Getting to know our business community Peter Scherf, Waikowhai Auto Shoppe
Isaac finds himself well and truly stuck
You’ve been looking forward to your family holiday for months. Then, days before you are due to leave, your car throws a major wobbly. The dismal prospect of a delayed or abandoned holiday replays through your mind like a Chevy Chase movie.
We were faced with exactly that scenario last Easter; days away from a once in a lifetime adventure with the NZ Military Vehicle Club (NZMVC) to spend the weekend living on base at Waiouru Military Camp, our 28-year-old Land Rover boiled over on the motorway.
What to do? Despite Land Rover trying to turn all owners into mechanics since 1948, I refuse to submit and prefer to employ a professional. So it was off to Waikowhai Auto Shoppe where Peter Scherf and Keegan Maisey got straight onto it and pulled out the radiator. When Keegan inadvertently unbolted the bonnet stay, the Landie bit him, but life happens, right? The radiator guy recommended a new core for $1,400 but the parts would not be available before Easter.
Solution: fix the damage to the radiator, clean it out and give it a go. Peter and Keegan are both talented mechanics who just love to get broken things going again, and actually this turned out to be one of the easier repairs – Peter had already rebuilt the transfer box earlier.
What is the value of a family holiday? What is it worth to find a tradesman who you can trust? Peter has looked after my vehicles for over a decade, and has kept our 80-year-old 1940 Dodge pickup humming. I’ve used the “desperately need help” card several times - the old wagons seem to know when they are about to leave the warm garage on a long trip and they often dig their toes in just when you are ready to go. However last year, Peter did a superb job of preparing the Dodge for us before we drove down to Warbirds Over Wanaka - a four week, 4,000km trip completed with no mechanical issues.
Pete working on the Landie
Pete working on the Dodge
Peter loves old vehicles and has a 1955 Dodge of his own. Nothing is a problem to him. He first got into mechanics in 1982 and fondly remembers his father messing around with the old British cars of the day. Peter says “It feels good helping someone out who is in a desperate situation. We drop whatever we are doing to fix the problem to make their day better.”
The day I did this interview, a long-time customer named Trevor had just had his car repaired, serviced and warranted. Trev used to live just around the corner from the workshop and became friends with Peter. Now Trev lives in Tauranga but still comes back a couple of times a year to get his car serviced and the WOF done at Waikowhai.
Peter is married to Deran and they have two sons. Deran says that Peter has a real passion for all things mechanical. After working all day on cars, he comes home and relaxes watching more car and mechanical shows on the internet.
The Easter trip played out well - both the Landie and the Dodge drove to Waiouru and back ok, as well as roaming all over the 63,000ha training area. It was a fantastic experience with like-minded friends.
Our son Isaac and his girlfriend Monica drove the Land Rover and he gave it heaps up hill and down. Possibly trying too hard to impress, he broke away from the convoy and headed for a large puddle. He powered into the water and promptly got the Landie bellied on deep tracks made by the Army’s armoured LAVs. It’s always funny when someone else gets stuck, and the team had a few laughs.