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Black beauty... It took Michael Hood a year after his father died to get his father's 1961 Plymouth Belvedere running.PHOTO: ASHLEIGH MARTIN

After Michael Hood’s father ordered a new black Plymouth Belvedere in 1961, he was surprised when a yellow one showed up.

Mr Hood said back then people just had to take what they got because few cars were imported.

“So two years after he got it, he repainted it black,” Mr Hood said.

The Plymouth cost was a lot of money in those days, Mr Hood said.

His father always had nice American cars and the Plymouth was the last car he bought before he died in 2005.

“It took me a year after Dad died to get it running. All the upholstery got redone, all the chroming got redone and I panel-beated and painted it and gave it new exhaust systems and the stereo and all that stuff – it takes time all right.”

He also put new wheels on it as the old ones were “wee skinny babies”.

The cars were “very hard to get parts for, so you’ve basically got to make what you want”.

As an export model, it was right-hand drive.

It had a 5.2-litre V8 engine and a three-stage transmission, Mr Hood said.

The car got plenty of use as he and his wife Grace attended rallies and car shows around New Zealand.

Mr Hood said they had taken it to the Kaikoura Hop several times, to Timaru for a show at Caroline Bay as well as shows closer to home in places such as Balfour and Mataura.

“We’ve probably got about 10 car shows we go to a year.”

Car shows were great fun as you got to meet people with the same interest.

“They’re all good people.”

The car was “absolutely beautiful to drive” and it was great taking it around New Zealand as old cars drew a lot of attention.

“When you stop you get a few people come round and have a look and that sort of stuff and that’s always a good thing.”

His wife and other family members also got to drive it and they took the car out on Sunday to celebrate Mother’s Day.

“It doesn’t do them any good sitting around – they have to be used.”