June 21st, 2011 by Tim Grimley
As a small boy, my weekends frequently had large swathes of play time cut out of them by the need to visit relatives in Coventry. For the uninitiated, Coventry is an industrial town in the Midlands of England which, thanks to a rapid and highly effective urban clearing programme implemented by the Luftwaffe in the early 1940s, isn’t very pretty. For a six year old, it’s right up there with visiting the dentist.
But despite eating into my precious school-free weekends, the journey did have two highlights; first, the Brown’s Lane Jaguar plant – locally known as simply “The Jag” – where I would gawp at the magnificent cars on display and daydream of the wonderment that went on inside the huge factories. Secondly – usually on the way home due to the strange, apparently genetic condition that prevents both me and my dad from deciding what is the quickest route for any particular journey – the Massey Ferguson factory at Banner Lane.
In its day, Banner Lane was the largest tractor factory in the world and the row upon row of bright red Masseys outside used to hypnotise me. Once home, I’d dig out the large cardboard box of model cars from under my bed and drive around the floor ploughing imaginary furrows in the carpet with the closest thing I had to a tractor. If memory serves me right it was a Volvo 240 station wagon with the boot lid missing.
Since then things have moved on – both Brown’s Lane and Banner Lane have ceased production and I have got bigger, uglier and fallen out of love with agricultural vehicles.
Moving farming - but not moving me
With their big tyres and chunky looks, tractors naturally appealed to me as a boy, but as a man whose interaction with them is now limited to the time I’m stuck behind one on a country road, cursing its sloth like top speed and the fact that it’s throwing semi–decomposed cow faeces onto my bonnet, the magic has gone.
Well, maybe not quite. Thanks to the current Mrs Grimley’s insistence that North Shore City presents limited opportunities for patting cows, we spent last weekend at Fieldays in Hamilton. And the only way I was able to get a break from leaning into various pens of flatulent livestock was to feign a strong desire to poke around the mechanical stuff.
And in many ways my interest was genuine – the engineering is absolutely fascinating and the respect I have for the work tractors do is unparalleled. Farming accounts for around 7% of employment in the country, 4.5% of the GDP – over 3 times that with associated industry taken into consideration – and without the humble tractor, this would not be possible. It was even a Massey that took Sir Edmund Hillary to the Pole. Read the rest of this entry »
June 10th, 2011 by Car and SUV
Ford NZ is going big at this year’s Fieldays show with the much-anticipated New Zealand debut of the new Ranger Wildtrak ute.
Designed and developed in Australia the Wildtrak sits on 18-inch wheels and comes with a roof rack and sports hoop to beef up its profile. There is also special badging and graphics to set it apart from lesser models. Inside, there are leather/cloth sports seats and 23 different storage spaces including a glovebox which can fit a laptop computer and a deep centre bin which can keep six cans of drink cool.
Apparently, the Wildtrak can wade through water up to 31.5-inches deep and has just over nine inches of ground clearance. It also has a towing capability of up to 3350kg.
In terms of powerplants the Wildtrak has an option of two engines. A new 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel that delivers peak torque output of 375 Nm and power output of 110kW, or a new 3.2-litre 5-cylinder diesel that produces a powerful 470 Nm of torque and is power rated at 147kW. The Wildtrak is fitted with an 80-litre fuel tank so expect one of the longest ranges in the segment. Read the rest of this entry »
June 22nd, 2010 by Car and SUV
Last week we announced the return of the Isuzu ute to NZ, now it’s already clocking up sales. On show to Kiwis for the first time at Fieldays last week, the tough Isuzu D-Max range began selling right from the site at Mystery Creek.
“We were very surprised with the recognition of D-Max,” commented Greg MacDonald, General Manager. “People came in to say they’d heard Isuzu was returning and they had much greater awareness of its features and benefits than we expected. Better still, we sold a dozen vehicles during the four days ¦ that really caught us by surprise”
“We will begin delivering those pickups this week,” said Mr MacDonald.
Pricing has been confirmed for the D-Max range and Isuzu is receiving interest from Kiwi farmers, tradespeople and weekend warriors.
See below for pricing, more photos, dealers and some specifications of the Isuzu D-Max ute range. Read the rest of this entry »
June 11th, 2010 by Car and SUV
The Isuzu pickup is officially back in New Zealand and the new-look workhorse is on sale for Kiwi farmers, tradespeople and weekend warriors.
The new line-up is known as the D-Max range. Included are four double-cab models available nationwide, one 2WD manual and three 4WD in manual and auto transmission. The D-Max is apparently all about toughness and is set to bulid a reputation on strength, reliability and build quality, along with fuel efficiency.
The Isuzu pickup range will be at Fieldays (site G116) where Kiwis can enter a draw to win a Honda TRX680 ATV and prize packs of Swazi Clothing. Isuzu pickups will shortly be at dealerships from Whangarei to Invercargill. Current dealers are listed below.
The importing company and the entire nationwide dealer network are 100 percent New Zealand owned and operated.
“Isuzu is very much a Kiwi story,” explains Greg MacDonald, General Manager. “The brand is well-known here and has a strong reputation on farms and throughout rural districts, and in town among contractors and service trades. Plus of course the double-cab D-Max is a great truck for private owners with a taste for adventure. Like all of these owners, everyone involved with Isuzu pickups nationwide is proud to call New Zealand home.”
Isuzu Pickup Dealers
Auckland Central – Winger Commercial – Isuzu
Waikato – Waikato Motor Group
Tauranga - Tauranga Isuzu
Taupo - Wings and Wheels
Napier and Hastings – Bayswater Vehicles
Palmerston North – McVerry Crawford Motors
Nelson – Bowater Isuzu
Christchurch – Silvester Isuzu