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Rob McLaren

New Zealand air conditioning craftsman.

Rob is one of those disappearing breed called the true craftsman. This man can still make a heat exchange coil, or a wiring loom with his bare hands. In 1964, when Rob left school, he and his Mum went to a parent teacher interview, only to be told that he was taking all the wrong courses. On the spur of the moment, they drove into Baigents Matamata garage, saw a sign for an apprenticeship in the window and Rob became an apprentice Motor Mechanic. Following Robs career path from there takes us backwards and forwards across the Tasman, each time, picking up new skills in the air conditioning industry.

Rob spent five years with SCLEX in Perth, working on Mark IV, Unicla and Deisel Kiki units in trucks, buses boats and cars. He became involved in running auto air conditioning classes on servicing and fitting air conditioning for Ford, Holden and Leyland for Smith industries. Rob returned to New Zealand and Coolcars in Auckland at a time when air conditioning was still exclusive and usually seen in European and US vehicles only and Coolcars was the pioneer a/c company in NZ. Rob was particularly good at making up a/c systems for one off applications involving hand made components.

In 1994, he joined a company a little closer to home, Autokool Hamilton, where owners Stuart and Mary Helm were happy to take on someone with Robs industry experience. He continues to excel at making and adapting things with his hands. Rob has continued to pass on his knowledge to many of the newer people in the industry while working with them and still continues in a hands on position today passing his knowledge to the pioneers of the future.