15 Jul 1950 – 29 Jan 2003
– Memories of Allan Hodges –
Allan Hodges and I became friends after he joined Bay Rodders, Tauranga, in the late 1960s. We had a group of close friends who used to travel everywhere in our cars.
The first car I remember him with was a deep purple coloured Fiat 500 Bambina that was lowered, had wide wheels, throaty exhaust, a worked motor and it went like hell…
In those days, a 30 mph speed limit in town and a right angle corner meant you could go around it at 30 mph, according to Allan. The Fiat handled like a go cart on rails. I can still see the grin on his face.
He progressed to a 1955 Customline station wagon and on a run to Gisborne in about 1968-69, Terry Furness, Noel & Noeline Cullum, Allan Anne Bakewell, Robbie Willis & myself headed down to Gisborne Hot Rod club’s Grasstrack weekend.
Terry Furness was first out in his T Bucket and broke the track recorded on his first attempt, followed by Allan with us yelling at him because he still had all the booze in the back and was having a ball throwing the Cusso sideways around the track. Believe it or not, he never broke one bottle.
Somewhere along the way, he and Ann parted company and Allan went to work in Wellington where he joined Capitol Rodders for awhile.
I didn’t see much of him for sometime, but he met and married a nice girl called Janet Puckey. Later, he, Janet , Noel & Noeline Cullum all went to work in New Guinea for a number of years. On arrival back in NZ, he and Janet settled in Whakatane and raised a family.
He joined the Whakatane Rod & Custom Club and owned both Edgecumbe Wrecking & Edgecumbe Motors, which he ran very successfully. He had a 1960 Chev Apache Tow Truck and a 1957 Chevy tudor, followed by a 1968 Camaro SS Convertible.
Driving home from work one day, he suddenly took ill and after being taken to Whakatane Hospital by Ambulance, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and was told he only had a short time to live. After having all usual medical treatment, he took a trip to the American Biologics Hospital in Tijuana , Mexico, to try and find an alternative cure for his condition, and at the same time, he set himself a very rigorous exercise program. He put up a really courageous battle to try and beat his illness of over four years and eight months, proof of his great inner strength and tenacity, but sadly, he passed away on the 29th January, 2003.
His funeral service was attended by many of his friends, family and hot rodding mates, while his family came to, and left the chapel, in his 1968, 396, SS Chev Camaro convertible. A fitting tribute to Allan.
I will always have fond memories of a truly great friend who is survived by his wife Janet and family, Angela, Teresa, Aaron & Micheal. – Graeme Ardern