2015 Building hot rods is creating automotive art for Mangere Bridge resident

2015 - A Champagne and tangerine coloured work of art and steel will be sure to mesmerise people later this month at the upcoming 2015 CRC Speedshow held on the 18 and 19 of July.

John Hinton of Mangere Bridge is showing his 1956 Ford F100 Pickup truck which may inspire others to take up the challenge as his creations are sought after by overseas buyers.

Hinton’s entry will be one of 40 hand selected entries of this country’s best hot rods at Teng Tools Grand National Rod & CustomShow, a mini-show-within-a-show at the CRC Speedshow, New Zealand’s largest automotive and motorsport event.

Hinton developed an interest in hot rods while still at school in Taranaki, and that early fascination has never left him.

“I spent all my paper route money on hot rod magazines, and built my first hot rod when I was 19,” he says.

He’s built a total of 16 cars from scratch now. Being a fitter and turner by trade, with good design sense, his talents have allowed him to have built some of the most advanced hot rods around, he says.

“Many have been sold overseas, and all have been held in high regard by both local and international enthusiasts.”

The 1956 Ford F100 that people will see at this years show has been crafted by Hinton with most components being handmade. In hot rod speak; it’s been chopped, channelled, sectioned and shortened.  

“This makes the overall build unique… there’s nothing like it anywhere else,” he adds.

Such features include: the round tube chassis, the massive amount of body restyling, the twin turbo Toyota V8 engine, custom interior with hand formed aluminium panels; everything is crafted to create a unique aspect, more than what the factory could have built.

Last year his pickup was displayed on the Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association (LVVTA) stand which is the Government’s authority arm for the certification of modified and low volume vehicles.

The hot rod has only been to two previous show events and has taken out top spots at both, John says.

Although he believes that hot rodding and building cars is not just for the younger ones and says: “although I’m now 67, I still have a strong desire to build more and better custom cars. I strongly believe the philosophy: if you think you can, you can. And yes, I can.”

“When your desire is so strong to achieve something, you seem to be able to cut a skill learning time to a fraction of what it would normally be.  Mainly it’s the ability to visualise a finished design and find ways to achieve that result - that has made my reputation,” he adds.

Building a modern hot rod requires the integration of many skills: metal shaping, welding, mechanical expertise, fabrication of components, paint preparation and application. 

“I now have an extensive skill set, which is apparent when people realise 90 per cent of the work on my projects, was done by myself. Of course there is a team of equally talented others who assist too. There is no single skill, the build is holistic and incorporates skills from many trades. The highest quality of the finish is what reputations are made of in hot rodding.”

In the USA, wealthy collectors pay in excess of a million dollars to have skilled teams, in specialised workshops, build unique expressions of cars from the past. 

Hinton says this is where his inspiration comes from. 

“I’ve taught myself many of these techniques.  Working with tubing and sheet metal, and preparing the surfaces for flawless painting. I also have the ability to visualise the whole finished concept in my head - even waking up at night, designing a chassis, or brackets or the seating arrangement. Every part of the build is first designed in my head.”

Ross Prevette, managing director of CRC Speedshow says: “It’s fantastic to have John along to the CRC Speedshow this year. His talent and car speaks for itself and we’re just ecstatic to have it on display this year and I’m sure our visitors will also love it. In fact, all show-goers can vote for their favourite vehicle in the people’s choice competition, so make sure you head along and support him.”

The ninth annual CRC Speedshow takes place at Auckland’s ASB Showgrounds over the weekend of 18 and 19 July 2015.  Tickets are available at the gate and from the show website www.speedshow.co.nz which has the latest news, competitions and show activities to entertain the whole family.