A passion for classic and muscle cars continues to burn for a Dunedin couple.
On a property in Blackhead, mechanic Roy Macdonald and his fiancee, Jan McInnes, own a large garage, purpose-built to house their fleet of nearly 20 classic and muscle cars.
On the garage walls hang photos of cars including Mr Macdonald’s first classic, a 1949 Mercury.
Most of the fleet in the couple’s 700sqm garage are American – the exceptions being Jan’s Australian-built 1966 Ford Falcon Futura XP Coupe and Roy’s English-built 1963 Ford Cortina.
Both agree on the most prized classic car in the garage – a rare Cadillac Series 62 convertible, the only one of its kind in New Zealand.
“It’s a very respected car and it’s probably worth as much as the rest of them put together,” Mr Macdonald said.
If they had to choose a favourite muscle car in the garage it would be a rare 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Fastback, which was one of 801 made. It has a 390 cubic inch motor and 4-speed manual gearbox.
The fleet gets used regularly. Some of the American muscle cars – Mustang, Fairlane and Camaro – get raced with the help of friends Brent and Lisa Wooltorton.
The couple often lends cars to friends to take out on runs.
Of the fleet, the Cadillac had the fewest outings, mainly weddings and the odd Autospectacular show.
The couple fuelled each other’s passion for classic cars and some of the fleet, present and past, were treated as “part of the family”, Ms McInnes said.
Mr Macdonald said he had loved American and Australian classic and muscle cars since he was a child.
The “driving force” for his fascination was fuelled by his cousin, Jim Ledgerwood, who collects classic cars and got him into hot-rodding in the 1970s.
Another influence was his father, Murray Macdonald, who drove a 1934 V8 Ford sedan as the family car.
“That lit the fire and it never stopped,” he said.
Mr Macdonald continually stoked the fire by working on hot rods and classic cars as a hobby.
After returning to Dunedin following a decade working as a heavy vehicle mechanic in Twizel “the hobby became the business”.
He took over the business US Speed & Spares in High St in 1989. The business – Roy Macdonald Automotive – moved to Kaikorai Valley Rd about 15 years ago.
He planned to retire in less than two years and vowed to continue increasing the mileage on their fleet, which includes their motorhome parked outside the garage.
“It will be towing a trailer with one of the cars in it.”