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NZ Classic Car magazine, July/August 2024 issue 394, on sale now

Big brash and beautiful
Faced with the possibility of scrapping his cherished 1973 Ford Falcon XA GT 351 Hardtop, David Chase took the plunge, delivering it into skilled hands at Matamata Panelworks. It’s now a stunning classic and 2023 Ellerslie Intermarque Concours Masters Class winner.
This big Aussie brute of a car is our stunning cover car for this issue and the restoration journey of this classic is a fascinating tale with a jaw dropping result.
“Rarely do these Ford Falcon 351 GT hardtops last long in their original state as they are either modified, raced, or rust results in them being scrapped. They are already a rare sight on New Zealand roads and survivors turning up at car shows are well-restored as their values skyrocket past the A$200,000 mark. This is especially the case with David’s car, for a particular reason.
“Surprisingly, it’s an all matching numbers car. Yep, that’s pretty cool. A lot of them lost their motors early on, but mine’s still matching so that’s pretty good and I’m very happy about that.”
With a restoration bill approaching the $200K mark, David is thrilled to see a recent valuation well in excess of the figure.”

Class struggle

For a British car, it is huge; for those sitting inside, the bonnet seems to extend past the horizon. The front seats are very comfortable rather than body hugging. The dashboard and centre console cluster are beautifully laid out, reminiscent of a fighter plane cockpit, with acres of red leather all around. Its V8 burble is on show. It is not a car to sneak about in, and it gets attention wherever it goes.
The large back window, possibly the best-known feature of the Interceptor and one that sets it apart, has very good functionality, allowing greater access to the boot. It would not be an easy job to replace it, so Interceptor owners are careful about reversing and not hitting anything.

The super-detailed point of difference

Tony Lyne has been building models for as long as he can remember, and he has realised his love for classic Formula 1 in spectacular fashion. As a teenager, Tony was drawn to the ‘elbows out’ style of racing required to keep cars of that era on Formula 1 circuits the world over and the technological race to improve them.
It is hard to fully understand the time, patience, and nerve-racking moments that go into a super-detailed work of art. However, hearing people utter “Where do you put the keys in to start it?”, and watching their eyes bulge as they carefully inspect the finished product, shows that all the hours spent in the spare room looking through the magnifying glass were well spent. These kitsets may have started out as a mere humble model, but they have ended up as true scale works of automotive art.

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1955 Chevrolet Pickup – Four-by-four for town and country

The half-ton truck here is a four-wheel drive 1955 Chevrolet owned by Murray Robinson, a car enthusiast who has owned many American cars, following the footsteps of his parents who have owned even more. Murray’s first car was a 1952 Chevrolet which he still owns. He also owns a 1956 panel truck that featured in the Daily Driver section of an earlier issue of  New Zealand Classic Car magazine.
The ’55-’59 Task Force pickups and trucks which also featured a panel van and station wagon in the range have always been popular and downright cool.

Saltwater Creek Garage

After passing by this building for many years, I decided to call in and ask the owner about his garage and the car that had been parked there. It was a 1982 Hyundai Pony 1200 TLS that he’d inherited from his mother who had bought it when it was nearly new. I was fortunate enough to buy it from him — many had approached him over the years but were turned away. After sitting out there for that long you could not imagine how dirty it was. At least it had never been wet in all that time. The interior is a mid-blue and almost like new — in fact his mother, Irene, had still retained the original factory-fitted thick clear-plastic cover over the mid-blue vinyl door panels.

Spectacular historic racing at Phillip Island did not disappoint the large crowd

This year 32 car clubs displayed a total of 1,100 cars — a magnificent sight as well as being an added attraction for the thousands of spectators who braved the very hot weather. There is a pavilion on that same stretch of the circuit that houses stalls offering books, models, enamel signs, parts and all manner of motoring bric-a-brac plus more car displays.
Kiwi Codie Banks dominated all the F5000 races in his Lola T332. For the first race he was joined on the front row of the grid by his father David in his Talon MR1.

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Lunch with … Roger Bailey

Roger’s story is a classic illustration of what hard work, honesty to the point of brutal frankness, a ‘can-do’ approach, and a racer’s brain can get you in this sport of car racing. Roger, or ‘Boost’ as he’s known up and down the pitlanes of America, was who Kenny Smith turned to when he was dragging a reluctant teenager around the different pit garages at Laguna Seca.
“Scott [Dixon] kept complaining that it was too hot and he just wanted to go back to the hotel pool. I had to tell him that I was trying to secure his future — we weren’t getting much of a look in until we saw Roger who knew everyone and set about introducing Scott as New Zealand’s next big thing.

