Rod Tempero works out of a rickety old shed in Oamaru, New Zealand, stumbling over chickens and ducks as he hammers out sheet metal based on a hand-drawn picture on a chalkboard. This may not sound like a canvas for exquisite creations, and yet some of the world's best automotive replicas derive from here.
A recent project of his was to build a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO for client John Rietveld. Ferrari only built 39 GTOs, and when one arrives for sale, records are typically broken; just last August one sold at auction for $38.1 million, while a privately sold GTO reportedly changed hands for $52 million a year earlier. Tempero offers non-billionaires a realistic (albeit likely still expensive) way to own a near-perfect replica.
Unlike Ferrari's old team in Maranello, Tempero has just a couple of young guys helping him. Everything is done by feel and by touch, and yet the results look as if they've been blessed by Enzo himself. It took four years to complete the project, but Rietveld never once asked when it would be ready, understanding that this level of craftsmanship takes time.
And the results are sensational, from the engine note (which derives from a genuine Ferrari V-12 from a 325 GTO), to the apparent crispness of the gear changes, to the car's proportions, even to the authentic wooden steering wheel. According to Rietveld, Jay Leno has reached out to Tempero, such is the brilliance of his work.
And it's easy to see why, chicken shed and all.