Ariel cars in New Zealand (am importing a Nomad)

Ariel cars in New Zealand (am importing a Nomad)

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A Hermit

Original Poster:

64 posts

54 months

Monday 21st August 2017
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Nothing has come up when I search on this, so hoping I am not revisiting this topic for the Nth time ...

I am planning to import my yet-to-be-built Ariel Nomad into NZ for February 2018 arrival (due for completion later this year). Ariel tell me that they are aware that 8 or 9 Atoms have been exported to NZ but no Nomads (to their knowledge) so far.

Are any of those 8 or 9 Atom owners on the Kiwi end of PH ? If so, I'm looking for advice as to how easy it was to the get the car imported. They've not been homologated for NZ, so on import I'm guessing they require low volume vehicle (LVV) certification. How easy is that (do the cars require much modification) and how expensive ? I will have owned the car for less than 1 year, so am already looking at paying GST on import ... so if LVV certification is another large chunk of cash I might have to switch to bringing the car in temporarily on a Carnet, re-exporting to the UK and then exporting permanently when I've owned it for longer (and will be in NZ more in 2-3 years time as well). I know that sounds mad, but I have a two month sabbatical from work due in Feb-Mar 2018 and somehow I can't think of a better use of that time than touring NZ in a Nomad with a couple of friends joining for stretches along the way ....

The general consensus is to use Karman for shipping, and I can get it shipped to Christchurch (suits me better than Auckland or anywhere on North Island), so that seems easy, it's more the headache (or not) that I should expect once the car actually hits NZ shores.

While I'm at it - how easy is it to get an Ariel serviced in NZ with no official representative ? I'm guessing the Honda engine means that a friendly Honda engineer can look after the mechanicals, but are there any recommended service places or unofficial Ariel specialists (OK, with only 8-9 cars to work on, that's pretty niche, but you get the idea !!).

Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated smile ! Thanks !!

GravelBen

13,337 posts

164 months

Tuesday 22nd August 2017
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No idea about the practicalities, but I can think of plenty of roads it would be a heap of fun on! hehe

A Hermit

Original Poster:

64 posts

54 months

Tuesday 22nd August 2017
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Ben - Assuming I can get it imported and certified, I may well be in touch nearer the time to pick your brains about some of those roads ! I hope that's OK ? I'll be based out of Queenstown, but will be touring South Island, both on road and off. I've done a bit of homework on recommended routes, but a local's knowledge is always better !! driving

Fraster

1,266 posts

174 months

Wednesday 23rd August 2017
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Hi and congrats on the Nomad-I am deeply envious. There used to be a regular contributor to NZ Pistonheads with a Rover-powered Atom. Atom NZ was, I think, his handle. I ran into a couple of other owners when I was in the Fraser club-Scott at Fraser Cars will know who they are :-)

Fraster

1,266 posts

174 months

Wednesday 23rd August 2017
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Atom Johnny!
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A Hermit

Original Poster:

64 posts

54 months

Wednesday 23rd August 2017
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Thanks Fraster - I just looked up Atom Johnny and he has not posted since May 2015, so I'm guessing no longer a visitor, but I will try to PM him and he if he is contactable. Thanks for the advice.

GravelBen

13,337 posts

164 months

Friday 25th August 2017
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A Hermit said:
Ben - Assuming I can get it imported and certified, I may well be in touch nearer the time to pick your brains about some of those roads ! I hope that's OK ? I'll be based out of Queenstown, but will be touring South Island, both on road and off. I've done a bit of homework on recommended routes, but a local's knowledge is always better !! driving
thumbup

Absolutely, happy to help - I'm about 1.5hrs south of Queenstown so not too far away, and spend a bit of time in the back country.

RobDickinson

23,784 posts

188 months

Monday 28th August 2017
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Used to be a company importing and racing them called http://www.openwheelers.co.nz/ but they seem to have disappeared.

RobDickinson

23,784 posts

188 months

Monday 28th August 2017
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Fulvisti

309 posts

104 months

Monday 28th August 2017
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I don't THINK you'll have to go the LVV route. From my experience with the LVV cert process (building a kit car) I haven't seen anything that would drive you to putting a production car through it. If it was a modified Production car it's a different story, depending on the mods, coilovers etc.. I would say you'd go the special interest vehicle route and would only need entry compliance. This would identify if the seat belts or their mounts don't comply or lights etc aren't to the local standard. It's really just a slightly more indepth UK MOT.

Good luck, I love the Nomad, would love to see it on the road here.

A Hermit

Original Poster:

64 posts

54 months

Monday 28th August 2017
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Thanks for all the comments - I will try contacting Delray, but I've made a bit of progress since I first posted, so I'm now not sure if I need to. The car definitely needs certifying on entry, so I emailed the three big Certifiers in NZ (AA, VTNZ, etc) who unanimously told me that the car will need LVV certification. So I contacted the LVVTA and they said (i) they remembered that Atoms were LVV certified in the past, and that (ii) these Atoms were all certified under LVV standard 1(D), ie: a scratch-built vehicle.

So ... where I stand now is I have an email in to the LVVTA to see what information I need to provide for a 1(D) LVV certification, but I understand they are always very busy and so heard nothing back (emailed them last Wednesday).

If the LVVTA go dark on me, the next route I'm considering is to contact directly some of the LVV certifiers who are registered to do 1(D) certification. I've got all their details from the LVVTA website but not a single one seems to have an email address so I'm going to have to make some calls in the middle of the night (my time) to see if one of these guys will speak to me to tell me what documentation I will need to provide along with the car. The problem is that I've had guests staying over in the past few days, so not had the time to dedicate. They leave tomorrow (Tuesday) so sometime this week I'll get phoning around.

