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About the Author

I guess the attributes that qualified me to write the history of Ford in New Zealand are that, first and foremost, I love New Zealand history, plus I enjoy motoring history and old cars.  And, of course, it helps that I love writing!

So, why write the Ford in New Zealand history?  The answer is simple - it was yet to be written!  Over the years I have studied the story of the Ford family and the history of the various Ford branches throughout the world.  The Ford Motor Company branches that most impact upon New Zealand are, most importantly, Ford of Canada, Ford of Britain, Ford Australia and, to a much lesser degree, Ford in Detroit.  That comprehensive understanding of the Ford global business was of enormous assistance when I was researching and writing Ford's New Zealand story.

From the moment I first set out to record the Ford in New Zealand story it was important to me to make sure what i wrote was indeed factual.  Unlike a magazine, where a mistake can easily be corrected with an apology in the next edition, a book is to be considered as solid as concrete.  So, this book had to be right from the get-go.

The catalyst for the book - the two books, as it turned out! - was two shows that I was the principle organiser of.  The first was the unique millennium event The Car Show of the Century.  Staged in November, 1999 the idea was to feature a walkable timeline of cars dating from 1900 to 1999.  Indeed, that timeline of 100 cars was joined by two examples from the previous century.  Then Toyota New Zealand offered us a brand-new hybrid car that was doing the rounds of their dealerships before its release in this country in 2000!  That car was the very first Toyota Prius in New Zealand.  So, quite by accident our show became most probably the first in the world to include display vehicles from three centuries!

The second event was the 2003 Centenary of Ford show.  Did you know that the Ford Motor Company was the first auto brand to celebrate a full century in business under the same ownership?  That is quite a feat.  So, for this major event, we followed the successful millennium model of a walkable timeline of Fords from 1903 to 2003.  Also displayed at the venue was another 250 Ford cars from clubs and individuals.  Have a look at our dedicated photo gallery of that important event here.

The Centenary of Ford show was the largest in New Zealand to mark that Ford milestone in their history.  As a record of it, we decided to produce a simple souvenir picture book.  But it grew!  And it took over my life as it morphed into the full history of the Ford Motor Company of New Zealand.

Whilst I have a strong passion for Ford, I do not subscribe to the Ford vs Holden (or Ford vs Chevrolet) mindset.  That would not sit well with my love of motoring history nor my effort to keep this history as unbiased as possible.  So, the reader will find much content that compares other marques, and inclusion of other factors (from war to economic and political influences) that helped shape the story of Ford in New Zealand.

I live in Wellington, New Zealand's and I am an active member of the Vintage Car Club of New Zealand.  I also write for New Zealand's classic car magazines and I'm known for the providing material that is both accurate in historical context and enjoyable to read.  This is something that is important to me - and I am very proud of it.

John Stokes, Ford in New Zealand author.

Above:  The author outside what was the Ford New Zealand head office and assembly plant in Seaview, Wellington from 1936 to 1988.  The car is the author's 1963 Zephyr, built at Seaview!  The magnificent building has survived, has had seismic strengthening work carried out for future use, and it has heritage protection.



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