When Rod Tempero found out a car built in the Alma workshop founded by his father sold for more than $740,000 last month, it came as no surprise.
That was because other replica luxury vehicles built at Rob Tempero Motor Builder Ltd south of Oamaru have gone under the hammer for similar prices, but perhaps none quite as in demand as the one sold in August.
At an RM Sotheby’s auction in Monterey, California between August 15 and 17, a 1966 Jaguar XJ13 replica built at the Tempero workshop in 1994, then run by Rod’s father Errol, fetched $US478,000, or about $NZ742,000.
It was the first time the XJ13 had been sold on since it was originally bought.
One of only seven made, the vehicle was sold to a private collector.
Mr Tempero said the high price tag did not come as a shock.
“I was not that surprised. Most of our stuff has been going for that kind of money privately for quite a few years.”
Among those included replicas of vehicles originally manufactured by the likes of Aston Martin and Ferrari.
Mr Tempero knew “nothing” about the person who bought the XJ13, or even how much it would potentially go for.
“The guy that was running the auction called me and asked how much it was worth. I said ‘I don’t know’, because how many times has it come up? None.”
He said the story behind the XJ13 was an interesting one, and featured a well-known Australian motorsport identity.
“We were building cars for an American company and the guy that was dealing with them, Ash Marshall, he was sort of the front man for the company that was selling the cars.
“We had already started our second run of D-types, we had already built them 18 cars, and they decided they wanted an XJ13 and two Aston Martins. The first one [XJ13] sold to the Blackhawk Motor Museum, which is a very famous motor museum in America, and this one was sold to a very well known collector at the time.”
Mr Tempero recalled the build was a tough one.
“We had no plans .. but we were actually able to replicate it quite well, because we used Jaguar E-type framing, just like the original did. We used the Jaguar V12 engine, the correct five-speed ZF gearbox and we actually got in an original windscreen. When you’ve got the original . . . it’s actually reasonably easy to make the car around it.”
He said attention to detail was paramount when building all vehicles, particularly when it came to features such as gauges, the steering wheel and wheels.
That meant plenty of research, which was easier today with the aid of readily available photographs.