Our family Chevron – Lessons from the garage

In my early teens after hard work and a bunch of savings, dad came home with the news that we were expecting. He sat us down at the table and showed us the scans (well a brochure) for our our soon to be new sibling.

9 months-ish (and 100hours work) later a bright red two seater open top sports-car was born. Around 900kgs, Testa Rossa red and bursting with energy.

The dream began with the want to build a car and race it. Figuring we could all learn in the process and backing his self taught skills, Dad (Chris) researched a kit that would get us around homologation issues and to the track quickest. NZ laws at the time meant a kit wouldn’t have to go through nearly half the testing process. It also meant we had a club of enthusiasts to latch onto for advice.

The Chevron was chosen as a cheap/affordable option and the bond began. Skills learnt from another passion Control Line Model Aeroplanes came in handy when shaping and building the car to what it is today. Together with an eye from Carpenter Grandfather and dads wiring skills from work, we had most bases covered.

Spending hours learning skills with dad is something that Jon and I cherished.

It wasn’t just the shed stuff, but life basics: Tidy space, tidy work. Everything has its place. Over-spec, make it stronger that it needs to be. If you borrow something, give it back cleaner and sharper that you got it.

Our Chevron was born in 1992.  Built with the standard Vauxhall Viva suspension setup and powered by a trusty Toyota 1600 4age. The package proved almost bulletproof for the first few years and was driven for at least 6 hours straight over the new years holidays with the entire family taking turns. Street legal, when the tank got empty, we’d just drive out to the local gas station. We drove it hard, a LOT! More than once the gearbox found 1st when aiming for 3rd, sending the little engine’s revs skyrocketing. but it just kept going!

Since then, the car has had more makeovers and transplants than a Hollywood movie star. The current setup is independent front and rear suspension designed by Chris, through hours of reading books, and the latest heart is a Toyota 3sgte pumping out 340RWHP. Enough to wheelspin in the first three gears.

At 78 years young, dad’s desire to race is still much very alive BUT a slight mishap 4 months ago at Manfeild has left the car missing a limb and a 2” twist in the chassis.

So, it’s on to makeover a, b, c or is it f, with the front 2/3’s cut off and being remade.

4 thoughts on “Our family Chevron – Lessons from the garage

  1. Very cool summary and no mention of the re-arrangers..for the  now take ?? 3 version. Hopefully more fun..

  2. Sorry to hear about the mishap. I loved this story, Nick. I can only imagine how much fun you all had building and driving that rascal.

    1. Mishaps happen Dan. We’ve been pretty lucky given the amount of racing the car has done over the years. This one was aquaplaning so not really much you can do but hold on.

      I thought you might appreciate the wood rimmed steering wheel.
      It had cutouts so we could decide if we hid any gauges behind it. We decided to go with the instrument set right out of the Toyota, and shift it left, closer to the passenger than the driver.

      It used to make us all laugh when passengers watching the speedometer would start “fake” breaking with their right leg, as corners approached rapidly.

      1. Haha – I can almost imagine that. I had a Triumph Spitfire for 30 years, and passengers almost always thought I was taking a turn to fast.

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