Tikipunga High School Automotive Trades Academy, Whangarei. Tutor, Mr. Clint Mc Ewen.
The aim of the academy is to help students gain experience in the automotive and engineering field and earn them industry unit standards to help them move onto apprenticeships after leaving school. The academy had previously acquired cars to restore but building a car from scratch was a whole new level of learning for the students. Because the project ran over a 3 year period the student roll changed and it is hoped that the practical experience gained by the many students who participated in the academy have used this time spent on the build of the Tiki T to move on with their lives and into strong employment.
Whangarei Rod and Custom Car Club donated many parts and $10,000 to kick start the project. President, Barbara Massicks said that in 2017 club members where discussing that their club membership was ageing and as a club wondered how could they get younger people interested in Rodding and Classic cars. It appeared that the younger generation where moving more towards European and Japanese cars and the Club wanted to generate a interest in Hot Rodding and Classic Car ownership amongst younger people. Many of the youngsters think its quite expensive to get into Hot Rodding but a well built and engineered T Bucket is really a affordable entry level Hot Rod.
The car club approached Tikipunga High School and together presented the project to the school board and the school went with it in 2017. On Tuesday 22nd September 2020 the project Tiki T as it was named was unveiled at Tikipunga High School after almost 3 years in construction. The T Bucket is based on a 1923 Ford Model T, and powered by a Chrysler 318cid V8 with a 904 automatic transmission, late model diff., custom chassis, old school beam front axle with disc brakes, fiberglass body and radiator surround, along with mag wheels and custom paint job for the finishing touch.
This project could not have succeeded without the willingness of the car club to be involved, the foresight of the school and all of the students, tutors, volunteers, and different companies from all over New Zealand who donated time, goods, skills and finance to help complete the Tiki T.
Hopefully the T Bucket will go to auction later this year to recoup some of the costs in its construction.
Article written by Peter Lee, committee member of the American Classic Car Club Auckland.