1937 Ford Coupe

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Vehicle: 1937 Ford Coupe

Engine: 1971 Big Block Chev 408

Transmission: Turbo 400

Colour: Royal Violet

Name: Chris Barnes

From: Riverton

When and why did acquire it? In 1977, because that’s what I always wanted… It has my ultimate body shape, the last of the 30s… anything of that era and the styling doesn’t even have to be American. It was a rusty heap of nothing in a million pieces with a heap of pieces thrown in. I first picked up a hot rod magazine when I was 10; 50 years later I am worse

What is the vehicle’s history? I bought it off a guy in Invercargill who I had on-sold the body shell of a 1948 Ford Convertible 30 years ago which had been used in the stage production of Grease in Invercargill. It was the only one around at the time

Have you altered it in any way? Completely, it has been extensively modified. It is one of the most modified vehicles which has been put through the system, the guy who put it through said. It is a street car as well as a drag car, but it can still drive to Queenstown if you want to. I have built it very much for me, my way. It is now outside the parameter of a hot rod. It’s not Chris’ hot rod… it’s a Barnes’ special. It was finished in 2003, and has been on the road 15 years. Graham Berry Race Cars, in Wellington, gave me the fundamentals – he put together the chassis to suit what I wanted. It’s never really finished in my opinion. I got the colour as close to an old Ford colour as possible

What’s it like to drive? Noisy inside and not comfortable. My first priority is to run it straight [for drag racing]. I’m not interested in corners because you have to slow down. My principal interest is drag racing, and land-speed racing, as well as hot rodding… I’m not so much a show boy, but a go-boy. It gets regularly drag-raced, and I like to use it weekly, from point A to B… it’s not a pretty thing in a museum

Where’s your favourite stretch of track/road? Bonneville Salt Flats, United States

Top speed? It’s not so much what its top speed is, it’s how quick I can get there

Best driving experience? Driving from New York to San Francisco more than two years ago

Worst driving experience? The continous lack of aptitude I find in tourists’ ability around the Queenstown Lakes area

What other vehicles of note have you owned? 1955 Plymouth station wagon, HQ wagons, 1968 Z28 Camaro, 1957 Ford F100, the Kiwi Coupe – a 1934 steel-bodied Plymouth built as a land speed car

Best music to drive to? At the moment my favourite is Hawkwind Silver Machine

Describe your driving style: I like to go very fast in a safe manner

If you could go for a drive in any vehicle it would be a… I own them

What was the first vehicle you ever bought? Mark 1 Ford Cortina

Do you belong to any clubs? Riviera Touring Cars, Conrodders Rod and Custom Car Club in Dunedin, Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) – Bonneville Nationals in America

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