The Machining Man: Why Buy Parts When You Can Make Them – Speedhunters

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Gordon was also responsible for launching Gary’s racing career when he was just 10 years old, starting in Formula M, which are motorcycle-powered single seaters. Gary helped his dad build, design, race and prepare these cars well into his teens.

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Over many years, Gary won multiple championships and even raced a TVR Chimaera at one point. And when he wasn’t racing, he was in the shop building and tuning cars with his father’s guidance.

Naturally, Gary developed a number of skillsets, including design, fabrication, welding, tuning and engineering. The father and son pair also did their own fiberglass work, painting, milling and turning on the lathe.

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By this point Gary knew he’d be around cars for life, so he embarked on a proper apprenticeship under Dennis Temple, a revered local designer and builder of Formula Ford and Formula GTi cars. Dennis originally studied under Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus Cars, so there was no shortage of knowledge to be passed down.

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In 2001, Gary became a qualified automotive machinist, and after subsequently working with a local tuner and doing machining work for Hyundai in their South African factory, he started The Machining Man in 2007.

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Being a machinist and owning a Haas 4-axis CNC machine, Gary has built everything from bushes for a wheelbarrow to aviation parts, weapon components, movie industry props, decorative furniture and everything in-between. Then’s the automotive work…

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As you’ll be able to tell from these pictures, Gary has become a bit of a Nissan Skyline specialist. He loves working on them and previously owned an R33 GT-R which he modified extensively. It was in that car that Gary was infamously caught by a speed camera doing 261km/h on the way to a track meet. Ironically, the event was called Fastest Streetcar.

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I don’t think there are many car enthusiasts that don’t love a Skyline. Am I right?

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This BNR34 was originally built by ‘Smoky’ Nagata at Top Secret in Japan before being imported to South Africa over a decade ago. It was in at Gary’s shop for some TLC.

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This genuine Stagea 260RS Autech is another customer car that Gary is doing some update work on. I would love a wagon like this.

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You might remember this amazing Datsun 280ZX build, that I recently featured. It’s currently being finished off and I hope to see it running soon.

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Designing and manufacturing proprietary parts for GT-Rs is something Gary has a huge interest in. He’s produced everything from intake manifolds to billet main caps for RB26 engines, not to mention building big-power RB30 blocks. One of Gary’s latest tricks is a BMW DCT conversion, which he’s applied to a few GT-R builds and is currently putting behind a Mazda 13B engine. It’s all done in-house, which is pretty cool.

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It’s not all Skylines though. This short-wheelbase Land Cruiser is currently receiving a full drivetrain conversion from a modern version.

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Whether it’s a JDM car, a muscle car or any other custom build, everything is treated to the same attention to detail and workmanship in Gary’s care. I’ll be taking a closer look at this red pickup called Chilli Mouse soon. Gary built this one as tribute to his late father.

This VR6 Turbo was also built by The Machining Man, and will be returning to the shop once the owners have finished the 4WD conversion.

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If you think a normal Mini is fun, how about this one with a Suzuki Hayabusa motor in the rear.

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When it comes to building a dream car, you’re often held back by parts not being available to buy, or even because a specific part for your unique project doesn’t exist. In that respect, shops like The Machining Man are really great, as they allow interesting builds to actually come to fruition. I personally cannot wait to see how some of Gary’s future DCT gearbox conversions turn out.

Stefan Kotzé
Instagram: stefankotzemedia

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