Ford-thinking lockdown project

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Lockdown project . . . Hayden Murray, of Green Island, and a cupboard he made from the back of a Ford Escort van. PHOTOS: SHAWN MCAVINUE

A Dunedin Ford Escort enthusiast mounted an off-the-wall project during lockdown.

Hayden Murray, of Green Island, said the sight of a rusty, moss-covered back end of a late 1970s Ford Escort Mark 2 van sparked an epiphany.

The van, rotting on a mate’s grain farm in Milton, was saved a trip to the scrap metal yard by a vision to transform a cupboard to hang on a garage wall.

The garage was home to his two Escorts – a 1974 Sport and a 1977 van.

To use the salvaged van to build a cupboard he needed to learn some panelbeating skills.

“It was rotten all the way along the bottom – there was no right hand sill, nothing … the roof was flapping in the wind.”

A reason the van was rusty was because it had once been used at a limeworks, he said.

On the eve of the nation entering lockdown, his uncle gave him a sheet of panel steel.

A stamp on the steel reveals it was manufactured in 1974 – a similar vintage to the van.

“It’s period-correct steel.”

The original project plan was to seek advice from a panelbeater mate but with the nation in lockdown, he had to work it out himself.

Rust was cut out and steel was bent in a vice before the welding began.

“It’s pretty good considering I’m a painter and decorator.”

The “bloody cool” project took two weeks to finish.

The top shelf of the cupboard displayed motoring memorabilia including trophies, a picture of a ute his dad built from a Mark 1 Ford Cortina and a packet of Ford Anglia bearing shells.

The bottom shelf was used to store jacks and stands.

He was planning on removing some of the moss and lichen to signwrite something across the van doors, such as “Muzza’s Garage Bar”.

Another plan was to get the tail lights on the cupboard working.

Also during lockdown, he wall-mounted a decommissioned parking meter beside the cupboard.

For his next project he had salvaged the back of a Ford Falcon XY ute and planned to transform it to a couch.

“One day, very shortly.”