By: Zail Singh
Restoring classic beauties has long been a passion for Neville Captain-Hastibeer.
The 65-year-old Sydenham resident enjoys rebuilding cars in his retirement and bringing the old-school gems back to life.
Captain-Hastibeer started restoring cars in the early Seventies and has fond memories of his first car, a 1962 Ford Zephyr.
“Cars have always been in my blood. As far back as I can remember I have been restoring them on my own.”
In 2006 Captain-Hastibeer bought a 1964 Ford Fairlane 500 from a friend and started working on the car.
“We stripped the car down to bare metal and sorted out all the surface rust that could be seen.”
Captain-Hastibeer said he then resprayed the car Rangoon Red and made clips for the original beading to place it back on the car.
The interior was in good condition, although it didn’t have the original seats and tracking them down would have been very hard, so he decided to keep the seats.
The dashboard was sprayed white and the original cluster was placed back in the car. Captain-Hastibeer made the door pads and hood lining match the colour of the car’s interior and installed a sun visor at the back.
The engine was just resprayed and he kept the original 260 V8 with a three-speed manual gearbox.
The wheel caps were replaced with a set of deep dish mag wheels with red centres from a 1971 Fairlane.
The project took him six months, working on the car every day.
To keep busy, about two years ago, Captain-Hastibeer bought a 1969 Ford Fairmont in Umkomaas to restore.
“The beauty of this car was that there was hardly anything wrong with it. The body was in perfect condition with the odd bump or two, but it was great to work on,” he said.
“We stripped the car down and rebored the engine. We resprayed it in original cream and kept the interior its original burgundy, with the factory-fitted tape deck retained.”
He says the Fairmont engine, a straight six fully automatic, is the best part of this car, which was first registered on January 1, 1969, which could make it one of the first Fairmonts to come off the production line.
“I love driving these cars to events and shows. The excitement on the kids’ faces makes it all worthwhile.
“Every weekend my wife and I go for breakfast and people stare in amazement. I let the kids sit inside or take photos and enjoy themselves, because we were also kids once and used to do the same thing.”