Sunwheels

Chand Gets Inspired By Late Tourism Icon, Dick Smith, Restores Morris Minor

For Naveen Chand, his interest in classic cars developed from looking at the passion his former boss and the Fijian tourism industry icon, late Dick Smith had for classics. Mr
15 Oct 2016 13:12
Chand Gets Inspired By Late Tourism Icon, Dick Smith, Restores Morris Minor
Morris Minor

For Naveen Chand, his interest in classic cars developed from looking at the passion his former boss and the Fijian tourism industry icon, late Dick Smith had for classics.

Mr Chand had worked for the Musket Cove Resort owner for almost 19 years and therein he developed his own passion.

Mr Smith had owned a classic Bentley, Jaguar and an MG which was well-kept and well-maintained.

And therefore Mr Chand’s decision to buy a classic, restore it and then use it.

He bought his Morris Minor 1954 model in 2008. When he bought it, it was parked in one of the cane fields with all grass growing over it and cost him $2500 to buy it.

It took him three years to build the vehicle and restore it fully before he got it registered in 2011.

Mr Chand had to get different people with their specialities to work on the vehicle.

Todays the vehicle has a Datsun engine (sourced from Japanese second-hand dealer) with an automatic transmission, leather seats and mag wheels.

The restoration has come at a satisfactory cost to Mr Chand and he says he has spent so much over the years, that he has lost count.

“The vehicle is restored now but I need to keep up with the maintenance to ensure it runs smoothly,” he said.

Mr Chand is an engineer by profession and currently works for Denarau Villas Limited as a chief engineer. Before that he was the chief engineer for Musket Cove Resort for 19 years.

Q&A with Naveen Chand

What makes the car unique?

It is a Morris Minor 1954 model and it is the age and look of the car which makes it unique. I have painted the vehicle as well.

I have fully restored the vehicle having installed a Japanese second hand engine and gearbox, it is fully rugged with all-weather carpet inside and leather interiors. It is also tinted.

How have you been able to maintain the vehicle?

Maintaining is not easy and is indeed quite expansive. The parts for the vehicle are not available easily and therefore I need to bring it from New Zealand. I have also been able to source some parts from local parts shops who have assisted me.

Why the passion for classic cars?

My boss was late Dick Smith and he was my mentor. He has owned MG, Bentley, Jaguar and he had all this at Musket Cove. So my interest generated from his interest.

What/when do you mostly use this car for?

For the weekends and when there are car shows. I have also used it for a few weddings and receptions at no cost because it is all my passion.

Any plans for further upgrades?

It’s just a matter of maintaining the vehicle now.

Any other classics you have owned?

I am doing up another classic which is an old Toyota Land Cruiser model BJ 40 (1974). I have been restoring that slowly for the past two years. This is still work in progress and has not been registered yet.

What other vehicles do you own?

I have got a Toyota Hilux 2013 model and a Toyota Rav 4 – these are for my daily usage.

Any other comments:

I want to thank the founder of Fiji Classic Cars, Faizal Koya, for his hard work. I remember it was a Sunday a few months back before the Fiji Rio Olympics Team arrived. He came to my house when I was working on my car and he gave all these ideas on what he wanted to do with setting up a club. I am the Treasurer for Fiji Classic Cars.

Feedback:  rachna@fijisun.com.fj

Subscribe to E-Edition
pacific island top up
Air Nuigini
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: