Roadster build a labour of love

Putting it together. . . Gore Cobra Rodders Hot Rod Club secretary Duncan Cairncross is part way building a ketset Marlin Roadster. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Duncan Cairncross’ Marlin Roadster is almost ready for the road – for the first time.

Mr Cairncross, who lives in Gore, has been building the car for the past two years after it was given to him by his friend Phil in the United Kingdom.

The pair were flatmates in the 1980s and when his friend built a kitset Marlin Roadster, Mr Cairncross helped with the project.

“I fell in love with it,” he said.

“It’s a very pretty car and I’ve always wanted one of my own.”

Fast forward to 2018 and Mr Cairncross was in contact with his friend who was living in a narrowboat on the canals.

Mr Cairncross asked about the Marlin.

“He said it’d been off road a bit, so I asked if I could have it.”

It was a no, but his friend offered him a kitset Mark 2 with a “varied history”, instead.

The car was 27 years old but has never been on the road.

“The first owner bought it in 1995 and added the suspension and wheels and sold it again in 2003.

“Phil bought it for $300 in 2008,” Mr Cairncross said.

The car was shipped to New Zealand in 2018.

There were some differences between the two vehicles, he said.

“The Mark 1 is based on the Triumph Herald whereas the Mark 2 is based around the Morris Marina.

“They look the same but are completely different internally.”

This has made building the Marlin a challenge.

“It’s been nearly impossible to get parts for it.”

Mr Cairncross, who is secretary for the Cobra Rodders Hot Rod Club in Gore, has been “messing about” with cars since the 1970s.

In 2016, he completed a Tesla Roadster, which he built to run on electricity.

He thought about making the Marlin electric, but it was too small and would not get the range, he said.

It has a Ford Escort 1.3 litre engine and runs on petrol.