About my 1924 Star 12/25 Tourer by Greg Elder.

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This project started a long time ago while I was a schoolboy in 1966. I remember the advertisement “For Sale Vintage Car suitable for hot rodding or restoration, price 100 pounds”.

We purchased the car which was in a very bad state as it had been parked under an oak tree in Mataura for many years. 

We braced up the body to keep it in shape and for patterns before removing it from the chassis as it was completely rotten, then built a completely new body frame out of Southland beech timber.

My father and I stripped the 1945 cc four cylinder side valve engine and rebored it, fitting new Triumph pistons and rings along with Chevrolet valves. The flywheel ring gear teeth had to be all welded up with an electric welder and I then shaped up every tooth with a file!

The German Silver Radiator had many leaks, and dad spent many, many hours  making up and soldering tubes which he rolled out of flat shim brass then fitted them inside each leaking tube and very carefully soldering in the ends . This was all done with the old kerosene pump up Primus and an old heavy wooden handled soldering bolt. 

The Star was put away in the corner of a shed down the farm for 30 years or so while we raised a family and tried to make a living from farming.

Fast forward to 2012 - - I removed the body and repainted the chassis and axles again.  I was worried that the motor and the 3 speed gearbox may have rusted up inside after sitting idle for 45 years. Luckily we must have oiled it up rather well back then as the internals were all still nice and shiny, so I just overfilled the engine with oil and tipped it upside down before installing in the chassis.

The new front guards that had been made for it were completely wrong even after having the original ones to copy, so we made new ones in house along with reshaping a lot of the other metal work.

With only rear brakes, they were relined and the huge heavy drums lathed out. It has twin internal shoes per side (one for hand brake) that have an S cam like modern trucks which works very well. 

The door handles are made of German silver so I was able to sand and polish them to like new.

The Bosch magneto was rebuilt 40 years ago and had been kept in the hot water heater cupboard so I was very pleased after timing it and adding fuel and water that it fired up with the second pull of the cranking handle, then sat idling sweetly for the first time in approximately 60 years.

So off to town for a ridiculous body cert and then onto VTNZ to have it checked etc. Cost $895 including $316 body cert and 12 months registration. I was very lucky to find that I had a copy of an original registration paper from back in 1942.

I know of one other similar car in NZ. It is in original condition and a year later being a 1925 model.  There are a couple in Australia with locally made bodies and one in England restored and several round the world according to the register in various stages of restoration and parts.

While this has all been going on over the last couple of years I have managed to build up a two seater Roadster (1923) from parts that I had accumulated over many years. So hopefully in a year or so I will have two restored rare Stars.  (I also have a third one but that’s another story)  It is reputed to be the car that set a speed record between Auckland and Wellington plus winning Reliability trails in Scotland and Australia before coming to New Zealand.

Happy motoring 

Greg Elder