Turn back timeless

By: Peta Stavelli, Photography by: Mike Rooke

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Neville Carter's reproduction classic 'van in combination with his immaculately restored Coupe de Ville prove to be a real head turner.

Turn back timeless
Turn back timeless

It would be fair to say that Neville Carter likes his metal. The former quarryman whose largest project saw him mine more than 168,000 tonnes of the strong stuff during the construction of Taranaki's Pipeline may be retired, but metal remains uppermost on his mind.

Neville is the proud owner of two classic American cars - both Cadillac DeVille's - each more than 5.5 metres long (18') and weighing in at around 2100 kilograms. That's a lot of metal. One of his 'girls' - D'Lores - a 1967 DeVille convertible - also sports more than 4200 LED lights, and resembles a spaceship at night. It once attracted a spontaneous crowd of 350 onlookers; causing such a stir The Ministry of Transport indicated that it would not be pleased to see D'Lores return to Christchurch any time soon. But that's another story...

Meanwhile, Neville has a new love, and if his ladies could talk, it's likely that they would be very pleased indeed. For a start it will mean many more trips out on the town and another way to showcase their glamorous lines in the superior way to which they have become accustomed.

Never short of admirers, Neville's road show has just shot up a notch or two with the recent purchase of a reproduction classic caravan that's really turning heads. It was while he was attending the 2012 Whangamata Beach Hop that he came across the unmanned stand for Timeless Caravans and stepped aboard to take a look around. Minutes later he was ringing the cell phone number listed on the business card he found on the bench. 'If you can get here in 10 minutes I'll write you a cheque,' Nev told the man who answered - the 'van's manufacturer Kevin Redshaw. 'Kev told me he couldn't be there in 10 minutes - he was up the hill - but he arrived puffing soon after. I shook his hand and wrote him a cheque on the spot.'

A month later the caravan customized to Neville's specifications to match his bright orange '65 De Ville Cadillac coupe pulls up outside the offices of Motorhomes Caravans and Destinations, and we're off for a quick blat to the nearby waterfront to park up and closely admire the twin-set. And we are not alone.

Quite soon fisher-folk, waterfront workers and Japanese tourists with twitching camera fingers are swarming. The response is unilateral enthusiasm. 'Nice one mate' they call, slowing to a crawl and offering a thumb's up as they head home into the early dusk of a perfect Indian summer. The murmurs of the Japanese tourists disgorging from a nearby bus are clearly approving, judging by the shutter action.

Read more of this article in the June 2012 issue of MCD.

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