Upper Classics car restoration: reviving classic Australian muscle in Christchurch

Classic Holden in the workshop

Classic Holden in the workshop

This week, I had the privilege of visiting Upper Classics car restoration in Christchurch, a standout automotive restoration workshop dedicated to breathing new life into classic cars like SS Jaguars and Australian muscle cars, Holden HQs, Monaros, Falcons, and Chryslers.

During my visit, I spoke with the passionate team at Upper Classics, delving into the intricacies of car restoration and the growing trend of bringing iconic Australian vehicles back to their former glory. Here’s what they shared about their restoration philosophy and services.


What makes Upper Classics stand out in the car restoration industry?

Terry emphasised their dedication to authenticity and detail. Unlike larger shops, Upper Classics offers a personalised touch with each project, ensuring that every car is not just restored but revived with its original spirit and performance in mind. If they can’t source a part, they will make it.


How does Upper Classics support classic car enthusiasts?

Recognising the passion and investment their clients bring, Upper Classics provides comprehensive restoration services tailored to preserving the historical accuracy of each vehicle while incorporating modern enhancements for reliability and comfort.


What range of services does Upper Classics offer?

Their class car services encompass everything from detailed classic auto repairs and bodywork to engine rebuilds and interior refurbishments. Their classic car mechanics pride themselves on using original or faithfully reproduced parts to maintain the authentic look and feel of each car.

What advice do you have for someone looking to restore a classic Australian muscle car?

The team at Upper Classics advises that potential restorers consider the history and the potential value of the vehicle. They also do pre-purchase classic car inspections where the team does a thorough assessment of the car’s condition. Upon purchase, together they creates with the owner a clear vision of the desired outcome to ensure that the restoration process is both enjoyable and rewarding.


Personalised car restoration services

If you’re a classic car enthusiast in Christchurch or anywhere in New Zealand, looking to restore your classic car, Upper Classics Car Restoration is your ideal partner. With a deep understanding of classic automotive culture and a commitment to excellence, they ensure that every car that leaves their workshop is a showpiece of both heritage and craftsmanship.


About Upper Classics Car Restoration

Founded with a passion for classic cars and a vision to preserve automotive history, Upper Classics has established itself as a leader in the field of car restoration. Known for their meticulous attention to detail and exceptional customer service, they have become a beloved part of the Christchurch classic car community.


The go-to workshop for classic car restoration in Christchurch

Whether you’re looking to bring a cherished family heirloom back to life or invest in the potential of a classic car, Upper Classics offers the expertise and dedication needed to turn your automotive dreams into reality.

Navigating Financial Landscapes with Invercargill Accountants

Invercargill Accountant Peter van Lokven of Invercargill Accounting sits in front of a Southland beach.

This week, I had the opportunity to chat with Peter van Lokven, the founder of Invercargill Accounting, a small Invercargill-based boutique accounting firm. Peter and his team specialise in a range of accounting services, catering to diverse clients including those in rural, commercial, retail, engineering, manufacturing, tourism, hospitality, trades, construction, fishing, and professional sectors in Invercargill and the Southland region.
Peter and I discussed the world of accounting, and below, I share his insights on some frequently asked questions about accounting services. If you’re looking for expert accountants in Invercargill, Peter’s answers might be just what you need.

What makes Invercargill Accounting stand out among other accounting firms in Invercargill?
Peter emphasised their personalized approach. Unlike larger firms, clients get to deal directly with Peter, rather than getting passed onto a junior. This ensures that each client, whether a small business or a large corporation, receives the attention and expertise they deserve.

How does Invercargill Accounting support small businesses?
Recognising the unique challenges faced by small businesses, Invercargill Accounting provides specialised small business accounting services in Invercargill. They focus on helping small businesses navigate the complexities of financial management, from regular reporting and insights on performance to being a sounding board on growth strategies.

