Ray's collection just keeps on growing

SARAH-JANE O'CONNOR
Last updated 08:17 19/06/2013
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DON SCOTT
CAR CRAZY: Ray Drury surveys his kingdom - a massive garage housing more than 40 vehicles.

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When Ray and Nancy Drury first moved to Knightsbank, their Halswell home had a three-car garage.

Now it has expanded across the property to house Ray's collection of more than 40.

Ray, 79, picked up his first car, a 1952 Riley 2, at an auction by mistake.

"I never go to auctions because it's bad news," but he walked in anyway just as the Riley was going under the hammer. It cost 3000 "something or other", but Ray can't remember if it was dollars or pounds.

"That was the start of the disease."

His collection now spans cars, motorbikes, boats and even a plane suspended above the rest.

He has never sold a car in his life, though he has given some to friends, or swapped them.

The plane was in Wanaka and Ray swapped a friend three cars for it. The plan was to get it flying, but the costs were prohibitive and he thought he might be too old to fly it anyway.

Then Nancy suggested he "put it up there where it costs no more money".

All the cars are driveable and registered. They are started up at least every month and he and Nancy get to pick which car they take on outings with their four grandkids.

He doesn't have a favourite. "I like them all, all of them have a story to tell."

How does he get it past Nancy?

"A few of the more expensive ones are registered in her name as a bit of a sweetener."

Born in Sydenham, Ray has lived in Christchurch his whole life. He started an engineering business with his father in 1958. They worked together for 30 years and "never had a fight".

The extra space for the cars has a dual purpose for Ray's other passion, organs.

He is restoring a 1920 Wurlitzer, a theatre organ that was played during silent movies. It was languishing in a damp building in Wellington and probably had not been played in 60 years. Organist Eric Apperley is helping convert the instrument to electric.

"Eric says he tried to tell me it was going to be a massive job, but obviously I didn't hear him," Ray said, of the restoration that has already taken a year.

They hope to be close to finishing it for the next Drury Theatre Organ charity concert in September.

At the concerts, Ray and Nancy host international organists in Christchurch and donate the proceeds to local charities.

So when will he build his next garage?

"I think that might be the one thing the wife will put her foot down about. The more you build the more you fill."

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- The Press

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