Top hot rod a 20-year project
It's been a 20-year labour of love, but John Allen's pride and joy is now the envy of every hot rod enthusiast in the country.
The Hamilton man's 1932 Ford Coupe was awarded the Top Hot Rod Award at last weekend's New Zealand Hot Rod Association Street Rod Nationals meet in Rotorua.
"I'm pretty stoked," the 43-year-old beamed.
Along with the top award, the Hamilton car also scooped the Rodders' Choice, the People's Choice and the Sponsors' Choice awards.
Mr Allen brought the vehicle for $7000 20 years ago when it was little more than a wreck in a Hamilton barn. Since then he has single-handedly transformed it into a national champion, complete with a LS1 Corvette engine, hand-made suspension and leather interior.
The hot rod has been turning heads on the national scene all year, taking away the top awards in the pre-1949 national competition in February (Street Rod of the Year) and the National Hot Rod Show in April (Show Car of the Year) as well as more than 30 other prizes in all three competitions.
It's been creating waves in the owner's household too, where Mr Allen's son Jason, 8, and daughter Caitlyn, 6, have been jostling for a position up in the front seat with Dad.
"It's a fight between the two of them who is the one to ride in it," he laughs.
Mr Allen, who owns the NZ Sign Company, credits his design skills being a major factor in his car's success.
He plans to have another crack at the national title next year.