What range of services does Invercargill Accounting offer?
Peter highlighted their comprehensive suite of services, including financial reporting, income tax returns, GST and FBT filing, payroll assistance, and administrative support. Their goal is to cover the day to day aspects of accounting, allowing business owners to focus on running their business.
What advice do you have for businesses in different sectors?
Peter stressed the importance of understanding the specific insights from regular reporting. And keeping accounting costs low! Peter said his fees are often 75% of larger firms. Peter loves helping clients to manage paperwork and invites them to drop in their receipts so he can code them correctly into Xero. His expertise also spans farming and rental property owners, enabling customized advice and solutions that align with each client’s business goals.

Personalised Accounting Solutions
If you’re searching for Invercargill accountants, Peter and his team at Invercargill Accounting are your go-to professionals. Their commitment to personalised service and in-depth industry knowledge makes them a top choice for businesses across various sectors.

About Invercargill Accounting
Peter van Lokven established Invercargill Accounting with a vision to offer more than just accounting services; he wanted to be a partner in his clients’ business journeys. His firm is known for its ability to provide customised, comprehensive accounting solutions, making complex financial management accessible and understandable for all their clients.

The go-to accounting company in Invercargill
Invercargill Accounting stands out as a popular provider of accounting services in the Southland business community. Whether you’re a small business owner or part of a larger enterprise, Peter and his team are equipped to offer the financial guidance and support you need to succeed in today’s challenging market.

Crafting Luxury Homes with Frost Architectural Builder, Christchurch

Frost Architectural Builders award winner home
Master Builders 2023 Regional Gold Award Winning home by Frost Architectural Builders


This week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Mitch Frost, builder, and son of the visionary behind Frost Architectural Builders, Gary Frost, a renowned luxury architectural builder in Christchurch. Frost Builders is celebrated for their exceptional work in architectural building, specializing in creating bespoke homes in Christchurch and surrounding areas.

During our conversation, we delved into the intricacies of luxury home building, and I’m excited to share Mitch’s insights on some of the most common queries about high-end home construction. If you’re considering building a luxury home, or engaging architectural builders, these insights from Mitch might prove invaluable.

  1. What sets Frost Builders apart as a luxury architectural builder in Christchurch?

Mitch emphasised that Frost Builders’ unique approach lies in their meticulous attention to detail and their commitment to realising the client’s vision, making them a preferred architectural builder in the region. They blend traditional craftsmanship with modern techniques to create homes that are not just structures but works of art.

  1. How does Frost Builders ensure quality in their projects?

Quality for Frost Builders is non-negotiable. Attention to detail and their consistent commitment to excellence has been recognised through Registered Master Builders House of the Year Awards. Their team closely monitors every stage of construction to ensure that each home exceeds standard building requirements.

  1. What trends are you seeing in high-end home construction?

Mitch noted a growing interest in sustainable and eco-friendly building practices. Clients are increasingly seeking homes that are energy-efficient and have a minimal environmental footprint, without compromising on luxury and aesthetics.

  1. How does Frost Builders approach homestead and heritage home renovations?

When it comes to homestead and heritage home renovations, Mitch shared that Frost Architectural Builders approaches these projects with a deep respect for historical integrity, seamlessly integrating modern amenities while preserving the original charm and character of the property.

Bespoke Architectural Building and Renovation Services

If you’re in need of architectural builders for your new home or are planning a homestead or heritage home renovation in Christchurch, Frost Architectural Builders is your go-to team. Their expertise in architectural design and commitment to excellence ensures that your vision for a dream home becomes a tangible reality. Their work is also showcased on Archipro’s website and also on their own website’s portfolio pages.

About Frost Builders

Garry Frost founded Frost Architectural Builders with a vision to create homes that are not just living spaces but works of art. Over the years, Mitch has joined the team and the company has established itself as a leader in the field of architectural building and renovations in Christchurch. Known for their meticulous approach and ability to handle complex projects, including hillside constructions and heritage renovations, Frost Architectural Builders has become synonymous with luxury, quality, and craftsmanship in home building.

