A Historic Automotive Achievement
In the summer of 2020, Hemisphere Freight Services was contacted by our long-standing agent MGL Logistics and their client Supercar Secrets to embark on another exciting automotive project together. Whilst we didn’t know it right away, it would soon become clear that this movement was to be one of Hemisphere’s most prized automotive achievements to date.
For car fans, the world of hot rods is truly fascinating. These vehicles can vary from some of the coolest creations on four wheels, through to some of the most outlandish. Hot rod engineering is a place where those with the skills can let their imaginations run wild, leading to truly special outcomes. So, when our team of car enthusiasts heard about shipping such a car, we could not wait to find out more about the hot rod and its backstory.
History in an Instant
As we delved further into the details of the vehicle and its shipping requirements, aided by Mark at Supercar Secrets, we realised the car being discussed was in fact the ‘Andy’s Instant T’ hotrod, based on a 1915 C-Cab Model T.
This was a hugely important hotrod for a number of reasons; it was built by much-revered Californian hotrodder Andy Brizio in 1969, to show off his latest innovative product which allowed customers to buy his kit and build their own ‘Instant T’ hotrod. The car was then painted by master painter and fellow NorCal resident Art Himsl, who is known worldwide for his breathtaking designs and unmistakable style. The graphics work on the C-Cab depicts the team involved in building the car and indeed features Art himself spraying the ribbons on the left rear door. The car was very well received and was the star at a number of shows in the early years, including the 1971 Memphis Street Rod Nationals where it was a standout winner.
But the story doesn’t end there. In 1974 the car was bought by Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham who famously said, ‘my name is John Bonham, I’m a drummer and I’m potty about cars’. He would go on to become universally accepted as one of, if not the best drummers to have lived to this day. It is this connection that the Andy’s instant T C-Cab is best known for.
Bonham had the car shipped to the UK, a serious and expensive undertaking at the time. It is clear he must have been very fond of the car. In fact, it went on to feature in Led Zeppelin’s concert film ‘The Song Remains the Same’. Bonham sold the car to a friend a few years later, before tragically passing away in 1980, aged just 32.
Finding the Right Solution
Arranging transport for this vehicle required all of our experience; this is not just a car, but irreplaceable automotive art steeped in history, and we knew it had to be handled as such. It was not an easy extraction: the car was stored in a garage where it had been kept within a controlled environment for over 16 years, it was not in running condition and the site had limited access. After some invaluable conversations with the then owner, we worked out the best vehicle/enclosed trailer combination to suit the collection point and we had a plan to get it back to HFS HQ.
Come collection day everything went to plan. The car was slowly winched from the garage and brought out into the sunlight for the first time in many years. It was then carefully loaded into the trailer and secured.
The loaded trailer then made its way down to our warehouse, arriving late in the evening to a very excited HFS crew, where it was safely unloaded. Perhaps it’s no surprise that rather than going home once it arrived, we spent a long while discussing the car! It was carefully documented and photographed at HFS HQ, which gave us the opportunity to really take in the superb detail and revel in the sheer originality of it all.
We then prepared for container loading, inflating and stabilising tyre pressure (the car remains on its original tyres) before slowly moving it into the container and performing our tried and tested lashing routine to ensure there was no risk of movement during the long sea voyage to Australia. Eventually, the container reached Sydney and the car was unloaded and finally united with its new owner.
"Arranging transport for this vehicle required all of our experience; this is not just a car, but irreplaceable automotive art steeped in history, and we knew it had to be handled as such."
Projects & Automotive Team Manager, HFS
An Incredible Experience
It was truly special to be involved in the movement of this car. Whilst it was a somewhat sad moment closing the container doors, and with it bringing the car’s 46 years of UK history to a close, we take great pride in being able to play our part in preserving this vehicle through safe transport, handling and shipping. We will continue to follow the car’s next chapter in Australia with great interest.
Special thanks go to the team at Supercar Secrets and MGL Logistics for continuing to put their trust in us, and former owner Bruce Screen for sharing his knowledge and time, not to mention the exceptional job he did in preserving the car for so long!
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