The new owner of Christchurch's priciest stately Thornycroft home at $ 6.8 million has been revealed as rich lister Tracy Gough who said he bought it because it was "a work of art".
The Gough family fortune is estimated to be worth $ 370m, although its siblings have their own individual business interests in addition to shareholdings in Gough Group, importers of industrial vehicle brands such as Caterpillar.
Gough said he would maintain the Fendalton property in its current majesty except for an out-of-sight, in-style garage to house his seven collectibles.
"There will be no changes, it's nice as it's. It's been extensively renovating costing close to $ 4m."
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The renovations were carried out after the 2011 earthquakes that affected a number of Glandovey Rd properties where the house stands because they have a Wairarapa Stream boundary and waterway properties were most affected by land movement and liquefaction.
Gough previously owned a house nearby overlooking the stream and retains the 1600 sure meter section that he will sell to help offset the price he paid for Thornycroft. He also received a $ 4m payout from the write off of that house. Some flats he owns in the neighborhood have been repaired.
The repairs to Thornycroft included new weatherboards, interior claddings, and removal of chimneys.
The property had a lower rating value at $ 3.1m, but the value of repair work was in excess of what many people would pay for a new property, and it was true of many Christchurch properties that were repaid to a much higher value than owners would have done, he said.
"I fell in love with it years ago when I used to ride it as a schoolboy When it came up for auction I lived in fear for more than a month that someone like Shania Twain would see it and buy it because money is no object to some of those people.
"One of the reasons I bought it was because I planned to build a new house after the demolition of my other property there but my son he would probably sell it after I died, and I want to leave a family legacy, which will be Thornycroft. "
Gough son, Jamie, is a Christchurch City Councillor. He and his wife have a baby, Tracy's first grandchild, who he said will be a regular visitor.
"It's a beautiful property when you stand at the front of the driveway and look up at the tall trees it's like being in the nature of the cathedral, if you're not awestruck by it you're not alive."
Gough said he saw his motor cars in a similar way – they were artwork rather than machines to be tested for their speed.
His collection included an E-type Jaguar, a Bentley, and a convertible Rolls Royce. Most of them were bought at reduced prices, either because they were former demonstration cars or for other reasons. But as collectors they would increase in value one day, he said.
One of the other improvements Gough might make at Thornycroft was to install a better swimming pool heater to replicate the one he had at his current $ 2m to $ 3m residence in Golden Elm Lane.
"I love swimming, I have the pool well heated and I can put YouTube on the sound system and listen to orchestral music while swimming in this wonderful warmth."
Gough has other commercial property interests such as the former Tiffanys restaurant site he is restoring for reopening soon.
But he also puts time aside to help take art lessons for elderly people.
"It's so nice to give something back, it's wonderful to see the sense of satisfaction when people complete a drawing or painting.
"I'm 74 now. My great grandmother arrived on the Randolph in 1850. They only had a dream, and their gardening skills, so I think I'm a awfully lucky person to be able to buy Thornycroft.