CC Global – Kiwi Scrapbook: Explore New Zealand, And Expect The Unexpected

CC has recently seen some of the highlights of our recent trip to New Zealand, which I referred to as “it’s a Toyota but not as we know it”, but the country has many other examples to attract the Curbivore, often something that is unexpected. You expect to see small Fiats in Italy and Citroens in France, but in New Zealand the list is longer and less predictable, including this one. Here’s some highlights from our recent trip to view, whilst you identify the car under the tarpaulin.

First up,  there’s this 1956 Buick Special 2 door, with 5.2 litre V8.

This car was recently imported from the US, with a mileage of just 24,000, and in a condition to match.

Back in 2007, someone, (maybe Gus?) brought this 1975 Ford F150 Ranger over to New Zealand.


6.5 litre of V8, and a wonderful noise at it drove round town later on.

This was a surprise, as otherwise pickups were almost exclusively Japanese, apart from a few Land Rovers.

This one was outside a small town garage, and the vehicle was set up for rescue services, and for the upcoming town fete parade.

This is a 1982 Land Rover Defender, imported when new to New Zealand, with the Rover (ex-Buick) 3.5 litre V8.

Alongside it, as the garage was closed for the Easter holiday, was this early 1950s Ford Thames E83W, which the garage has restored and use to support the town parade.

Surely typical of NZ’s roads 60 years ago?

Or how about a 1983 Subaru (Leone) 1800 estate, imported new. You can see the attraction of a compact 4WD estate in the Southern Alps, with gravel roads and ski resorts all around.

A Ford Ranchero. Like I said, unexpected.

This is a 1977-79 version, and without registration details we can only speculate on how it arrived there.

Just as unexpected was this 1970 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow LWB, which gained an extra four inches in the rear passenger compartment and often a fixed glass divider as well. This was the only Rolls-Royce we saw in nearly three weeks, perhaps not surprisingly.

Another British surprise was this 1972 Triumph 2000 saloon, in the same period redolent brown as my Mum’s 1972 Triumph Toledo.

This car was imported complete from the UK, rather than assembled locally, and after 47 years is still a daily driver.

Another car from the same period is this VW 1500 saloon, dating from 1971.

Both the Beetle and the Triumph were spotted in central Christchurch, which explains the car park on a cleared site after the recent earthquakes. The city still has many empty plots and much rebuilding to be done.

New Zealand has a predominantly Japanese and Korean selection of newer cars, as you’d expect, but there are still older Japanese cars around, like this 1986 Honda City.

This car, with 1.2 litre engine, was assembled in New Zealand, and is larger than the kei class cars.

This 1982 Toyota Corolla (E70) estate with its 1.3 litre engine is doing daily service, and looking pretty fit on it too.

It may not be glamorous or exciting but you cannot deny that it is giving Beetle like service to someone.

This car was assembled in New Zealand, in the town of Thames at a plant that Toyota now use to refurbish imported cars.

Another Corolla was this 1988 example, also of the E70 generation, in bare bones three door estate format. Officially, this is registered as a light van and was being used to support a market trader.

The pickup is a vital vehicle in New Zealand, and this Mitsubishi L200 from 1983 is typical, if older than most, of the breed.

This one was imported complete, and according to recorded data has covered some 250,000km (165000 miles), so may be considered run in.

This 1970 Datsun 1200 was seen on the Cook Strait ferry between the islands, and was presented in a very impressive condition with some gentle modding going.

This Morris 1100 is a 1971 car, also with some slight modifications. Cobra stripes are rare, to say the least, on an ADO16.

The faded red paint is more common, but to see an ADO16 in daily use is not a regular event in the UK by any means, even if it was the UK’s best seller for most of the 1960s. And despite the badge on the front wing, I’m pretty sure this would have locally assembled.

One manufacturer, in fact country, I didn’t expect to see much evidence of, was Peugeot-Citroen of France.

But we were surprised. First, a Peugeot 505SR, which strangely does not feature on the published registration data. Possibly, this vehicle was assembled in Australia by either Renault or (of all people) the remnants of British Leyland Australia.

Arguably, this was one of Europe’s better saloons of the 1980s, and perhaps unfairly overshadowed by its predecessor, the 504.

Also, we spotted this 1995 Citroen ZX 1.8 Aura hatchback – a common enough sight in France, but there are not many in New Zealand.

Also scarce, and surprisingly wearing European badging, this 1991 Opel Vectra.

Intriguingly, and confusingly, this car was not offered in Australia until the next generation, when the replacement was the Holden Vectra.

Another rare brand was Mercedes-Benz – this was 1989 300SE was only the classic Mercedes we saw, and by far the largest Mercedes as well.

Truly an important car, introducing many features we take for granted now, like ABS. My favourite Mercedes saloon? Very likely!

Now a very rare sight in the UK,  this is a 1981 edition of 1969-87 Bedford CF van. This was GM’s challenger to the Ford Transit, and used the Vauxhall Victor’s slant 4 OHC engine, in this case the 2.3 litre version.

This is a CF2, second series model with the full width black grille and a series of mechanical changes. The CF was actually the last Vauxhall developed vehicle to be produced, with production running to 1987, 18 years after its introduction. It was also sold in Europe under the Opel brand, and with Holden engines for some Australasian versions.

One other van with UK connections was the LDV Maxus, now built in China by SAIC. It is seemingly successful in New Zealand, not just as a van but also as a basis for campers.

And Kiwis like campers!

One that was totally new to me was this Haval H6 Coupe Blue Label, a compact SUV pitched at the Hyundai Tucson/Kia Sportage/Ford Escape/Kuga area of the market.

This is a 2019 Blue Label (the lower level of the two models, the other being the Red Label) with a 2 litre petrol engine and some distinctly Range Rover Evoque and Audi Q3/5 aping styling touches.

And the car under the tarpaulin – my best estimate is a 1963-64 Singer Gazelle Series V, probably assembled in New Zealand by Todd Motors, Rootes’ long term partner.