It's a passionate restoration project that's been more than seven years in the making.

More than 300 people gathered at the Classics Museum in Hamilton on Wednesday evening to watch the unveiling of the newest attraction on four wheels.

For husband and wife owners Vicky and Danny Ryan it's been more than seven years, restoring this 1922 Hispano-Suiza Model H6B

Today was the first time Mrs Ryan got to see it in finished form. She says it was overwhelming to see it all complete.


"It's quite emotional actually to see it all. It's been a long time coming. It's lovely to see the car finished and a car of this magnitude, of this calibre. It's lovely to have it out there for everybody to see."

The Hispano-Suiza was discovered in an old barn in the United States - then it was shipped to New Zealand for restoration.

That's when the Ryans found out about it.

Danny Ryan says the story of their car began when it came here to be restored for a European client who eventually gave up on the project.

"The restoration started the restoration stopped, and the vehicle become for sale. Vicki and I bought it and after all these years we're here tonight to celebrate the completion of the restoration and to show it to the people that are interested in this hobby."

Mrs Ryan shares the passion - saying she loves the mystique of vintage cars.

"Was it a family that owned it or, who was built for? How was it used? What was it used for? That we don't know, and it's that history that I like, the fact that there is history there."

It isn't the couple's first project - but it has been their biggest to date.

"This is perhaps the most unique vehicle we have restored and it really is something to see and so that's what also drives me along to complete the project." Mr Ryan says.

An engineer by trade - Mr Ryan says he loves the skill required to restore a car.

"It's an engineering challenge, this particular mark is incredibly engineered by a French company and it's quite exclusive and beautifully built from an engineering perspective so that's what attracts me to it."

Classics Museum Owner Tom Andrews says it's an honour to have the vintage vehicle unveiled at his museum.

"The interest level (from people) that like to look at the stuff is phenomenal."

"My hope is that this car stays in New Zealand because it's obviously super valuable", and often "unfortunately a lot of the most valuable cars", end up being sold to the "wealthy people from overseas."

"It would be great for it to become part of New Zealand's history."

The Hispano-Suiza will be on display at the Classics Museum for about a month before heading to it's new home in Nelson - where the Ryans have recently moved.

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