Welcome to Rodin Cars

Rodin Cars is dedicated to designing, developing and building the world’s very best, maximum-performance cars for the track and road.

Located on a beautiful 1450-acre property in North Canterbury, New Zealand, Rodin Cars features a state-of-the-art factory and test facility like no other. Complete with 6 kilometres of test tracks, large workshops brimming with cutting edge machinery, a pit garage with hospitality and training centre, a range of driver training track cars, and we have everything on-site required to ensure 100% self sufficiency.

This ‘do it ourselves’ attitude not only allows us to control every aspect of business, from design and testing, through to manufacture, construction and sales, but also ensures we maintain exceptionally high levels of build quality, unparalleled customer service and satisfaction with every car sold – This is the Rodin Way…

1980

Background

David Dicker didn’t grow up in a car-loving family. His initial passion was sailing small boats. He started at age 14 and spent 10 years deeply involved in sailing. Like everyone else he knew, he got his driver’s licence at the age 17 and soon discovered how much fun driving was. In those days, the roads were much less crowded, the Police much less aggressive and it was still possible to enjoy a good drive.

 

By age 20, David had a kit car, a Bolwell Mk7. He spent the next few years working on it, reading all the technical books he could find and generally enjoying both the engineering and the driving. He had nowhere near enough money to even consider motor racing, although he followed it closely.

 

When David was 25, his interest turned to business and the dreams of building cars were far in the back of his mind for the next 20 years, but never entirely forgotten.

1999

Beginnings

The Rodin Project, Genesis, started way back in 1999 when David first acquired a property in NZ. David hoped Genesis would become the project base for Rodin Cars. At the time he had a successful IT distribution business in Australia, but was not actively involved in the day to day operations.

 

So why not pursue the project in Australia, with its bigger, wealthier markets? By the year 2000, the government, police and mainstream media had pretty much destroyed the Australian car culture. A mindless focus on speed with the attendant draconian fines and disqualifications had removed cars, especially the fun factor, from the thoughts of most Australians whereas New Zealand still had a vibrant car scene.

 

So, a few hundred acres of rural land was acquired in the South Island with the idea of building the test tracks and other facilities required. Some initial work was done, but it soon became apparent that this location wouldn’t be suitable. Nor was the necessary budget in place at that stage.

2000

First Start

In 2002 Rodin Cars took on a GT1 car and project that had been developed by Lola, in 1999, for a customer in the UK. This was a 2 seater Le Mans car that could potentially form the basis of both a road car and a car for the track. The budget was still not in place and it was soon obvious that the raison d’etre of the car wasn’t clear. What was the project aiming to achieve? Even David wasn’t sure. To put another 2-seat supercar into a market that, even then, was crowded seemed likely to fail. There was no clear-cut goal with either car.

2005

Second Start

In 2005, David and his wife moved to a property that was much more suitable for the project. It was still in the South Island of NZ, but 125km north of Christchurch, rather than 95km south. This much larger property, over 1400 acres, was on a tar sealed road frontage, whereas the old property had a kilometre of dirt road as the only access way. Once established at Wandle Downs, with a better budget in place, construction began on the facility while planning for the test tracks took place.

 

David had come to the conclusion that the two-seater idea was dead, so the decision was made to build a single seat car that would be designed only for the track, with the aim of lapping faster than any other contemporary competition car. That was the genesis of the FZero. A road version of the car, with the same single seat configuration, was also planned.

 

Now there was a very clear goal and David knew exactly what he was wanting to do.

2006

New Direction

The next few years were spent designing the car entirely on computers. The budget required was also looking much more achievable.

 

David then hired his first employee, Ritchie, who was tasked with building the test tracks.

 

Rather than go the conventional route using contractors, equipment was purchased; excavators, bulldozer, rollers, and trucks and all the base work was done within the company. It may have taken a little longer but costs were certainly less. However, the real advantage was being able to obsess over the details to get things exactly right, and if it wasn’t right, it could be done again.

2016

The Real Start

By the start of 2016, yes it took a while, David was in position with a budget that he knew would be adequate to do whatever it took to get the facility and the FZero to the market. In January, 3 mechanical engineers; Adam, Matt and Zac started work and a lot more machinery was acquired. Now Rodin had the equipment and the manpower to make things happen.

2016

The Lotus connection

Completely out of the blue, in January of 2016, David received an email from Lotus Cars offering their T125 project for sale. Five minutes after getting the email, David had negotiated a deal.

 

The T125 was conceived by Lotus as a car that looked like a current competition car, drove like one, yet could be run by competent amateurs. A very good stepping stone to the FZero.

 

Rodin acquired the project and shipped all the components and designs down to New Zealand to form the basis of a car now called the Rodin FZed.

2017

The FZed is born

Using the Lotus T125 project purely as a starting point, David and his team team spent many months re-designing, testing and developing an uncompromising new car called the Rodin FZed.

The result is a stunning purpose built car that combines the very latest design techniques along with state-of-the-art engineering. This recipe delivers an unprecedented level of performance in a package that is not only safe, but also easy to drive, extremely reliable, plus economical to maintain and run.

The FZed has become the ultimate stepping stone for the FZero.

2018

Pit Garage

Our new pit garage allows us to efficiently run the cars for both testing and customer driving. It features all equipment for drive-in, drive-out operation including lifting devices, battery on a trolley, air tools for doing wheels up, fuel trolley and spare tyres.

Founder David Dicker

The founder and owner of Rodin Cars, David Dicker was born in Australia in 1953. In 1978, he started Dicker Data, a company that was involved with the [then new] microcomputers. This company has grown from a 2-person operation into a Publicly Listed company (ASX:DDR) with facilities in both Australia and New Zealand. In 2016, Dicker Data had sales of over AUD1b and profit over AUD35m. The company now has 350 employees. The experience gained with this company is invaluable in the running of Rodin Cars Ltd. The products are different, but the business principles are not.