Few car guys are so enthusiastic about their machines that they set up a nationwide registry. Twenty-five-year-old Wellingtonian Carl Bullivant isn’t your average fan, however.
I was recently asked to visit Carl at his home in Upper Hutt. He is seriously into Mopars, as you would expect of the man behind the New Zealand Mopar Registry. So one Sunday afternoon I set off to meet the man behind it all. First impressions often tell you a lot about a person, and my first impression of Carl is that yes, he’s about as die-hard into Mopars as any living being. Carl met me at the door; he’s a young guy and was wearing black surf shorts, black sport shoes and a very interesting black blazer. It had Mopar and AC/DC badges and emblems sewn on the sleeves, collar and front. We went in for a coffee ” served in Mopar mugs of course, which I was half expecting ” and I’m sure if I snuck around his house for a peek I would have found Mopar pillowcases on his bed and all sorts.
“Mopar or no car” is a motto Carl believes in. He has been a Mopar fan since he was 12-odd years old and saw his first one on a TV movie while sick and being cared for at home. Carl had no idea what he was looking at but he knew then and there that it was cool and he wanted one. The movie that stirred this emotion was Vanishing Point.
A few years later Carl purchased his first Mopar, a matching numbers 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T, which went through a three-and-a-half year ground-up rebuild. His next Mopar was a 1973 Plymouth ’Cuda, which Carl later placed (well, sold) in the care of his father. The money from that sale helped Carl fund his current project, a 1971 triple black Plymouth ’Cuda with a 8849cc (540ci) aluminium EFI Hemi. Given that they’re not the most common cars in New Zealand, Carl spent a lot of time on net researching and hunting down parts.
Carl noticed the attention Mopars generate, questions at gas stations that he was only to happy to talk about; hell, who wouldn’t talk about their favourite subject and spread the enthusiasm? One of the first things people said was, “nice car mate!” That was often followed by the question he could never answer : “How many of those are in NZ?” This got Carl thinking, and sowed the seeds for him to found the New Zealand Mopar Registry.
He began with a cheap DIY website and it grew from there. He’s now spent a lot of money to get a professional website designed and built, then an internet forum added.
The registry is just over 18 months old and boasts more than 200 registered Mopars, which is quite an achievement given that this is all Carl’s work, and other than tech and web advice, he has done it all himself in his own time, for free. He’s not out to make a name for himself, just provide a useful tool and environment for everyone to share.
So now there’s a place for all Mopar owners to cyber-meet and share their interests, their cars, their wish list of parts, and to help each other out. People can register on the site with as much or as little information as they feel safe putting out on the web. It’s open to owners of anything Mopar, be it USA or Australian in origin, and includes classics, modern, muscle cars, and basically anything bearing the Mopar badge.
There are only three requirements for anyone wanting to register their car:
- The vehicle must be in New Zealand.
- The vehicle must be from one of the following Mopar divisions: Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth, Desoto, Jeep, AMC.
- The vehicle must be registered to the site by its registered owner.
Once you have registered on the site Carl can edit the pages whenever you request, add or delete photos, quarter-mile times, new modifications, parts wanted or available to others, and details of the engine and trans, and so on.
Carl blocks the licence plates from view to keep people’s details safe from prying eyes. You can upload unlimited images of your car. It’s a great way of displaying your vehicle to people you can’t show your physical photos to.
As well as registry details of vehicles there is also a wealth of other information on most if not all vehicles, including build numbers and general specifications. It’s a reference database as much as it is a registry. If the information is not there, the forum helps you ask questions on parts, problems, or build and part numbers, to name a few.
Due to the large number of images and submissions on the site it may take a while for some pages to load, depending on your connection and internet speed and host. On average it only takes two to five seconds for a page to fully load, which is a small price to pay to view all the eye candy on the registry. The site is best viewed ” and fastest ” using Mozilla’s free Firefox browser.
For any registry or forum like this to succeed it needs the support of local Mopar owners to get behind it, join up and support it.
There is no cost to anyone other than Carl, and it helps the Mopar community grow and prosper. The discussion board is a great place to chew the Mopar fat, seek advice or offer assistance to anyone, whether they are looking for parts, suggestions or technical advice. The forum was created to enjoy the cars and the hobby, and for like-minded individuals to share. The registry is about the cars, and the forum is about the owners.
There are members from right across the world, and the topics covered are typical of any internet forum ” car, rugby, jokes ” and egos are left at the door.
One of the interesting things for Carl is receiving emails from people just browsing, who spot a car they used to own. They chip in with interesting tidbits of information, and a once-lost history is often uncovered for the benefit of the new owners.
To my knowledge this registry is the first of its kind in New Zealand, but hopefully more will follow.
Via the registry and forum Carl also offers his services in sourcing and importing parts from around the globe, not just for Mopars but also general items. He has a great source of quality parts at good prices, and has regular shipments heading down to New Zealand. With his wide range of contacts he can either obtain what you need or put you onto suppliers, and consolidating shipments offers the advantage of a lower overall freight cost.
While I was there I took a quick peek at Carl’s toys and we talked hobbies. His car collection includes a Ford T3 TS50 Falcon, one of only seven manuals in New Zealand. It is currently for sale to help fund an incoming American Mopar (it’s Mopars from here on in, says Carl). There’s also a 1970 Challenger R/T that has been here since 1971, along with his 1971 Hemi ’Cuda. The other car is his stealth Jeep Cherokee, which has some unusual extras. One of these is a custom bolt-on steel game chair that Carl designed, and all the other attachments needed for land-based shark fishing. Yes, Carl is an unusual character, there’s no doubt about that. He and his mates send big tuna baits out using the largest boat rod and reel available. The baits are carried off shore by 1.8-metre weather balloons. The guys then sit back, have a quiet one, buckle themselves into the chair and see what’s biting. He’s landed a few sharks but classes them as nothing really big yet (“yet” being the operative word). Most of his fishing is done around the south Wairarapa coast near the little fishing village of Ngawi, which funnily enough has a Hemi Street. Carl’s a bit cagey about his other fishing locations…
Carl gave up working a full-time ‘real job’ as a storeman about two-and-a-half years ago when he decided to put his money where his mouth is and get serious with the Mopars. He enjoys the work, making his own hours and interacting with people who share a common interest and passion. What with the time difference to the USA he is well versed at playing the clock, and one of the things he’s looking forward to is his first trip to America. He’s intending to do a bit of business along the way, but he also intends to take in some cruising in a classic Mopar and fulfil that dream of driving down Route 66.
As with any project or work in the making there are people to thank, and without them Carl wouldn’t have got the registry to the well-laid-out and slick worldwide web tool that it is. Those people include Cain at Spiral Web Designs, with help from Audrey for building the website. Then there was help and support from Dave and Deb, Gary and family, Mark, Paul, Andrew, John, Graeme, Dunk, Peter, Ian, Gaza, Michael, Troy, Con, Shovel and Spanky, to name a few, and let’s not forget the good old trusty parents and family.
The addresses you need to type into your web browser and save to your favourites are:
Carl also has his own personal website just for his toys: www.nz440rt.com