A family affair

Americarna is for the whole family
Americarna is for the whole family

A fascination for all things cars has generations of one New Plymouth family bonding under the bonnet.

Anna Etheridge and brother, Lloyd Garrick, share a similar taste in vehicles, both owning hot rods: Anna owns a 1932 Ford Tudor sedan and Lloyd has very recently completed a rebuild of his 1934 Ford sedan.

The pair discovered cars at a young age. Their father, numerous uncles and an older brother all lived and breathed motoring and cars, so it was inevitable that they, too, would cultivate that same passion.

"I had no choice but to like cars, I was brought up in a house with two older brothers who were car-mad and I used to follow them everywhere," says Anna Etheridge.

And today it doesn't stop there, because her 16-year-old son Luke has inherited the motoring bug and is about to embark on a pre- trade mechanics course.

"We really do just have it flowing through our veins," says Anna, whose husband, Tony, has a comparable interest in cars and owns a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro.

Anna found her Tudor in Auckland about seven years ago when she was looking for a family friendly four-seater classic.

"I always liked them - Lloyd had a similar car a long time ago," she says. "I wanted something that we could fit all the kids in so we could go for family drives."

She says the car was once owned by a Christchurch man who completely rebuilt it in the early 1970s.

"It was in pretty good condition when we purchased it, but Tony has done a lot of work on it since."

That work includes taking out the old 350 engine and replacing it with a 383 Chevrolet engine with a 700R four-speed automatic transmission, and fitting a new digital dashboard.

The cobalt blue two-door hot rod's interior is cloaked with ivory leather, and its roof has been "chopped and dropped" by 7.5 centimetres.

"Chopping makes the cars look nicer instead of looking like a letterbox," says Anna. Customised windows have never been an issue for her.

She is a regular Americarna entrant and her family will have both the Tudor and the Camaro in this year's event.

This year, brother Lloyd Garrick will also participate in Americarna in his hot rod for the first time after an intended six- month rebuild of the Ford turned into a 5 1/2-year project.

"I really wanted a car that I could get in and drive, and I did drive it for two or three years, and then I was just going to do a quick rebuild," he says of the car which he purchased in Christchurch. He did most of the modifications himself, but admits he got a bit carried away.

The imperial blue car's 302 Ford engine was replaced with a 302 Ford stroked 347, and in addition Lloyd installed a new C4 three-speed automatic transmission and chopped the roof 10cm at the front and 7.5cm at the back.

His sleek ride also got an all- new front end, a larger diff and power steering. It also has new panel and paint and it was re- upholstered with black leather.

Last month, the freshly transformed hot rod completed its maiden voyage to Christchurch where Lloyd entered it into the Muscle Car Madness event and took out first place in the Rodders' Choice section.

With the hundreds of hours of manual labour spent working on his Ford, winning that competition was a personal victory, he says.

Looking to the future, Lloyd Garrick says there is possibly another project on the horizon.

"My mate has got some parts and I have some parts so we might throw something together."

Taranaki Daily News