Exotic cars to roar into life at Devonport Motor Show
At the end of a gravel road in a serene bush setting in Northern Tasmania, Dean Causley works on restoring exotic and classic vehicles for car enthusiasts from around the globe to world standards. “It’s more of an artwork than a motor vehicle – some people put paint on canvas and we put paint on metal ’’, Dean said, as he looks over a Jaguar Series 2 E-Type. Dean will showcase cars he has restored at the Devonport Motor Show on March 22 along the Devonport foreshore. These include a:
- 1961 Series 1 E-Type Flat Floor Jaguar, which came to him in a thousand pieces.
- 1959 Aston Martin DB2, which arrived as a tired car from the UK, with a lot of rust.
- Aston Martin Zagato, a re-creation, hand-built and one of only five in Australia.
- 1958 Cadillac Coupe Deville, what he regards as the “family car’’
- Ultra White XY GT Falcon
- 1968 HK Panel Van, bought from the original owner who was in his 80s and about to send it to the crushers. Dean bought it just hours before it was crushed for just $100.
His love for exotic cars began at an early age. “In Grade 6 I was doing a school project and I discovered an old early FX Holden and I did a project on that. I then decided from there that was the car I wanted,’’ he said. “At the age of 13, I bought my first car, which was my old FX Holden. I had that until last year. I had that for 29 years”. One of his employers later got him into exotics and, eventually, he began Classic Auto Metal in 2000, which is now believed to be the largest car restorer in Tasmania. He is currently working on a variety of cars, including a 1963 250 GT Ferrari Lusso – one of four of its type in Australia.
“It’s stunning to work on a car of that caliber. Ferrari’s seem to be setting a new benchmark at auctions around the world at the moment”. A lot of work goes into restoring the vehicles from the detailed motor trimming, to the bodyworks using the dying art of an English Wheel which makes curved panels in both directions that are ideal for curvaceous exotic cars, through to premium spray paint works in a car’s original colour. “A lot of people say: `how do you work on one car for so long’ and I have to admit it usually takes two years and I don’t know where that time goes”.
The organising and searching for hard to find parts often falls to his wife, Rebecca. The cars either arrive as a shell, completely tired and rusted or in thousands of pieces. Dean will then completely restore the vehicle. “We do everything from totally stripping the body shell to final assembling, so they just come in, turn the key and drive out again”, he said. “You do get attached to them. We always say it’s like one of the children leaving”. The Aston Martin and Jaguar fit perfectly with the feature car for this year’s Devonport Motor Show – the British Sports Car.
“I’ve always liked the Devonport Motor Show. That’s always one of the big ones I head for in Tasmania. It’s just a great family show – it has something for everyone. So the wife and the kids can come along. Devonport seems to tick a lot of boxes with that – there’s a lot to do, there’s lots of entertainment and the kids can amuse themselves’’. He said many car shows failed to add entertainment value to their events. The other big car show he attends annually is Motorclassica in October in the Melbourne Exhibition Building. “You have to have an exotic car and you have to be invited, but if you get a placing in that – which is where we want to take the Lusso to – then you have an opportunity to take it around the rest of the world. You can be accepted to Pebble Beach, which is like the ultimate in car shows, and Goodwood in the UK”. It’s at events like these where the quality of Dean’s work, along with a tight team, including Jon Bellinger, Adam Schmidtke and Damien Wing in the workshop, and nearby contractors, is evident. “The team and contractors I rely on are all based here in Northern Tasmania and are of world-class standard. When we go to Motorclassica they all say: ‘what, it was all done in Tasmania?’ They are shocked by what we’re able to produce. A car will never leave the workshop until it’s finished. It’s a group effort”.
Watch the video interview To see cars of this quality – often only seen at museums and big car shows – visit the Devonport Motor Show on Sunday, March 22 on the Devonport foreshore. Entry is $10 per adult. Children free. Categories to be judged at the show are All Vehicles – Top Ten Award, Veteran and Vintage, Early Classic, Late Classic, Early Modern, Late Modern, Ladies, Hot Rods, Utes, Motor Bikes pre 1971, Motor Bikes post-1970, Best British Sports Car and People’s Choice. #2015DevonportMotorShow#classiccarrestorations