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Sport 24: Summer 2000

That's the shit, that car3

That's the shit, that car3

Travelling in Jeff's car was like being on show. In my old car, a Toyota hatchback, I was as good as invisible—no one ever looked at me. In Jeff's car we were always being looked at. Even if you kept your face forward watching the car in front of you, you knew that to your side, the driver of the car next to you would be looking your way. It was even worse when you were towing something, like a large corrugated iron elephant, on the trailer behind you. Everything always took a little bit longer to do because there was always someone hanging around, waiting to ask the question that everyone else asked: How much does it weigh?4

We were standing outside a fish‘n’chip shop in New Plymouth waiting for our order to be filled. It was a Friday night and a few other people were coming and going. They would go into the shop, place their order, come outside, look at the car, hit it with their fist and page 6 then ask Jeff, ‘How much does it weigh—with all that iron on it?’ Jeff would reply, ‘The iron doesn't weigh all that much—about the same as an extra passenger, perhaps two at the most.’ The person who had asked the question would nod and then lean back against the wall of the fish‘n’chip shop and look some more at the car. The next person would come out of the shop and ask the same question. And then another. And now it wasn't Jeff who was answering the question but the first man who had asked it. It was always like that—except in Havelock North.5

I wasn't in the car, and I'm not sure that it happened, but Jeff told me that once he was driving down K'Road and had stopped at a set of traffic lights when the Front Lawn car, a car like his but covered in green astro-turf, pulled up alongside him. That must have made a few people laugh.