Matt has written about his experience driving the Fraser Hire car for a day.
I have been interested in building a car for quite some time now, but was also concerned on what the finished product would be like, would it be enjoyable to drive after spending all that time and money on it?
It so happened that Jan and I had been looking for a trip away alone without the kids and were thinking of flying down to Queenstown for a few days. Then I received an email from Fraser cars stating that they now have a car that can be hired for a day or overnight. I thought wouldn’t that be something, time away together, take the Fraser for a spin for a day and meet up with some friends we had not seen in sometime.
We talked to Scott, booked the flights and we were off, two nights in Auckland with no kids plus a day in the Fraser.
We were concerned about the weather, but the day turned out excellent. We turned up at the Fraser factory just as Scott was opening up. After introductions we were shown the car. Wow its tiny I thought even though we had seen them before! We signed the necessary paperwork and after Scott strapped us in we were off. After starting it up, it was a little off putting that Scott and his team watched us leave, I was thinking please do not stall. I found where the clutch bit and we were sorted, although I did not feel too comfortable at this stage. We have a 1969 Escort Mexico replica with a hard clutch and big carbs, so I think this helped in the initial clutch control, Albeit the pedals are very close together in the Fraser which took a while to get sorted.
We headed off thinking we will go Piha way, as we had both not been there before, first stop was a petrol station for a map. We had not had breakfast so stopped at Westgate mall for breaky, where we were met with a number of comments about how cool a car we had, and how much fun it would be. We had to admit it was not ours.
Then we were off to Piha. I was not driving the car to anywhere its limit but half way to Piha I looked at Jan and said that this is fun, being so close to the road, the noise, gear changes and acceleration. There is something about the noise and acceleration, you just cannot take off in a Fraser without putting your foot down a bit more than normal. It was a little of putting at the beginning watching the front suspension doing its work, but after a while it becomes natural and we were enjoying the ride. We drove to a couple of other beaches on the way back, then ended up in Helensville, Orewa, and thru the new tunnel. We had a blast and both of us could not stop smiling from the experience. We ended up doing about 240 km that day, by the end I had a very sore clutch foot and right arm.
For me the question was answered, a Fraser Clubman was what I was after. I had already read and talked to people about support from Fraser during the build and after, so I was not concerned about that, but what a driving experience. It was just simply the best driving experience I have had. And I think Jan was enjoying herself also.
I enjoy our old Escort for different reasons, 40 year old suspension and brake set ups have their own quirks, but the Fraser is just fun.
After some number crunching and discussions with Scott we decided what the hell.. so we placed an order on a chassis decided on the De Dion rear suspension, inboard front suspension and 4AGE engine to ease the budget a bit there.
So now we are awaiting delivery in July, so I guess wish us luck.