Aspen Siris — A roadster for the wrong time

When I visited George Spratt’s workshop in Auckland, I was impressed with the number of vehicles he had tucked away, mostly hybrid or fully electric. Many of them had started life being petrol powered but George has been tinkering with converting conventionally powered cars to electrical propulsion since the mid ’70s.
The Horizon was George’s first attempt at building a car; it was an evolution of ideas about what was considered to be ideal for a car at that time. The shape and style were governed by the choice of running gear and power plant. The size of the garage restricted walk-around viewing, and it was not until it was almost finished that George was able to push the car out of the garage to get the full picture.

TVR Tasmin — proper wedge

Neville Wilson of Napier has been a keen member of the Vintage Car Club for most of his life. He showed me the collection of cars in his garage, including a 1937 Dodge Coupe he has owned for 25 years. Behind that was a 1929 OHC Morris Minor that has been in the family for even longer. It was considered a good buy in 1961. Now retired, Neville enjoys going for runs with other
club members, especially on balmy spring days in a car with the roof down. What could be better than doing it in an old roadster, preferably something with a bit more get up and go than the Morris, lovely though it is? Its 20bhp (15kW) 847cc engine makes it considerably faster than a single horse and cart but not much else.

Taipan – surpassing interest

“It’s merely a passing interest,” insists Selby — despite owning three variants of the classic VW Beetle, including an unusual VW van that was sold as a body kit for a Subaru. In his defence he points to a 1961 Ford Thunderbird, a car that he converted to right-hand drive. However, on the VW side of the ledger, since he opened Allison Autos in Whanganui 27 years ago, Selby has built 15 VW-powered Formula First cars, followed by a beach buggy, restored a derelict Karmann Ghia, and hot-rodded a common or garden Beetle into something that has to be seen to be believed. As speed is not something generally associated with classic VWs, though, Selby is still waiting for this particular modification to catch on amongst the hot rod faithful.

Big jump at Cromwell

Kicking off the event, the Alpine Street Machines’ Friday cruise to Bannockburn and back on the Friday was easily the biggest in the event’s history. Some 380 cars created a wondrous spectacle for unsuspecting fellow road users that day, potentially tempting some to take a closer look in Cromwell over the weekend.
Saturday’s car show, organised by the Southland Ford Falcon Club at the Alpha St reserve, drew perhaps a thousand or more gleaming examples of interesting cars and applied restoration skills. Chrome and flashing paintwork dazzled the eye in the bright Central Otago light everywhere you looked. It really looked as if everyone with a classic or a hot rod from across the island had seen the forecast for great weather and headed for Central Otago.

A passion for classics and customs

In the highly competitive field of New Zealand classic and custom restorations, reputations are won or lost on the ability to maintain consistently high standards of workmanship. A company managing to achieve this is D A Panel beating Ltd, of Rangiora near Christchurch. Is your classic or custom car restoration stalled, or in need of a refresh, or perhaps you are looking for experts to rebuild that recent import project out of Europe or the ‘States?

Protect your investment

Total Lube Guide gives you the good oil Choosing the right fluids for your car, and refreshing them regularly, is the best form of preventive maintenance. It makes driving more

Croz: Straight up

During the COVID lockdown, Michael Clark had to forego lunches with motorsport celebrities but he interviewed motorcycle racer Graeme Crosby on his direct route into the Grand Prix ranks via Zoom.
“My first actual race was at Porirua on a circuit set up around the shopping centre. I was riding a little 350cc Kawasaki, an Avenger, which was a little two-stroke 350 rotary valve with something like 10hp. Suddenly, I found myself in third spot and I’m thinking this is actually pretty good. Anyway, I think I got in second spot and we only had a couple of laps to go and I overcooked a corner and ran wide. Health and safety back in those days required you to keep the crowd back, so they got a piece of rope and tied it around a 44-gallon drum, then a 10-metre gap, and another 44-gallon drum, and so on — and I went over the kerb at great speed. I still finished second — with one of those 44-gallon drums following behind in third place. Yeah, it was a bit of an experience.”

Romancing the automobile and motor racing in art

The glamour and excitement of the automobile first had an impact on me through car advertisements. Growing up on Auckland’s North Shore in the conservative early ’60s, there wasn’t much dynamic stuff going on. Everything was pretty bland and socially constrained, but there were glimpses of a world beyond that lay just out of our grasp. One of these early influences was a pile of late ’50s National Geographic magazines. We received these on subscription from a generous uncle in North America. It wasn’t the articles we were poring over though, it was the advertising, particularly the art-styled American car adverts.
The evocative, lusciously coloured and boldly styled auto adverts hit me like a juggernaut.