg.







Lot 21.1979 Honda Civic, RH







Lot 22. 1993 Mitsubishi Minica RH. Looked at this since it was so tidy but chickened out.







Lot 23. A40 Countryman, RH.




£299.40. Bare in mind this is the most expensive car yet; my opinions on value for money had been skewed so much by this point that I actually thought this was quite steep!



Lot 24. Austin 1300, RH




Happily, this did not go to a Mini bummer but to the guy I know, who plans to give it to his missus to drive. He connected the battery up when he got home and it fired right up. All in all, £87.33 well spent!



Lot 25. Hillman Imp Super, dereg.




The Imps there yesterday really proved to me that the days of them being second best to Minis price-wise are long gone. £249.50 



Lot 26. Rover, RH. Beautiful Lucas lamps, yet.....







Lot 27. 1952 Austin A40 Devon, RH.







Lot 28. A40 Devon, parts only. Had a natty metal sliding sun roof.







Lot 29. Riley Elf, dereg.






Lot 30. Peugeot 205 GT. Could've been a GTI but had no motor or badges. Was a solid looking shell and had no sunroof, so more Kudos for frog lickers. Again, no parts of use as the headlight looked a bit shit.




£4.99. I would've put my hand up for it had the headlight been OK, as I'd like a pair to stash away so I don't have to spunk £75 on a pair of second hand ones like the last time I needed them for a WOF. 

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