Restoration of ute a labour of love

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Labour of love . . . Darryl Wingfield, of Green Island, and his 1963 Ford XM Falcon ute. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Darryl Wingfield, of Green Island, talks to Shawn McAvinue about his 1963 Ford XM Falcon ute.

How long have you owned your ute?

About 19 years – it took about four years to do it up. It was a rolling shell when I bought it out of Paraparaumu. The wheels were on it but it had no motor.

Are you handy when it comes to restoring cars?

I’m a good labourer. The guy who owned it before me spent 2700 hours restoring it.

How many hours have you spent on it?

About 4000 hours and two friends of mine about 1000 hours each – one did the painting and the other did the mechanical.

At the start of the restoration, if someone told you that you’d spend 4000 hours restoring it, would you have started?

Yeah, I enjoy that bit of it – I enjoy that more than keeping them shiny – I must be a masochist.

Have you started another restoration project?

Yup, I’ve got a Falcon coupe the same shape and it’s about half done. You’ve got to do something at night – there’s nothing on the telly. I also have a Austin A40 Farina waiting to be restored.

Are XM Falcon utes rare?

They made 2000 utes that year – and being a commercial vehicle they had a hell of a hard life. It was imported from Australia in 1966 and it had 70,000 miles on the clock. It did a clockwise lap of Australia before it was sent to New Zealand.

What sort of engine did you put in it?

It’s out of a 1971 Falcon – a 4.1 litre, six cylinder, three-speed auto.

Have you ever carted firewood in your ute?

God no, I don’t put anything in it because I don’t want to scratch the paint.

I hear you are entering it in the Autospectacular Show on Sunday. Have you entered your ute before?

Yes, a couple of times.

Why did you enter the show?

It’s an excuse to get it out and the Autospectacular is Dunedin’s biggest show.

The Autospectacular is on in Dunedin’s Edgar Centre between 9am and 4pm on Saturday. Special features include 100 years of Bentley, 60 years of Mini, European performance and Ford Falcons.