PAUL Gibson is no stranger to New Zealand’s custom car scene. His rotary-powered, Joker-themed Ford Courier was so popular, VIP Pet Foods magnate and known car guy Tony Quinn bought it for his Queenstown museum, display and all.
Bat-itude smashed it at the 2019 Four & Rotary North Island Jamboree, winning Best Piston Conversion, Best Piston Vehicle Overall, Best Ford, Best Displayed, Best Undercarriage, Best Modified and People’s Choice, among others. All the tinware couldn’t distract from those massive Wilwoods peeking out behind Minilite-style Rota RBs, though
Seven years in the build, Paul’s latest creation, a 105E Ford Anglia dubbed Bat-itude, copped a reveal worthy of the Detroit Autorama at NZ’s 2019 Four & Rotary North Island Jamboree. Smoke machines pumped thick, Gotham City-spec smog around the car as Batman himself appeared, grim-faced and strong-jawed, to glare at wrongdoers.
When the black cover was pulled off, the crowd was floored; the Anglia was barely recognisable, with a severe roof chop, extended arches, huge Rota RB rims and large, Batmobile-like fins featuring Cadillac bullet lenses. The more you look, the more there is; not only is the Anglia running a built Barra with a massive BorgWarner S400, but the whole body has been sectioned and widened 75mm each side to fit it.
“I thought I’d put a rotor in it like last time,” Paul says. “But my boss said: ‘Like hell you will!’ and we went with the Barra.” Although the considerable drive bangs through a HiLux diff and axles, the majority of the undercarriage remains Ford, with a drag-spec C4 trans sitting behind a crossmember, struts and hubs all sourced from a V6 Capri.
The original turbo Barra motor was rebuilt with bigger cams and some other goodies to accept force from a monster BorgWarner S400 turbo, polished to the hilt. Expect well over 1000hp from 18psi. Graeme Lett and Tim Patterson from Engine Rebuilders Wanganui were instrumental not only in building the tough Barra but completing the car
Steering is via a Mondeo column and wheel, while BF Falcon instruments reside in a fully custom steel dash. “Rockford Fosgate came on board and supplied all the car audio,” Paul explains. “Two amps, two subs, eight speakers, six tweeters and a DVD system with reversing camera; they’re one of the biggest sponsors I’ve had.”
Show duties are now a priority, but Paul has plans to hang a plate on it: “It’s three-quarters of the way through the certification. Once it has a Warrant of Fitness, it will be road-legal.”
We look forward to delving into this car in greater detail soon, but for the time being, tell your friends, tell all your friends: it’s Batman’s.
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Street Machine is the bible of Aussie modified auto culture, celebrating wild muscle cars, customs and hot rods – and the incredible humans who create them.
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