Does anyone (maybe from the kit-car or modd-ing community in NZ) have a friendly certifier with 1(D) [scratch-built] registration they could recommend to me ? An email address would also be fantastic !! I don't mind where they are based, because I can just have the car shipped to the nearest port. I'll be based out of Queenstown, but no problem driving down from Auckland if that is where the certifier is!

I'll keep everyone posted - thanks again !

Fulvisti

309 posts

104 months

Monday 28th August 2017
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I used Don Hoff in Christchurch for my kit car. I've found him to be faultless. I believe he's retiring at the end of the year, so depending on when you're arriving he may not be able to do the car, but should be ok for some info. Sorry I don't have an email address for him.

The forum on the LVVTA site is a good place to ask questions too, they seem to reply quickly and will give you their contact details if you need to discuss something further.

Atom Johnny

1,069 posts

110 months

Wednesday 30th August 2017
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There are 6 cars here. 3 in the South Island. 3 on the North Island, one of which is in a car museum. I'm pretty sure all cars, including the SI cars, were complied in Auckland.
I didn't import mine. It was already here.
Jared Finch was the last (2008) to import a car. It was through Openwheelrs but I recall he ended up doing all the work himself. His car was modified to get his LVVT cert by Fraser Cars of Birkenhead.
Not sure if Jared used to post on here. He was on the AAOC forum as Apollyon25.

Fulvisti

309 posts

104 months

Wednesday 30th August 2017
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Well I would say you'd be best to find out where in AKL they were done and put it through the same place. After all the hassles I've had putting my Stratos through the LVVTA I'd say go somewhere that has experience, I don't think there have been many scratch built kits go through here and nobody seems to be able to definitively say what the process is.

A Hermit

Original Poster:

64 posts

54 months

Monday 4th September 2017
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Atom Johnny - thank you for your reply and advice. Having just got up at 4.45am this morning I have spoken with Scott at Fraser Cars and he has kindly agreed to help me get the Nomad through the LVV certification process. You are right in saying that Scott has certified at least one of the Atoms currently in NZ (possibly more).

The next issue I have run up against is that NZ has some pretty strict rules on suspension design and geometry, requiring drawings to be sent to the LVVTA for them to decide if the design is adequate at a monthly meeting. I have no idea if this is required for all LVV cars (probably not) but for an imported car that was not built using the LVVTA's Car Construction Manual it is a requirement. I have just emailed the LVVTA (Dan Myers is very helpful) and Ariel cars jointly and I'm hoping that Ariel can send the required drawings to the LVVTA directly (to avoid IP / copyright issues).

Thanks again to everyone for thoughts and advice, and I'll post updates as i go along (in case anyone is interested!).

GravelBen

13,337 posts

164 months

Monday 18th September 2017
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Here is an NZ high country road teaser for you...

Mount Benger Road by Ben, on Flickr

A Hermit

Original Poster:

64 posts

54 months

Monday 18th September 2017
quotequote all
That's exactly the sort of road I had in mind when I started this venture ! I have specc-ed a front winch and shackles, etc, and all the underbody protection that Ariel offer, so a few adventures will definitely be called for, but lack of 4WD means I'm not looking to take the Nomad to the very extremes. Equally, I'm not looking to emulate rally stages - I don't want to annoy anyone or be "that idiot" who ruins access for others. But some good open dirt tracks with decent visibility and some incredible views like that would fit the bill 100%. Your picture has certainly whetted my appetite - whereabouts was it taken ?

Not much new to report since 4th September. The car is still a little way off being built, and I can't really progress the import process until Ariel have sent the suspension diagrams to the LVVTA for sign off at one of their monthly committee meetings. I understand the meetings tend to be near the start of each month, so hopefully Ariel will send the diagrams in time for the November meeting at the latest so I know for certain it is worthwhile me putting the car on a boat in December. Fingers crossed !!

CR6ZZ

1,213 posts

79 months

Tuesday 19th September 2017
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A Hermit said:
Ben - Assuming I can get it imported and certified, I may well be in touch nearer the time to pick your brains about some of those roads ! I hope that's OK ? I'll be based out of Queenstown, but will be touring South Island, both on road and off. I've done a bit of homework on recommended routes, but a local's knowledge is always better !! driving
As Ben says, there are plenty of spectacular little used gravel roads to explore. I can recommend the Old Dunstan Road. I go up that way for work a couple of times a year. Great part of the country. Can cut up in very wet wether and not advisable in snow. Danseys Pass is worth a look too.

GravelBen

13,337 posts

164 months

Tuesday 19th September 2017
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A Hermit said:
Your picture has certainly whetted my appetite - whereabouts was it taken?
That one is Mount Benger Road, just a fairly short side trip from a main road at Ettrick, map here: https://www.google.co.nz/maps/@-45.6098136,169.308...

There are heaps of nice fairly easy backcountry roads with great views. Old Dunstan road and Danseys Pass already mentioned, Lake Onslow, Poolburn, Thompson Gorge, Skippers Canyon, Nevis, Borland, Ahuriri, Hopkins, Hakataramea, the list goes on... Many of them are summer only roads though because of things like snow, river crossings and clay base roads that get waterlogged.

A lot of the more accessible ones do get used as rally stages too, which should give an idea of the quality of the roads.

As you get into the more remote areas you do end up having to stop to open and close gates across the road though, farmers often close gates for convenience even across public roads if they don't see much traffic.

GravelBen

13,337 posts

164 months

Tuesday 19th September 2017
quotequote all
On the topic of Danseys Pass... here is a brief clip from one of the times it was used as a rally stage in recent years...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O78KRpA8-aY

ETA: If you have 23 minutes to kill instead of 4, I found an in-car of the full 29km rally stage here too (in a classic class 2wd):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFFKn-7nc-U



Edited by GravelBen on Tuesday 19th September 22:57