US muscle car ready to be ‘run in’

Revving up . . . Preparing for the Otago Community Hospice Charity Cruise and Car Show at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Sunday are (from left) show organiser Ken Schumacher, Plymouth Belvedere owner Mike Ramsay and former owner Brian Casey. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

A restored American muscle car is ready to be “run in” at a charity cruise in Dunedin this weekend.

Mike Ramsay, of Dunedin, said he was entering his 1963 Plymouth Belvedere in the Otago Community Hospice Charity Cruise and Car Show, being held at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Sunday.

“It’s for a great cause.”

He bought the car from Brian Casey, of South Dunedin, about 18 months ago.

Mr Casey bought it from a car dealer in Timaru in 1983.

The car once had a large silver elephant hood ornament because a previous owner was from a large farm called Elephant Hill in Waimate.

The elephant towered above the car’s original 318 cubic inch motor.

The car was in a garage in South Dunedin for about 25 years while Mr Casey had it restored.

The restoration project included dropping in a Plymouth 440 cubic inch big-block engine and installing a hood scoop to allow air to flow directly on to the motor.

The panels on the car were stripped down and repainted in its original blue.

Material from the United States was shipped in to create new upholstery similar to the car’s original.

The project was nearly finished when Mr Ramsay bought it.

Mr Ramsay said he had replaced the drum brakes with disc brakes.

“To slow it down a wee bit . . . You used to have to brake on Thursday if you wanted it to stop on Friday.”

The final part of the restoration included installing a new windscreen and seat belts, getting it certified and replacing a fan, alternator, drive-shaft loop and some ball joints.

“Just teething problems because it had been sitting for so long – it’s nice to see it on the road.”

Mr Casey said the car had 89,000 original miles (143,000km) on the clock and was “hardly run in”.

The car would be part of a Conrodders Rod and Custom Club exhibition at the show.

Show organiser Ken Schumacher said he expected more than 70 cars to be on display on the concrete area at the Otago Daily Times stand end of the stadium.

The remaining fleet would be on show in the car park.

Dunedin rally driver Emma Gilmour would be a guest judge.

People registered vehicles to show on the day.

Gates open at 9am and a cruise departs the stadium about 1pm.