Prized classic car collection included on Christchurch house tour

A 1936 Auburn Speedster the only one in the Southern Hemisphere is just one of the classic cars in Paul and Erina Kellys eight-car garage, but its a pretty impressive one.
And for the first time, you can get to see it on this years NZ House & Garden Tour in Christchurch at the end of this week, on March 19 and 20.

Paul Kelly, a well-known identity in the city, has been involved in the motor industry for many years, but few people get to see his collection. And when they do, he says, theyre in awe. I cant count the number of people who have come to look at our house, and have got to the garage and gone no further, completely forgetting to look at the house before they leave.

Joseph Johnson/Stuff
The prized 1936 Auburn Speedster from California is the pice de rsistance of the classic car collection.

Its unlikely tour goers will forget to look at the 720 square-metre house, because thats impressive, too.

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Big, but beautifully proportioned, it was designed by architects Sheppard & Rout and is exquisitely crafted from tilt-slab concrete, cedar and Malaysian stone.

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The Auburn Speedster's hood ornament is a direction pointer, because Kelly says you can't see much else over the enormous bonnet.

But back to those cars. Kelly admits hes something of a petrol head (he does a lot of car racing), who gets a great kick out of his garage where he displays a huge amount of motoring paraphernalia, including old metal signage: A lot of this comes from a guy who collected it for a local restaurant over many years.

He is especially proud of the Auburn Speedster, which he cant imagine will ever leave the family, despite its undoubted worth: There are fewer than 50 of these on the road, he says.

You can imagine who would have owned one of these in the Depression it would have been a gangster or a movie star. It looks like something straight out of The Great Gatsby.

Joseph Johnson/Stuff
There's a bar and casual seating in the garage - Kelly says some people who come to see the house get no further than this.
Joseph Johnson/Stuff
From gangster-era cars to flying fins, the collection is a classic car enthusiast's dream.

Its got the nose of a Mack truck with an interior the size of a Fiat Bambina theres a locker for short golf clubs and no boot. And the hood ornaments a sculpture of a woman, and the idea is thats what you follow down the road, because you cant see much else over the enormous bonnet.

Kelly said the house was visited by the House of the Year judges a few years ago, who said the garage didnt count in their voting. They said, If it did, youd win it for the next 10 years.

Of course, the garage with its multi-million dollar interior, is not the only attraction. The huge house maximises a magnificent setting.

Joseph Johnson/Stuff
The Kelly house in Sumner will be open to visitors on the tour - not just the garage.
Joseph Johnson/Stuff
The house overlooks the sea - the couple say they can't imagine ever wanting to leave.

We are very fortunate to live on the beach with the ocean rolling in the door all day to look at. I cant see us ever wanting to leave, Kelly says.

The NZ House & Garden Tours are New Zealands largest and most-established charity house tours. Run by Stuff Events they benefit the Breast Cancer Foundation NZ, with a minimum pledge of $100,000 in donations and $120,000 in media advertising.

The NZ House & Garden Tours have partnered with the Breast Cancer Foundation since 2015.


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