Daily driver? Mad, maybe, but this beast is used every day!
Back in issue five of NZV8, I said we’d follow what it takes to run the Yank tank on a day-to-day basis. The ’66 Pontiac Lemans is driven every day to work and back, and on some days I’ll visit some clients or go on a shoot for a feature car. This can mean upwards of three hours driving on some days during the week — in that lovely Auckland traffic!
First off I got the NZV8 designer, Cam Leggett, to put his ideas forward on what direction we should take the Pontiac. With a two-tone paint job and a set of Bonspeed alloy wheels (XS Performance 09 579 8050) in his plan, I must say I really liked what he came up with, and those plans have already kicked in with the vinyl roof coming off. Turned out the result of 40¯years of being covered wasn’t as bad as I thought, with only minor rust. But that’s another story.
Back to the beginning. One of the most important things one should do when purchasing a vehicle is to get the tin insured. Once I had eyed up the Lemans my first port of call was the insurance company. For me, being well over 25 and having a clean record, my normal insurance company — AMI — came through with the goods. In fact I was very surprised when it offered me classic car insurance for weekend only use. I always thought this was the reserve of specialised insurance companies. But when I said I’d be using the car on a daily basis I went with the full cover. As when insuring any vehicle, do the obvious and shop around. I recently changed all my cars over to AMI when it offered me a deal that was half what I was paying at another company.
If your ride is American iron, or something special from over the ditch, then your best bet is to get it valued. I think you’ll find most insurance companies would prefer this. I went and saw the lads at Wall Motors, in Grey Lynn (09 378 1283). If the name is familiar to you then you’ll realise the cover car on issue six of NZV8 is owed by one Craig Wall. Not to mention the fact the Mustang, LOW ET, on the cover of issue three is owed by Steve Giles — also of Wall Motors. Then there is Gary Smith, who also works there. Now his ride you’ll see in a future issue. Make that the next issue.
Needless to say, it is up to the Wall Motors standard. Anyway, they will put a value on your car and give you a certificate to show your insurance company. Craig told me it’s also wise to get your car revalued each year. The price of many Yankee cars is on the way up big time. And so are a number of the Aussie variety, for that matter.
My premiums and excess were kept even lower by the installation of a New Zealand certified alarm. For this job I went with a company I have used since the ’80s, Rapid Radio (09 303 1818). The reason for this is I know they have experience in dealing with old machines built State-side. It can take a special touch when dealing with wiring that has been in use for nearly 40¯years. Not to mention the care they take when dealing with your interior. Also, if you are after something customised, from GPS tracking to auto start from your remote, Rapid Radio can sort you something out.
What I like with the alarm Rapid Radio installed in the Pontiac is that I now have central locking. It saves a lot of problems with the inexperienced, who simply get out of the car and walk away without locking it! Or worse, the ones who make an attempt at locking your car but fail to close the door hard enough. Then proceed to push it shut with their bum! So now I’ve dragged the Pontiac up with the play, and all my passenger has to do is close the door. But why is it that people think they have to slam the door of an American car? That’s another story too.
Support from the team at Rapid Radio is also second to none. If you have any questions or have a problem they are more than willing to help. I found this first hand when I had trouble with an alarm in another car. The remote stopped working (my fault) and a quick call (after hours and all) and I was in my car.
Next month we’ll take a visit to Wayne Grimmer from Western Auto Electrical (issue 2), and to Andy Culpin from Race FX (issue 7). But that’s after Rob Pennman (issue 4) does his stuff to get the beast up and running as a daily driver.
Thanks To: XS Performance (09 579 5080)
Western Auto Electrical (09 836 0819)
Race FX (09 838 3250)
KYB (0800 STOCKS)
Race Brakes (0800 BRAKES)
Magwarehouse Kelston (09 818 9481)
Wall Motors (09 378 1283)
STA Parts (09 256 1120)
Segedins Dominion Rd (09 638 6439)
Rob Pennman Motorsport (09 828 2468)
Penman Digital Logistics (09 571 3375)
Photos: Quinn Hamill Illustration: Cameron Leggett