An 80-year-old illegally distilled and sold spirits including whisky from his garage to help pay for the restoration of his Model A Ford car.

Edwin Lowry Wilson admitted six charges including keeping and displaying liquor for sale and two of selling liquor without a licence.

When admonished by the judge for filling empty bottles of well-known brands with his own spirits, he replied, "It was a better brew".

Hastings District Court judge Lindsay Moore said he had been running an old-fashioned sly-grogging business.

Defence counsel Cliff Church said Wilson bought the Model A Ford after his wife died and began selling bottles for $20, partly to pay for the car's restoration.

He was remanded on bail for sentencing on August 25.