Monday, 9 December 2019

Wellington mystery Special survives - only just

When Jud Chapman saw a car he didn't recognize at the local wrecker's yard in Horopito, New Zealand, he took some photographs of it and posted the picture online. it didn't take me long to recognize the car as the mysterious 'Wellington Special' described in Maximum Mini 3 and also here with a picture of Graeme Farr. Graeme was quite sure the car had been scrapped after having photographed it in the 1990s, but apparently it survives - only just!

And that was not all to the story. Another New Zealand enthusiast, Bob McBurney, saw the pictures, too, and also recognized the car as he'd even been a former owner. He added: "It's an Eclipse based on an Austin 1300 floor pan supposedly to look similar to a Lotus Esprit. I was told it came from Britain as a kit with 1100 or 1300 floor pan and running gear, but I'm not sure. It was in primer when I got it and had pop up headlights using a wiper motor. I ran my 1430 mini motor in it for a bit of fun. Guys didn't know what just passed them! I owned it over 30 years ago but it had rust in the floor pan so I moved it on. It definitely turned heads, pity the floor pan was rotten. Amazing it's still around, I totally forgot about it. I would have liked to know who built it."

Graeme Farr, who thought it had been scrapped decades ago added: "Wow, who would have thought! I think it had a council towaway sticker on it when I saw it. I thought it had just been abandoned there as it was the end of a dead end street. Good to see its still around. A friend (has a Mk1 Cooper S) sometimes looks after a hotel owned by the same owners at the Horopito wreckers and I will ask him where it came from."

So there we go again... Who knows more about the car that's now identified as the Eclipse? And last but not least - will somebody see the potential of it and save it from the scrappers after all?!

Wellington mystery Special is found at a wrecker's yard in Horopito, New Zealand
Picture Jud Chapman

This is the same car decades ago, and believed to have been scrapped since this picture was taken
Picture Graeme Farr / Jeroen Booij archive

It has much deteriorated since but at least survives. We now also know it was named Eclipse
Picture Jud Chapman

Austin 1100 base is visible in original Blaze Orange. Somebody save this vehicle!
Picture Jud Chapman

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