If you want to find the unsung heroes of the hop, you'll find many of them behind closed garage doors.

Andy Murray has been part of the Beach Hop car team that has transformed over 30 cars from the neglected into the magical.

For 19 years now he's been with Noddy and his team, creating the jaw-dropping classic beauties that win the hearts and imaginations of thousands and raise many more thousands of dollars for charity.

The owner of the Whangamata Service Centre says he swears each year that it'll be his last, and then Noddy Watts rings, and he finds himself following this "great leader" again.


When Noddy backed the 1967 Ford Galaxie Beach Hop car into the workshop to get a tune up ready for its new lucky winner, Andy initially did not want to say much to the Coastal News.

"We are just part of the group. We only do our little bit," said Andy.
Noddy has estimated that $500,000 has gone to Whangamata emergency services organisations from the fundraising efforts of the team.

Sales of the Beach Hop programme are a major boost, driven not only by the information it contains but also the chance to win a car.

This year's is a 1967 Ford Galaxie estimated to be worth $65,000 and a brand new 2019 Harley Davidson motorcycle. You must be present at Ford Reserve (Williamson Park) at the time of the draw between 4pm and 6pm Saturday to claim the prize.

There is also the chance to win a brand new Harley Davidson motorcycle or $10,000 cash.
A retro caravan is being auctioned off, raising more funds.

Andy has a passion for classic cars but that's not the only thing that he cares for. He's a Coastguard volunteer who trains twice a week and attends to callouts whenever needed to keep boaties safe.

The winning car and auctioned caravan are truly a labour of love for Noddy and his crew of volunteers.

It means they must not only juggle their work commitments to make time for the voluntary work, but also push back their own classic car projects - Noddy has three cars awaiting his loving attention - at home.


Andy says the vehicles not only display the owner's ability, but also their personality.
"A lot of us are quite shy and we keep the doors down. I've spent hundreds of hours on my own working on this.

"It's an expression of what sort of person you are. For me, it's a personal thing."

Over the years, the Beach Hop giveaway cars have honed skills for apprentices and school students of Whangamata Area School where Andy was once a teacher in the workshop.

One year, he and another helped five students with a very fun, timed event. "We had a hot rod pulled to pieces, and put the bits on a trailer outside the TCDC office on Port Rd. We drove it out 1 and 3/4 hours later."