You would never dream that behind a nondescript roller door in Pollen Street, Grey Lynn lies a glamorous showroom alongside several action-packed workshops. This is the home of International Performance Classics (IPC).
After decades of custom building high performance classic cars from the ground up, IPC now offers classic car connoisseurs the opportunity to purchase one of their much -admired vehicles off the showroom floor.
IPC is a division of International Motorsport Ltd (IMS), which is best known as a professional motorsport and car-building company. They have nearly half a century of experience supporting one of the world's largest and most successful professional race teams. In numbers, this translates to a remarkable 21 National Championship wins. An impressive array of race trophies on display in their entrance and reception areas bear testament to this. Add to these photos of their Bathurst win and race memorabilia adorning the walls, and you know you have arrived somewhere special.
Despite their high-profile achievements, the whole team is extremely modest when talking about their motorsport, vehicle building and mechanical engineering credentials. They have prepared racecars for world-class drivers to local heroes, some of whom have gone on to Formula One and Australian V8 Supercar teams. For Team IMS this is just everyday business, which they live and breathe.
Behind every successful motorsport team is a well-oiled machine, literally! The engineering and coach-building skills that exist within International Motorsport are utilised to custom-build high performance race and classic cars. The team that works on vehicles at IMS is known for their precision and meticulous attention to detail.
Industry folk have been known to say -
'What Lyall Williamson doesn't know about cars is not worth knowing.'
Lyall Williamson, founder and managing director of International Motorsport is a man of few words, but ask him about his family business and you can't help but be swept up in the pride and passion in his voice. While reaching 50 years in the business is a milestone he is extremely proud of, what currently excites him is their evolution into retailing classic cars alongside their custom builds.
Their growing collection of classic cars and the increasing demand for them, have prompted the Williamson family to include a retail sales arm. 'We appreciate that classic car owners are a discerning and passionate group of people, but not everyone is in a position to build their own car, so retailing classics is a great way of making them available to a wider market,' Williamson says.
Son and general manager Nick says they are well-placed to focus on selling classic cars alongside their IMS-owned bodywork shop Accent Panel & Paint. Accent is known for their rigorous pursuit of perfection when it comes to repair work.
'We are able to repair the common steel panel as well as aluminium and plastic, which means we can assist people with their own restoration projects as well as our custom builds.'
'And of course at Accent we offer services from small touch-ups to complete repaints and smash repairs,' he adds.
Nick's brother Jonathan, who manages business division, Swank Auto Grooming (Swank), chips in, 'We are also looking at developing a hands-on seminar on 'How to Care for your Classic'. So often we are contacted for advice around repairs, servicing and cosmetic maintenance of classic cars; it makes sense for us to share our knowledge and help people keep them in top condition in between services.'