Going out and starting a business of your own is one hell of a calculated risk, and has got to be a nerve-racking experience at the best of times. So, when Chris Harrison made the call to go into business specializing in a very niche segment of the automotive market, we’re sure a fair few nights were written off by cold sweats and relentless overthinking. Fast-forward over half a year, and the team were preparing for the very first Bad Penny Classic and Custom Services open day — a free event opening the shop to the public, to see exactly what it is the Bad Penny team get up to at work.
Held at the Bad Penny workshop in Hamilton on Saturday, November 11, the abundance of slick, traditionally-styled machinery and speed parts wasn’t the only drawcard, with the comfort factor taken care of in the form of a the most tender pulled pork sliders imaginable and non-alcoholic beverages, all free of charge.
Of course, not everyone turned up for the free refreshments — some cruised over to show their support for Chris and the team, and a few others even came to check out the shop and its work.
There’s no question that the day was a success, with people travelling from all over the North Island to hang out. Once there, though, those who weren’t motivated by the free feed may have found it a bit difficult to get to the shop, with much of the road outside the shop resembling some sort of small-scale car show centred around lowriders, hot rods, and customs — a refreshing antithesis to the abundance of billet and brand-name gear pervading the automotive scene as we travel deeper into the 21st century. If you want to see more of the vehicles present, check out the gallery below.
Moving into the shop premises, it becomes apparent that Chris and the Bad Penny must know what they’re doing, as the vehicles present all share one thing in common — an extremely high standard of build.
Vehicles like Simon Straessle’s ’37 Chev bomb are obvious examples, featuring intensive custom work, including a heavily modified chassis and full hydraulic suspension.
Then there’s this ’54 Chev packing a triple-carbed ‘Blue Flame’ six-cylinder, with period-correct McCulloch centrifugal supercharger and beautiful hand-crafted intake scoop and charge piping.
It doesn’t need to be a full-scale rebuild or restoration for the team to touch it, though, with a bunch of smaller jobs constantly rolling through — such as Arihia’s Chev Corvair that is set to be mildly modified in the traditional low-rider style.
Then there’s the personal projects. Chris doesn’t just work on these cars — he lives and breathes them, and his most recent purchase is patiently waiting its turn for his attention. He picked up this awesome Chev Suburban for its practicality as a family wagon, although it’s going to look far from stock when he’s through with it!
All that being said, there’s only so much one can write about shop open days, and at some stage it becomes easier to let the photos speak for themselves. We’ve reached that point, so why don’t you check out the full gallery below, and if you’re kicking yourself for having missed out, don’t worry — we bet this is one event that’s going to be permanently etched onto the calendar now.