A pin-up poster car at one of the country's best known hot rod gatherings is a memorial to a 15-year-old who took his own life.
The 1923 Ford T-bucket was commissioned by Chuck and Sheila Moore from Waitoki, north of Auckland, to honour their son Ryan.
It will be among vehicles displayed at this year's classic car and hot rod festival in Kumeu later this month.
The car carries two airbrushed portraits of Ryan and tie-dyed pattern paintwork reflecting the 1970s era he loved. Ryan was a gifted musician and sportsman with entrepreneurial skill from a very young age, and an A-grade student at Rangitoto College, Northcross Intermediate School and Coatesville Primary School.
He played guitar and piano, sang and wrote songs and loved music by the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Neil Young and Bob Dylan.
The surfer, swimmer, skier and snowboarder won a North Island freestyle secondary school skiing title and also came fifth in a national motocross event when he was 11.
He developed an interest in hot rods after going to the annual Kumeu festival and similar car events and tried to persuade Chuck to import two Dodge Rams and sell one to pay for the other.
He even got purchase and shipping quotes to prove his case.
Chuck decided against providing his credit card details but a few years later Ryan imported and sold skateboard decks at good profit, then created tie-dye T-shirts to sell.
Ryan suffered from depression so he and his dad planned to work on a car together as a fun project to help keep his spirits up. They bought a T-bucket in Whangarei which needed considerable work.
Two months later, in April 2009, Ryan took his life. He left a note asking the family to finish the car.
Hot rod specialist Lance Walsh of Helensville has been preparing the T-bucket for three years and considerable work has been done since it won people's choice, best hot rod and best commercial vehicle at last year's event. The winning car each year becomes the poster car to publicise the next show and goes on display only.
'T4RYAN' is the car's plate and it has never been driven since its rebuild.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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