Wintec journalism student and Gordonton resident Ciaran Warner files this special report.
INGENUITY can be found tucked away in unexpected corners. And when Neil Geddes’ father Leon, talented engineer, bus company owner and driver, sadly passed away last year, Neil decided to give the business his father so lovingly maintained a brand new face.
The result can be seen at 1070 Gordonton Road, just next to Coastal Connection, the next time you pop down for a coffee.
SCRAM – standing for specials, customs, rebuilds, and manufacturing – is a workshop and garage that specialises in campervans, and for whom no job is too small for its two engineers, Robin and Neville.
“We do a lot of restoration jobs, or we build new… whatever the customer wants, we can do,” says Robin.
“We build retro caravans, motorhomes, we restore old vehicles. All our parts are sourced locally… we do pretty well.
“We try to create it if we can’t fix it,” adds Neville. “We refurbish most of them, but the rest start off as a pile of scrap on the ground.”
Current projects include the restoration of a 1950s tractor, and a 1936 Bedford bus.
“They do a lot of manufacturing, but they’ll do anything to suit their skills,” says Neil, who currently resides in Auckland.
“The workshop has been in our family for about 40 years, mum and dad operated a bus business, Leslie Coaches LTD, out of there for about 35 years. After that was sold, we did odd jobs – trailers, caravans, house buses, ‘The Coffee Guy’ coffee vans, until we decided it was time to reinvent the place to better market our skills and take advantage of our equipment.”
A prime example of Neil’s own ingenuity is the Spaceship – a comfortable, adaptable, fuel-efficient car/campervan blend, which can be seen here.
“Neil went to Leon with the idea for the spaceships a while back,” says Neville. “700 spaceships later, they were all over the country. We’ve sold them here, in Australia, and in the UK too.”
The brains behind SCRAM were particularly pleased with their restoration of one particular old school bus, which was modified to run on old cooking oil.
“It’s still being used as a sightseeing bus in Auckland,” says Neil. “It would be too expensive for mass production, but the idea was just to show people it could be done.
“With the huge growth in the retro caravan market, and us being so well placed to service it, we see nothing but good times ahead.”
*Other than t’top one, all pics by Mr Warner.