Discovery: An International Affair

The story about discovering this T34 is bizarre and involves several people from England, South Africa, & America. The first time I'd seen it was in late-1999 advertised on Clive Richardson's web site. I tried to contact the seller but he was unresponsive. I already had two T34s and was deep into the restoration of my 1962 Cabriolet so I did not pursue it. Five years later, I saw it listed for sale in the March 2004 edition of the KGOC-GB's newsletter. The ad read "1964 T34 Coupe, 85K miles, originally from South Africa, imported to England in 1999, full MOT, 12V, daily driver, lost storage space so must sell, 4000GBP (US$7300.)" I had Clive send me 3 photos he had of it that were taken in 1999 in South Africa. The seller was again completely unresponsive to my repeated requests for photos & info.

I learned that another KG enthusiast Mike Shaw had already made plans to see it, so I waited for his decision. On March 21st he decided not to buy it (too expensive for the amount of work required), but sent 3 more photos. Mike shared the sellers story: the T34 had lived most of its life in South Africa, where the rocker repair work had been done. The second owner W. Vilhoen, drove it from 1979-88 when he sold it to Gordon who was living in South Africa and wanted a second car for his English friends to drive when visiting. Gordon drove it sparingly from 1989-1999 and then relocated to England and brought the T34 with him. He stored the T34 in the garage and didn't drive it much until the loss of his storage forced the sale. I called Andy Holmes and begged him to inspect it, handle the transaction, and coordinate the delivery to the shipping port. I borrowed $10K from Jon House and wired Andy the money to buy it on March 26th.

On March 30th he met the seller (Gordon Davidson) in Leeds (central England) but strangely he wouldn't allow Andy to take photos, claiming several people had already come to see it but were only interested in photos and not serious to buy it. Andy complied and did a 20-minute inspection then made a gentleman's agreement to buy it for $6400 but still the seller wouldn't allow Andy to take photos! The owner agreed to deliver the T34 near to Andy's home but later postponed the delivery twice. Finally on April 14th the car arrived at Andy's home in Maids Moreton. Despite what the picture shows I'm sure his wife Theresa was thrilled to see another T34 in their front yard (as the garage already has their 1962 & 1965 T34s)! But Sophie quickly named the new T34 "Bob" and was having fun with her dad getting the T34 cleaned-up and ready to put on the ship to California. In a search for the least expensive export company I emailed Martin McGarry since he imports KGs into England regularly. He provided a source and Andy got quotes from four other companies with prices ranging from $1300-$2200. The cargo ship would depart from Southampton, England, and arrive in Oxnard, California 25 days later.

The M346 was off-loaded in Port Hueneme (Oxnard) so I took the train on 28 May with a bag of tools, spare fuel pump, voltage regulator, and license plates from my 1962 T34. When I first saw the T34 both headlights had popped-out from their brackets and were hanging by the wires, a sad sight. The battery had died so I got a ride from one of the dock workers to buy a new battery. I fitted license plates, gassed-up, and was on my way back home. I stopped by Scott Perry's work to have him test-drive it and to have Scott's 1965 T34 welcome it to the USA. On the drive home Andy Holmes from England called my mobile phone to see how it arrived and was driving. I was in heaven! I'd finally taken delivery of one of the rarest models of T34 ever made and had high hopes of restoring it back to original.