2015 Panmure car painter’s heavenly hot rod at CRC Speedshow

After a lifetime’s work as a car painter, Kevin Salter of Panmure, still loves hot rodding but remembers the time when heaven appeared before him in the form of a 1935 Ford Coupe.

2015 - After a lifetime’s work as a car painter, Kevin Salter of Panmure, still loves hot rodding but remembers the time when heaven appeared before him in the form of a 1935 Ford Coupe.

Now at 65 years old, Kevin is still as proud as ever to be entering a car into New Zealand‘s largest motorsport event, the CRC Speedshow, in Auckland later this month on July 18th and 19th.

The show is expected to attract tens of thousands of fans, and the special celebration of all things ‘hot rod’ dubbed the Teng Tools Grand National Rod & Custom Show, offers a hand-picked selection of around 40 of New Zealand’s best hot rods and custom made motorbikes.

Kevin’s entry is his beloved car, a 1930 Ford Model A Coupe in a self-invented colour, Salty's Blue. It retains its nice lines even though he admits, “there’s been a heap of work done on it.”

“I was always in love with the 1930 Model A Coupe and wished to have own one. I finally purchased the model as a vintage car in 1981, and away I went on my dream. I’ve owned it for 34 years and never plan on selling it. We’ve won many top awards over the years and every award has been a proud moment,” says Kevin.

Kevin remembers tinkering around with hot rods since he was a young lad of 10 years. 

“My two older brothers, Ernie and Roy, used to build hot rods on the front lawn of our home in Panmure.”

“Peter Dore, a well-known Auckland rodder, used to ride past our place on his bike to see the old cars as well. Peter said that's how he got into hot rodding and built his famous 1932 Ford Coupe in his garage around the corner from where we lived in Panmure.”

“I watched and learnt from my brother all the tricks of the trade, and probably got in the way. But finally Roy gave me a 1935 Ford Coupe, and I was in heaven but still at school,” recalls Kevin.

Over many years Kevin has enjoyed building hot rods and stock cars with old coupe bodies, wishing he could wind back the clock and says if they had known what they know now, they wouldn’t have have wasted them for stock cars. 

Kevin is a second time entrant to CRC Speedshow and says: “We were in it two years ago and what a fantastic show it was”.

“Hot rodding is quite a personal sport. You have your own vision when building a rod, so it becomes a personal creation. Some like your style and some don't. I really enjoy the building side of a project and do almost everything myself except the upholstery,” explains Kevin.

He built a 1947 Ford Club Coupe for wife, Gail, for her 50th birthday a few years ago. The first time out at the Whangarei Hot Rod Show the car won Best Custom Hot Rod Coupe, Best Paint and came third for its upholstery work. 

Kevin has also owned a 1930 Model A Roadster Pickup, which has won top prizes for many years. He’s now building a 1939 Ford Coupe - another ‘Salty Creation’.

Australian muscle cars are another interest. The couple have owned a 1985 VK Brock Commodore GP3 for the last 23 years; and there is currently only two in the country.

Kevin says that over the years the people from the hot rodding circle have become family.

“We’ve met so many wonderful lifetime friends. Sometimes it’s more exciting catching up with our hot rod family than it is looking at the cars,” he says.

Ross Prevette, managing director of CRC Speedshow says: “We are stoked to have Kevin back at the CRC Speedshow this year. His cars are always incredible and a real credit to the time he spends on them, and we’re sure show visitors will love them. In fact, show visitors can vote for their favourite vehicle in the people’s choice competition so make sure you head there to 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.