September 8, 2010

Why the Duzgo went

Comedian Billy Connelly brought it to the world's attention during his tour of New Zealand TV series, and it's recently had another re-airing in the Sounds Historical programme on National Radio – which just goes to show that no matter how hard the bureaucrats tried, you can't keep the Dugzo down. The, um, unusual looking vehicle was developed and produced as the ideal off-road farm vehicle, by two brothers trading as the Duzgo Car Company, of Whataroa in Westland. It performed so well on their farm that word got around and and others wanted a copy of their own.
Apart from the bodywork, bent from new steel, everything else was recycled – a bit of Morris here, a bit of Austin there – but the Customs department of the day deemed those that came off the "production line" to be new vehicles and demanded 30 per cent sales tax on the 10 that had been built.
The company lacked the financial resources to pay and closed – with 15 unfilled orders. An eleventh, partly built, was scrapped, possibly because the Customs men suggested it should be finished and sold to help pay their demands. So much for regional incentives, then.
The Duzgo mainly used a single-cylinder Kohler engine producing 12hp and drove through two gearboxes 12 forward speeds and three reverse. Its lightness, knobby motorcycle tyres and having the right gear for any occasion gave it excellent performance in muddy farm conditions. Although some sources describe it as a 4x4, it was rear-drive.
One Duzgo owner, "Possum" Pete Salter, told 4wdNewz: "When it has been stuck, you can put it in first, put a weight on the pedal, get out and push it out, then walk along side and climb back in." You can see his 1978 Duzgo, the eighth built, at Pukekura, 35 minutes south of Hokitika.


  1. Interesting vehicle, sort of a lightweight Trekka. I like the variety of items you're posting, there is always something interesting.

  2. Can't help it, but on closer viewing the DUZGO can't hide an influence of German Design; it looks like something that has been in 2 World Wars and lost both of them. Nevertheless the craftsmanship is excellent; all 4 wheels seem to touch the ground, so it should roll. Unlike the Bavarian ENZIAN, which had no motor, but a massive brake for downhill travel the DUZGO seems to be able to travel anywhere. Salestip. Wrap it in purple packing paper with a famous logo on it and a tasty bar attached to it and sell it as expensive chocolate. That should attract only GST from the government as the car is a gimmick giveaway.
    Kind regards Victor C. Pankouken

    1. Hi Victor, Im the wife of one of the guys (Kevin and Rodney Giles) that buiolt the Duzgo in the 1970's in Whataroa South Westland New Zealand. They were 23 and 24 years old when they built these vehicles, under the registered name of The Duzgo Manufacturing Company. There were only 10 of these made. Kevin have just restored No.10. There were no design plans or any attempt to make them look like anything. They were just young men making a farm utility vehicle with what they had available at the time and what they could do as young engineers. Any design features were simply what was possible do do at the time. No deliberate copying but like all things everything is ultimately influenced by what works and makes sense with what you have available. Kevin has a business in Christchurch - K.G.Motorcyle Services if you want more information. Cheeers, from his wife Linda Giles

    2. Hi Linda, I've been an admirer of these little Duzgo beauties ever since I was given an article about them over 15 years ago. Please pass on to Kevin & Rodney my best wishes, I take my hat off to them both as engineers far ahead of the 'rat race' world of quads & 4x4' off-roaders. If only the greedy government would have recognised the value & leading edge technology of their fantastic achievement.
      Kindest regards,

    3. Thanks for the nice words. Wished Kevin and Rodney had thought about the chocolate idea of Victors in the early days. Maybe with our Duzgo No10 fully restored now, we could do something wonderful with a variety of chocolate and The Duzgo huh?

  3. Thanks for your interesting comment, Victor. Good marketing idea, too.