Motorsport dream gone in fire


A bag of tools, a car jack and some parts are all that’s left of Terry Mead’s fledgling motorsport dream.

Cars dumped in a pile after the Raynes Rd fire. [Photo: supplied]

He’d grabbed them from his workshop on Thursday morning to go to Paeroa and get car parts.

By the end of the day, his workshop, at a row of Raynes Road commercial units was engulfed in an inferno. He’d only been there for four weeks, reports the Waikato Times.

Inside were six drift cars, a drag car, a classic 1960s Chrysler, a brand new car hoist, a food trailer under construction and tools and parts collected during a 15 year automotive passion worth an estimated $250,000.

“We went out there at 10am, everything was normal. We were back at home at 7pm and our mate called us and said ‘your workshop is on fire’.

“By the time we got there, it was already too late. I just pretty much broke down and sat on the ground and watched.”

In his shed were three Nissan Cefiros, three Nissan Skylines, a rebuilt racing Honda Civic, and a rare 1960s Chrysler 300C.

Two of the Cefiros were Mead’s and partner Zara Coles’ road-legal cars. The other cars were being rebuilt as track racers.

The Chrysler was only with him for two weeks.

“It was one of only two in New Zealand. Now there is only one I guess. It was a 2-door coupe. It was pretty rare.”

The workshop was Mead’s big foray into a new business venture. He’s been driving and building his own cars for years and had amassed a fortune in tools and know how.

More on this topic: Major loss in huge blasts, fire

But he made a fatal error. He was uninsured.

“We were getting around to doing that and were about to send away our signed off paperwork but never got around to it.”

“My whole life was in there. I even had a stack of cash in my glovebox and I hadn’t made it to the bank, about $6000. I’d just sold a car and I hadn’t made it to the bank because I was too busy.

“We’ve come back to everything gone. Everything.”

The row of sheds which housed Mead’s workshop is a twisted wreck. A mass of hay bales was stored in an attached unit. The roofing iron at the half-standing, pool moulding company shed next door flaps in the warm breeze.

On Tuesday, the fire smouldered, still. Fanned by a westerly wind, heat crackled beneath the surface and licks of fire leapt off the remnants of hundreds of hay bales.

Through billowing smoke an excavator picks through roofing iron and steel girders, stacking scrap steel in piles.

Mead and Coles kick through the parts dropped from their cars which were dragged and dumped unceremoniously in a heap.

The rubber from the tyres has melted. Alloy rims have melted. Carpet and vinyl are gone. Engine parts lay strewn around the yard.

Bent but not broken, Mead vows to carry on. A Givealittle page has been set up for TMD Automotive Help, and a mate has given him a car to use at a drift car event this weekend.

“I’m going to go out this weekend and have a drift and keep my passion alive, pretty much,” Mead said.

“I need to get out there so it clears my head and gets me back to where I need to be . . . to keep me going.”

More than 20 firefighters attended the blaze at 7.07pm on Thursday. Five fire appliances and three water tankers came from Hamilton, Ngaruawahia, Pirongia, Te Awamutu and Morrinsville.

​Fire investigator Peter Hallett said the investigation is still under way.

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