Name: Rachael Pilcher
Car: 1960 Buick Le Sabre
Wow, cool-looking car you have there, Rachael. What made you decide to buy it?
I went to look at a rusty one for sale a few years ago, as I had never seen one before. I fell in love with its radical styling ” their fins and headlights are based on the B52 bomber ” and the fact there aren’t many over here. It was my mission to find a tidy one after that. It took me a year, but Harry Orpwood in Christchurch helped me ship one in from California. I’m not keen on the colour, so its nickname is the Flying Poo. It’s also practical for the sheer amount of stuff I can fit in there for my Rita Sue business.
We’ve seen the Rita Sue name around a bit. How’s it been going for you?
Great! I have met so many incredible people since I started, who are really enthusiastic about retro clothing and the atmosphere it helps create at hot rod events. Apparently there were 20,000 people watching my sponsored fashion and beauty shows at Beach Hop this year, which was pretty crazy.
What is it about that era of clothing and cars that you like?
The timeless elegance of both. The whole ‘fashion fades but style remains forever’ motto definitely applies to the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s. Those decades just ooze style, and I think they will always be popular.
The car is perhaps not what you expect a woman to be driving. How do the guys take it?
If I’m out with a guy and people stop to chat about the car they generally ignore me, even when I’m driving it! They’re definitely taken aback a bit when they find out it’s actually mine, but a bit impressed at the same time, I think. Girls with American tanks are a bit of a novelty.
Any plans to modify the car at all? Or will you just drive it?
I like that it looks a bit rough, and I want to keep the original Mel’s Diner logo on the trunk lid, as it used to be their catering vehicle. It’s important to keep history like that intact. I might change the colour eventually though. Hmm¦ And maybe lower it a bit, and fix the giant hole in the seat that I fall into when I’m driving.
If you could have any car, what would it be?
A ’59/’60 Buick Flxible, or Plymouth ’Cuda
If people want to find out a bit more about Rita Sue, what’s the best way for them to do it?
Check out the website [www.ritasue.co.nz] and watch out for the stalls over summer at hot rod shows near you! I’m also starting a pinup/retro/glamour photoshoot package business so ladies can book in to get a professional makeover and then get photos taken on location with any number of hot rods, or in a studio with our large variety of props and costumes, which we can take to the hot rod shows too. It’s going to be lots of fun!
Thanks for your time Rachael, and all the best for the car and the business.
This article is from NZV8 issue 50. Click here to check it out.