John’s blue Escort still a head turner

SHOW TIME: Pakuranga resident John Metford will be showcasing his 70s Ford Escort at this year’s Auckland Brit and Euro Classic Car Show. Times photo Laura Brookes.

It used to be one of the most common cars on the road. Now, John Metford’s blue Ford Escort is something of a rarity, attracting hand waves, whistles and all sorts of attention when it rolls around the East Auckland neighbourhood.

Car enthusiast Mr Metford said it’s the history and heritage behind the faithful Ford Escort that makes the model so appealing.

“They’re just everywhere. They’ve been raced, they’ve been rallied, your mum’s had one, your aunt’s had one. Everyone had one, and everyone can relate to them.”

It’s the second year Mr Metford has registered his car to take part in the Auckland Brit and Euro Classic Car Show, sponsored by the Howick Local Board as well as other commercial outlets.

Secretary Garry Robinson said organisers are well on their way to reaching their target of 600 vehicles at the free, non-competitive public event, with 527 cars currently registered as well as a few motorcycle entries.

Driven on 95 octane petrol with a 1300cc engine, Mr Metford said it’s his daily driver around town.

The Pakuranga resident can easily recall conversations with surprised landscape supply store employees when he tells them to simply “chuck the sand in the boot”.

“They look at me and say, “really?” I’m like, “sure bro! Chuck it in, she’s alright!” It’s all a bit of a laugh…I’m not that precious about it.

“From my point of view, there’s no pleasure in a car that’s locked up in the garage under a cover and gets brought out twice a year. The pleasure in a car is using it and driving it…so [mine] gets used in all sorts of weather.”

Made in 1968 and purchased in 1974 by his mother, the classic car has been well-looked after since Mr Metford inherited it in 1989.

He’s personally restored the car twice, once in 1993 and most recently in 2012.

It’s a job Mr Metford said can take up to a couple of years when he’s working, but he’s determined to put in the time to ensure every inch of the vehicle is proofed for future use.

“I’ll paint it in the carport, or fix it up myself…you do what you can. It’s just nicer to drive around in a clean car. You have more peace of mind if you know it’s going to get you back as well as there.

“People often tell me I’m lucky, but there’s really no luck in it. Luck is when you win the Lotto…not when you save up and you work hard, and end up with something nice as a result.”

The 2017 Brit and Euro Classic Car Show is on Sunday 5 March, 10am-3pm at Lloyd Elsmore Park. Entry and registrations are free. Those interested need to register their vehicles by 31 January at www.briteurocarshow.nz.

 By:Laura Brookes