G-Rover & Son’s story began with finding ‘Lucy’ – a 1976 Series 3 in a front garden of a house in Wellington’s Island Bay.
Lucy had already been on lots of adventures with its current family, and with sitting idle for 8 years she was ready to get back on the road with her new owner - Nick.
Nick’s experience with Land Rovers was pretty much zero apart from his school friend’s dad owning a Land Rover restoration business back in Yorkshire.
Lucy’s new home was about 200 metres away (from where she was found) in a 1960’s single garage on a steep Wellington Road – not a lovely spacious shed with room to open both doors that Nick often dreamed about. Water coming in from the back wall and a door too low for the Lucy to use with a top on… fun times were ahead.
None the less, Nick managed to take Lucy apart until she was just a chassis and a number of different (but important) bits and pieces. All nicely labelled, of course.
With limited knowledge of cars and armed with You Tube videos Nick managed to bring Lucy back to life, bit by bit. This was an 18-month project full of fear, learning, confusion, frustration and ultimately pride.
Starting Lucy up for the first time and driving her on the steep road was a special day – thank goodness the brakes worked! Although the first test was uphill.
Top down in summer Lucy was great fun around the southern suburbs of Wellington with the kids, but there was no getting her dirty.
Along the way Nick met some great fellow Land Rover enthusiasts who were a tremendous help and inspired him to start G-Rover & Son. Having gone through the full restoration process and helping others, the price and availability of quality parts were a bit slim on the ground.
With a family move to Wanaka, it was time to take the plunge and start up G-Rover with his young son, a joint venture not born out of profit but out of being part of a special Land Rover family.
Even just the drive to Wanaka was full of adventure, with Lucy loaded up to the brim she made it safely off the ferry but the drive to Greymouth (at this stage SH1 via Kaikoura was closed) almost killed her – too much weight, too far and too hot for poor Lucy. Not wanting to brave the West Coast and the Haast Pass she travelled the rest of the way by trailer a week later – once the rain had stopped.
Lucy settled very nicely into the Central Otago landscape, with dry weather there was no chance of any rust. She soon became a sister to Lara, a flatbed Series 3 from a field in Ranfurly. Lara is the next project, hopefully with Nick’s son being old enough to be an assistant this time.
Lucy has made a number of friends in the South Island…. but is yet to get her tyres dirty! Maybe one day.