You may have noticed from the previous post that Lucie was purchased while I was in Auckland, New Zealand. This isn’t such a strange thing; of the 30,912 Riley Elfs ever built 1,975 of them were sent to NZ as complete knock down kits. Right up until the 1980s it was a common occurrence to see Kiwi roads peppered with what we’d now call classics. By that I mean cars with chrome bumpers, so it’s not wholly surprising that I was a bit laissez faire about my old Elf, Olive. I mean, old cars then were a dime a dozen.
In any case, even now, 30 years later it’s not uncommon to find Elfs still for sale in NZ. When I went looking for Lucie there was at least one other for sale but Lucie was the one in my price range and look at her, what’s not to love??!
I noticed her when I had started checking out trade me before I was due to leave Melbourne for a visit with the family. I reached out to the vendor and like any good salesman he proceeded to regale me with tales of multiple enquiries and this car being hot property.
I told him I’d check in again when I got to Auckland. Of course, as is usually the case things got busy and I finally got around to checking in with him again towards the end of the trip, a full month after my first enquiry. Happily she was still available but it took so long for us to connect in person, around navigating my work and his fishing trips I actually started to get a bit nervy…
In any case, we finally managed to set a time, I arranged to meet him at the garage where Lucie was being stored and I prevailed upon him to shuffle her out of
The above photos are from the Trade Me listing of her sale; (I looked right past that Mini and now I wish I’d looked at that more closely too!!) and below are a few of the photos I took of her on that first visit.
Once we’d got her out of the tetris board that was the floor of the garage I started her up and took her for a spin around the block. It was pretty nerve wracking… unsure of how much grunt she had, pretty happy with the price, but wondering if I was being an absolute idiot indulging this fantasy I took the car back to the seller, told him I’d let him know that evening and drove my rental up the road to my sister’s place to get some perspective.
H must have thought I was a bit mad, I sat at the table and basically brain dumped the pros and cons, she nodded and listened, and then thought ‘stuff it’ and went to the ATM, grabbed out $500 for the deposit and went home to sleep on it…
Of course, the rest is history isn’t it. I dropped the cash deposit off the next day, promised to wire the remainder to the vendor on the Monday and went home with a hand written receipt, and a fair stomach full of nerves that this guy was yanking my chain and about to sell the car to the ‘other very interested buyer’ who’d offered cash on the spot.
I had a flight back to Oz that day so I was then reliant on a bunch of factors, and the good will of my family to get the car stored ready for me to put the whole export/import process in place (a whole ‘nother story). Thankfully there was a specialist car storage place just up the road from the garage, and my sister and brother in law just up the road from both. Knowing that pickup/delivery wasn’t going to cause too much in the way of inconvenience for everyone I went back to Oz, sent the remainder of the finance across the Tasman and Lucie joined the family.
Many thanks to H & M for picking her up and dropping her off at the storage place. And for having such a sense of humour about it all…