Modified hot rod ‘a handful’, but loving it

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"A blast" .Keri Wilson, of Green Island, and his 1936 Ford hot rod. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Keri Wilson, of Green Island, talks to motoring reporter Shawn McAvinue about his 1936 Ford hot rod.

Q: When I spoke to you in January, you had sold your 1984 Mitsubishi Sigma and were trying to sell your 1982 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 to buy this hot rod – which was in pieces-  from your dad. Any regrets selling those two cars to get this one?

No regrets, I miss them both but it’s been worth it. Dave Bouman and some other mates helped me put the hot rod together. We were working to a deadline to enter it in Muscle Car Madness in Rangiora in January. After a lot of long nights, we got a Wof on her two days before the show – that’s how tight it was. We didn’t have time to test it but it made it and didn’t miss a beat and hasn’t put a foot wrong since – it’s been a blast. I’m loving it and take it out every weekend – so I’m very thankful to Dave and me mates.

Q: Is it fast?

It’s no slouch – it has a 350 cubic inch small block Chevy V8. Putting a Chevy motor in a Ford is a bit of a crime but it’s a custom hot rod – that’s what it’s all about. The only thing stock about it is the body – all the rest has been modified.

Q: Has the restoration gone to plan?

The worst thing about the car – before we put the new motor and front end in – was its cooling system. If you’d cruise around town in it, it would overheat but I bought a big fan and a new radiator and now you can do laps around town all night and it loves it. The temperature gauge doesn’t even move.

Q: Anything else need to be done on it?

The only job left is the interior.

Q: Do you just cruise in it or do you take it to the supermarket?

It’s not my daily, it’s too much of a handful – there’s no power steering and without the interior finished there’s a lot of noise and a lot of heat.

Q: Would you sell this hot rod or is it a family heirloom?

It means too much to me to sell. The only way I’d sell this is to get one of my dream cars – a 1959 Chevy Impala or a 1969 Camaro – or to buy a house, but hopefully it doesn’t have to come to that. I have a lot of childhood memories of this car with my old man [Mike Wilson] – which you can’t put a price on.

Q: What does your dad think of it?

He wants it back.