This summer the Chronicle is bringing you another look at some of the best content of 2019. This story originally ran on November 1, 2019
A 1955 "muscle car of the air" has been trucked to Whanganui ready for conversion into a dwelling.
New Whanganui councillor James Barron bought the ZK-CIF 580 Convair from Air Chathams for $25,000 but said it has cost more than that to get it from Auckland to Whanganui.
The process began on October 30, when the plane was cut into pieces. That stretched into the evening, and the pieces were loaded on to trucks and ready to roll down State Highway 1 by 10.30 next morning.
Two trucks were needed, with three pilot vehicles each. They stopped traffic to allow the oversize loads to ease around tight corners.
Barron was with them in a car with Imagination TV, the film crew recording the event. Imagination TV provides footage for programmes like Grand Designs New Zealand and MasterChef New Zealand.
It was a very, very long day driving south down the island, Barron said.
"Going through towns like Tirau and Waiouru she certainly turns heads."
The plane will be placed on a cleared area on Barron's section at 79 Karaka St. The land slopes downhill to a flatter, swampy area where he has built a pond used by fish, frogs and ducks.
The pond will be deepened and the plane reassembled and held up on poles over it.
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"She will be flying over water."
People will climb its original landing steps to get into it.
The Convair will first be turned into a "pretty awesome" secondary dwelling, Barron said, with Whanganui structural engineering company BPL Group overseeing that.
In two years, with the addition of a public walkway from Karaka St, it will become boutique holiday accommodation.
Because the plane is strongly built, the process of conversion should be straightforward, Barron said.
"Compared to Elinor's [architect Elinor Harvey McDouall's] boat, this is actually surprisingly a much easier proposition."
Barron is not an aviation geek, but said he is quickly learning to use terms like port and starboard when referring to the plane's left and right wings.
The assembly of the plane finished 64 years ago on November 1, 1955. The 52-seater was first owned by a Belgian airline, then flown in the United States for nearly 40 years.
Air Chathams bought it in 2005, and flew it in the Pacific and on the Whanganui-Auckland route.
The airline still has a few Convairs in use, and general manager Duane Emeny is pleased this one has another life ahead of it.
"You don't fly something like this without falling in love with them," Barron said.