In a three-part series, motoring reporter Shawn McAvinue asks Wendy and Michael Lobb, of Fairfield, about some of their eye-catching automobiles. For the final instalment, Michael talks about his 1975 Bedford CF van.
Q: When did you get it?
I bought it in Ashburton in 2017. The van’s registration was on hold. It’s body was in pretty good shape, with not much rust. It was grey and had been used as a tradie van and had a stock engine _ a Vauxhall 2.3-litre four cylinder engine, which we couldn’t get running.
Q: Why did you decide to restore a van?
As schoolboys, me and my mate had always dreamed of owning vans. When I got made redundant at the end of 2016, Wendy told me to start a project for the time I was off work, which was about six months.
Q: What a great reaction for a wife to have to a redundancy.
Q: Why a Bedford van?
It’s got a nice shape.
Q: Did the love of vans come from watching the television series The A-Team?
It might have been – me and mu mate were probably aged 13 or 14 at the time. I had a book on custom vans and we drew pictures of vans and what we’d have in them, like CB radios.
Q: What motor is in it now?
I found a Bedford ambulance which was being wrecked and it had a V8 in it – a 382 Chev. So I bought the ambulance and removed the engine, transmission and diff out of it, and put them in the CF. I sold the rest of the ambulance as parts.
Q: What else have you added to it?
It’s been stripped back to metal, panelbeaten and painted. I’ve added fibreglass flares and front spoiler and the side pipes. The front seats are out of a Mazda CX7 and are heated. I’ve had some cup holders and USB chargers installed. Now I’m going through the certification process and I want to put some seats in the back but I’ll let the certifier tell me how to do that. I have some black leather seats out of a Toyota Previa to put in. The seats will be removable, so I can unbolt them when I want to use it as a van. The van is still a work in progress.
Q: Why purple paint?
I was planning on getting it painted bright yellow with black racing stripes over it but the painter told me yellow was one of the hardest colours to paint because it’s really see-through and you need so much of it, so I should pick another colour. So I chose purple off an FG Ford Falcon with fat white racing stripes. The painter suggested I paint the roof a different colour or people will think its a Cadbury van but I told him, no, I wanted it painted all the same colour. When I got home the family told me I should hold off putting the white stripes on it.
Q: Will it ever get its stripes?
I think it will at some stage, but I just want to get it on the road and drive it.