Bruce Wayne's red Batmobile

Last updated 05:00 20/11/2012
Mike Stapley's RX7

Mike Stapley ponders a return to the days when he had a 'nasty' car for the 'Lumbo'.

Mike Stapley's RX7
Gleaming - this RX7 was always good on show.

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I always had a thing for cars that stood out from the crowd - from the very first time I went out in my mate's souped-up Honda Civic, and we did what many will remember as being the "Lumbo Run" (Colombo St, Christchurch). I was only 15 at the time and I thought, "One day, I hope to have a car that people might go wow at when then see it drive by."

Fast-forward three years and here I was selling my first attempt at making a show car, a 1992 Honda Civic, dubbed DVSCIV, and buying what at the time was my absolute dream car: a Mazda RX7, to many known as a Batman, or a Batmobile.

I was the tender age of 18 and owning a car that was far too powerful for someone of that age, a rear-wheel-drive, twin turbo, rotary-powered weapon. But at the time, I didn't care, I had my dream car, who cares it cost about $130 to fill with gas and I was lucky to get 300km out of that? It was my car and something I could drive around and feel like a king.

Unfortunately, one spring night, a friend and I had decided to fly into town and get a feed of BK before heading out on the town for the night. With a burger in one hand, the other trying to change gear and turn a corner at the same time, I put my foot down slightly too much and all the power shot to those rear wheels and the car slid out on me. Being an inexperienced teen who thought he was a man of steel, I was unable to control the car and not drop the burger. The car slid into a parked car and within minutes there was a massive crowd and my pride was broken, along with my arm, and I had nasty cut to my head where it had hit the steering wheel.

The car wasn't badly damaged at all - just a bit of cosmetic damage to the bumper and guard. So it was at this time I thought, right, I'm not only going to put this car back to its beautiful self, I'm gonna give it one hell of a makeover. In rolls full bodykit, airbag suspension (later removed and replaced with adjustable suspension), full custom leather interior, engine rebuild, new stereo sound system, a splash of carbon fibre here and there and some nice, big, shiny wheels.

Once it was out of the shop(s), around rolled the Christchurch round of the car show comp AutoSalon. It was the perfect way to show off my new-look pride and joy.

After a weekend of fabulous comments about how great it looked, and what I thought was amazing - little kids wanting to get their photos with my car! The weekend got topped off with the car winning one of the top awards - the people's choice award! Not bad, considering there were about 100 other fantastic cars on display!

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After the car show I was lucky enough to find out that my partner was pregnant with our first child. It was at this time I had to decide, can I afford to keep this and raise a child, and actually fit a child seat in this car? (For those of you who don't know, the RX7s have what I think are the world's smallest and most useless rear seats.)

I decided the only thing to do was to sell my current baby. I was lucky enough that the car generated a huge amount of interest, and was snapped up rather quickly.

So fast-forward five years and two children, owning my own house and being able to afford things other than petrol, do I wish I still had the car? Yes! Do I regret selling it? No! I was young, enjoyed that period of my life, and have moved on to the next stage. (Maybe one day I will buy another RX7, but shhh, don't tell my partner!)

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