Who is the Regional Master Builder Award Winning Architectural Builder in Christchurch?

Recently, Frost Architectural Builders, won the Master Builder 2023 Regional Category Winner Gold award for a Rugby Street home in Christchurch. Frost Architectural Builders are a leader in the design and construction of high-end homes. They offer a wide range of services, from building new architectural homes to renovating historic properties. Garry, Mitch and the team work with a variety of materials and styles, tailoring each project to the client’s specific needs and desires. Whether it’s a new build or a renovation, Frost Builders has the expertise and experience to bring your vision to life. They also specialise in challenging projects like hill builds, ensuring that every home is not just beautiful but also structurally sound and perfectly integrated with its surroundings.

Planning your staircase

Planning your staircase

This week, I sat down with Anthony Simpson, Managing Director of local Christchurch staircase engineering company, Division Group. The team at Division specialise in staircase design mainly for new homes in Christchurch, Wanaka, Queenstown and The Marlborough Sounds.

Anthony and I chatted about all things “stairs,” and below I share his answers to some commonly asked questions about staircase design. If you’re planning some statement stairs in your home, Anthony’s answers might be helpful.

1. What are the normal dimensions for a stair tread?

The average depth of a stair tread is around 300mm. The average height of a stair tread is around 185-190mm. These dimensions adhere to New Zealand building code requirements.

2. What is the average thickness for a stair tread?

The average thickness of a stair tread depends on how the entire staircase is constructed. Our average tread thickness is 60mm but we can go as thick as 85-90mm. This is designed with a tong that hangs underneath to reduce the gap, ensuring code compliance is met and people can’t fall through the gaps in your floating staircase.

If it has a supporting tread underneath and a riser at the back, the treads can be as thin as 40mm. However, at the front, there must be a gap of a size that you cannot fall through, so it needs to be more than 100mm.

3. How many rises does the average staircase have?

A staircase’s height is based on the ceiling height and this is something which differs greatly from building to building. A normal ceiling height is between 2.4, 2.7 and 3 metres, and so if that is the case, the amount of rises could be anywhere between 15 and 17. This includes the tread itself, so 16 treads and 17 rises.

4. What is the best wood to use for a timber staircase?

American white oak is the kind of hardwood material you would typically use in a timber staircase. This is because American white oak is a more sourceable material in New Zealand and it is very stable when it comes to laminating for strength.

Usually the American white oak used would be lightly stained. If you start going to darker stains, it is better to use maple or ash hardwood as these hold the stain a lot better and are more stable under heat coming in through windows.

Stair designs

If you don’t have an architect, get in touch with Anthony and the Division Engineering team today as your first pick for stair manufacturers in Christchurch. Their designers, engineers & steel team will ensure your staircase ideas can become a reality.

About Division Group, Staircase specialists

Anthony moved over to New Zealand from the UK in 2005 where he established Division Group – a company still family-owned and operated ten years later. His company has since become renowned for being able to work in tight spaces, using specialist equipment to ensure your staircase can be installed even in tricky corners. This can make a difference especially for commercial stairs, as depending on the job, your tenants may not have to move out for weeks on end while the staircase is installed.


Who is the best NZ staircase manufacturer?

Division Group, based in Kaiapoi, Christchurch, design and install a wide array of staircases to suit your structural needs and your aesthetic desires. These include exterior stairs, spiral staircases, curved stairs and curiously minimalist floating stairs. Anthony and his team work with a range of materials such as wood, glass and steel, offering combinations of different materials as well to create your unique staircase or realise the vision of your architect. They can help you with your new build or with a home renovation. Whatever your staircase idea, they can make it happen. It’s a bonus that they also do steel fabrication and architectural detailing, meaning you can get everything from steel framing, fireplace surrounds, and stairs to architectural letterboxes done by the same team.