What's Happening At Upper Classics?

Some of our latest projects:
EH Holden
We currently have a very original EH Holden wagon in for some rust and mechanical repairs before its first WOF in many years.
Although very sound structurally this car needed repairs to the doors, tailgate and front wings.
The owner is keen to keep the 'used' look of the car so we will try and 'age' the paint on the repaired areas to match the rest of the car. The photos show the repairs to one door.
As well as cars we also restore motorbikes at Upper Classics
This Honda VFR400 came in for a comprehensive tidy up. The motor was left in the frame as it ran well, but virtually every other part of the bike as been removed, cleaned, repaired and replaced or repainted as required.
The forks and brakes have been overhauled. It just awaits its repainted body work before it is ready to hit the road for many more summers' riding.
1934 Chrysler Grille
Recently we were approached to repair the grille of a 1934 Chrysler. The grille consisted of a steel backing with a stainless cap over each bar. The stainless capping had been damaged by stones and other impacts over the years. The cappings were very thin and whilst we could repair some of them many needed to be replaced.
The biggest shock to the owner and us was the state of the steel backing bars, many were rusty and some consisted only of bog where someone had tried a 'repair' in the past. New sections of the steel bar were 'let in' and the new and repaired stainless cappings refitted.

A mammoth job but as one of the focal points of the car it had to be right.
1956 Ford Mercury Medalist
Although this 1956 Ford Mercury Medallist had been restored in the past, some of the metal work and finishing wasn't to a very high standard. The new owner didn't like the colour either so all the exterior trim, screens and rubbers were removed and a comprehensive colour change was undertaken. Everything was then re-assembled taking a bit more time and care than the previous 'restorers' to ensure the fit and finish was to a much higher standard.
1967 Ford Galaxie
This 1967 Ford Galaxie has just been through our workshop for some WOF repairs and general servicing. A full brake system overhaul and some tidying up in the engine bay was also carried out.
1962 Chrysler Royale
This 1962 Chrysler Royale and 1932 Woodie Hot Rod are owned and have been built or restored by Upper Classics staff.
1932 Woodie Hot Rod
Much of the restoration work on the Chrysler was carried out at Upper Classics.
A small sample of some of the different work we do
Update on VW Kombi
If you scroll down the page you will see some earlier reports on the work we have done to resurrect this Kombi bus. By the time all the rusty metal was removed there was not much left !
We are now in the fit up stage before the van is painted. It is critical that the vehicle is completely built up at this stage and all parts are checked for fit, as any alterations are so much harder when the vehicle is painted.
With the body of the Kombi back from sand blasting what was left was painted with an epoxy coating inside and out to protect the bare steel.
We are now in the fit up stage before the van is painted. It is critical that the vehicle is completely built up at this stage and all parts are checked for fit, as any alterations are so much harder when the vehicle is painted.
Just arrived In !
Just arrived in for a full body restoration is this rare 1959, 23 window VW Kombi Bus imported into New Zealand in 1961. I am sure it has some stories to tell !!

Unfortunately, like many of these VW buses it is very rusty. By the time we cut back to sound steel, there was a large pile of rusty metal on the ground. The body was mounted on our large steel bed before any cutting was done, along with some internal bracing to ensure what was left stayed where it should. Once sufficient strength was restored in the chassis and floor area, the shell was put back on wheels for a trip to the sand blaster.
Reproduction of an Original Number Plate
One of our customers in the U.S.A. has an SS90 which was sold new in New Zealand back in 1935. He has this lovely period photo of the car ;in action'. Whilst he had the AA badges shown in the photo he asked us to reproduce the New Zealand number plate. This took some work to create a one off press tool but the front of the car is now complete again.
Harley Fat Boy
After a minor accident the owner of this Harley decided he would like a change from the original black of his Fatboy. We re-painted the tank and guards a Jaguar gunmetal colour to give the bike a whole new look.
Stainless Mouldings
The large stainless moulding on the boot of this 1959 Cadillac was damaged beyond repair. We folded up 2 new sections for the main part of the moulding and welded them together. The pressed section around the boot lock was cut from the original moulding and grafted into the new moulding. After dressing the welds and a final polish we had recreated a part that is very hard to find.
Often due to the age of the cars we work on, parts are missing or damaged and replacements are usually no longer available.
On this early SS car we only had one original outer door handle. From this a mould was made and new handles cast. These were then machined and shaped to produce a pair of as new handles, including a locking handle for the drivers side.
1960 Jaguar XK150S OTS
We have recently completed the restoration of a 1960 Jaguar XK150S OTS. The 'S' model had an uprated engine fitted with triple SU carbs.
The running gear and engine will be restored by Zwakman Motors Europe.
MGA Twin Cam
Another car recently completed is this MGA Twin Cam. Although a matching number car it was little more than a bare body shell and chassis when we started. Luckily most of the unique twin cam mechanical parts were still with the car in boxes.
Progress of this car has been documented on our 'For Sale' page over the past few years. Only around 2100 twin cams were built from a total production run of approx 1000,000 MGA's of all types.
Rust repair work
Of course not all our work involves total restorations. Recently we have done some rust repair work to the firewall area of a Holden HQ wagon. The owner wants to get the car back on the road, so as more funds become available, we will work our way down the car.
Another small job was a rust repair in the engine bay of a Datsun 240Z for a WOF where the inner guard meets the firewall. The affected area was cut out, a repair section welded in and the paint touched in.
If you need any work done on your classic, big or small, mechanical, panel or paint - we can help.
At the moment we have a real variety of work in, from a V8 engine swap and re-assembly of an HZ Holden Ute through to some minor paint and panel work on a Ferrari Dino.
S2 Bentley
We are carrying out rust removal, panel work and a full repaint of an S2 Bentley. Although a sound car for its age it still required some major work around the sill structure and lower panels.
Suzuki RE5
In the early 1970's when rotary engines were all the rage, Suzuki bought out a rotary engined motorcycle. Although a sales 'flop' when new (only 28 were sold in New Zealand) they are now quite sort after. We currently have 4 RE5's in for repair and rebuilds from around the country.
Kurtis Kraft was an American designer and builder of race cars. The company built midget cars, quarter-midgets, sports cars, sprint cars, Bonneville cars, and USAC Championship cars.

