A hot rod called ''Speed 33'' took 4000 hours to build in a Tauranga workshop before winning some of the most prestigious custom automotive awards in the US.
Now there's a one-off chance for Kiwi car fans to see the stunning cabriolet at this weekend's CRC Speedshow in Auckland.
The Ford is sure to garner plenty of attention as it graces the display of its award-winning builder, Rods by Reid.
That exhibit will complement the New Zealand Hot Rod Association 50th anniversary hot rod show which is incorporated into this year's Speedshow at the ASB Showgrounds this Saturday and Sunday.
Owned by Philippines-based expat Kiwi and long-time hot rod enthusiast Steve Payne, the '33 Ford cabriolet is back in New Zealand for a short time before being shipped to Payne after its award-winning trip to the US.
Builder John (JR) Reid says "Speed 33" was shipped to the US in August last year for the Goodguys West Coast National hot rod show in California.
"It was very exciting to have the Rods by Reid-built '33 cabriolet selected as a top five finalist in the award for America's most beautiful street rod. There were over 3500 cars entered and as far as we know, it's the only non-US car to receive any major award at any of the Goodguys events," says Reid.
"Steve and I then were invited to enter the car in the Grand National Roadster Show (GNRS) which ran in January this year. This is quite an honour to be personally invited by the show's owner John Buck, as he may invite only three or four car owners a year.
"At the GNRS, the Speed 33 won its class – the biggest and toughest of all the classes – giving it the awards for best altered street roadster and the most outstanding engine in a hot rod. In hot rodding terms, this is like receiving two gold medals."
Speed 33's immaculate butter yellow leather upholstery is the work of an Auckland firm. It has a specially styled full steel body on a Rods by Reid chassis and independent suspension with particular attention paid to detail for looks and performance with hundreds of parts hand-made. An 8.6-litre all-alloy Keith Black Hemi engine provides the power.
Speedshow organiser Keith Sharp says he's honoured that Payne and Reid were able to make the car available for this year's show.
"It's always a pleasure to have the chance to see this calibre of vehicle, especially as a talented group of Kiwis have gone and taken on the Americans at their own game.
"This year's show has an amazing line-up of cars, bikes, classics and the latest models, top class motorsport equipment and all kinds of auto-related accessories and merchandise. So the Speed 33 fits right in – it's cool, it's fast and it's among the world's best."
- © Fairfax NZ News