Friends of a Bay man who died after a car fell on him have been left reeling by his sudden death.

Graeme Ramsay had been working underneath his Nissan Primera in the garage of his Omokoroa home on Tuesday, when the jack holding up the car slipped.

Police believe the 63-year-old mechanic died about 8am.

Mr Ramsay, who also owned a rare 1955 Ford Thunderbird, was found by his wife returning from work about 4.30pm the same day.

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Western Bay of Plenty road policing manager Senior Sergeant Ian Campion said the death had been referred to the coroner.

Mr Ramsay's family and work colleagues at the Equipment Centre in Whakamarama, where he had worked for "20-odd years", declined to talk to the Bay of Plenty Times yesterday.

Friends of the classic car lover said they would miss their "quiet and unassuming" mate.

Mr Ramsay had been a member of the Bay Rodders Tauranga car club.

"He was a very quiet person but he had a very nice smile. He was always smiling," said fellow Bay Rodders member Raymund "Buck" Buckley.

Mr Ramsay had just returned from a Labour weekend trip to the Coromandel in his Thunderbird with a group of up 18 friends, guys from the Drivers Motorsports Bar in 11th Ave, he said.

Mr Buckley said he had met Mr Ramsay through the car scene and the two had been friends for about 18 months.

He said a Facebook post from his partner Cathie Schubert summed up Mr Ramsay best.

It said: "Only knew you for a moment in time. Your quiet strength and gentle laughter will always be remembered."

Drivers Bar owner Peter Taylor said he had known Mr Ramsay and his wife Sue for about 18 months, since they started coming to the bar.

"Graeme and Sue are two of the nicest people you could know. It's very upsetting, as we were only with Graeme over the weekend in the Coromandel. We all had a fantastic time, including holding our own October beerfest with dress-ups, and then ... the next day this happens. I can't imagine how poor Sue is feeling," he said.

Mr Taylor said Mr Ramsay was a "softly spoken gentleman" who loved motorbikes, classic cars and blues-rock music and was held in such high regard that Drivers Bar patrons would be holding a special Black Ribbon cruise night tomorrow to honour him.

Mr Taylor's brother-in-law Mike Davies said he was "devastated to have lost a good friend".