This car was brought into New Zealand from America and we installed an Offenhauser engine into it. The 'Offy' or Offenhauser racing engine is a racing engine design that dominated American open wheel racing for more than 50 years and is still popular among vintage sprint and midget car racers.

This has been an exciting project and we are very pleased with the end result.
Our work on this 1947 car is now complete and it has been reunited with its owner.
Local projects
Although much of our work comes in from overseas, we still get involved with many jobs for local customers.
In the last month we have finished two larger projects on a 1939 Buick Straight 8 and a 1947 Chevrolet Fleetmaster, along with a respray of a Pontiac Firebird.
Another local car with a long motor racing history is the Ransley Riley. This car was first raced in February 1949 at the first race held at Wigram Air Force Base.
In February 2014 whilst being raced at Levels Raceway in Timaru it suffered a catastrophic failure of the clutch assembly. Whilst the driver was lucky to escape serious injury the body, wood frame and various other mechanical components suffered quite some damage as large chunks of 'shrapnel' exited the car at speed. Our job is to repair the body and wood frame.
The 1912 Little which featured on our stand at the 2015 Inter Marque Car Display at Pioneer Stadium has now been trimmed.
The next major step is to get the engine running. It is probably more than 70 years since this car has moved under its own power so this will be an exciting moment for all those involved.
1930's & 40's American Cars
Many American cars of the 1930's and 40's had a 'wood grain' effect painted or printed on metal parts such as the dash. Whilst I doubt anyone thought it was real wood, the effect can be quite convincing.

The 1939 Buick we are restoring had this wood grain on the dash and window surrounds. With a bit of experimentation we have been able to duplicate this.

Once installed in the car the effect is quite striking.
Triang Pedal Car
No job is too big or too small !! - this is a Triang Pedal Car - circa 1955. One of our regular local customers brought this in for us to restore to its former glory.
1911 Little radiator
New top and bottom tanks were fabricated using some fittings salvaged from the old radiator. These were then soldered to a new core imported from the USA.

Rust damage and the odd dent was repaired in the surround and the complete unit was assembled using soldered tags as original.
Motorcycle tanks & parts
As a change from painting cars we have recently completed a number of motor cycle tanks and parts. The tank on the left is from a BSA B31. We had the tank chromed then masked up and painted the tank as original. The tank on the right is from a 1976 XS500 Yamaha. The stickers were unobtainable for this model so we scanned and duplicated the originals.
SS1 Airline
One of the most difficult restorations we have undertaken is the recreation of the correct bodywork for an SS1 Airline. This car was 'chopped' down to look like a tourer in the 1970s and most of the original bodywork and fittings were removed. The green car is the car as we received it and the Burgundy car is how it should look!
Luckily as we had restored an Airline before we were able to get the body work 3D scanned. From this we were able to create patterns to recreate the wooden frame of the car. This was CNC cut from a cheap wood (MDF) so we could test assemble the framework and make any changes required. Once we were sure everything fitted the appropriate changes were made to the scanned data and from this the actual frame can be CNC cut from Ash laminated planks. Should we need to make another Airline in the future another frame could easily be recreated.
Jaguar XK140FHC
We have just completed this Jaguar XK140FHC, its no ordinary restoration though as this car is used in many Classic Marathon type rallies. Whilst the car is of course completed to our usual high standard we have also carried out many modifications, some obvious, some not, to ensure it will survive the rigours of these events

2-4 Halls Place,
Christchurch 8024


P: +64 (0)3 9627700
F: +64 (0)3 3385082
E: [email protected]

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