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NZV8 Concept Corner: Aston GTX

21 January, 2015

Every month, we ask the cover car owner for the concept that they’d most like to build or see built. You’ve seen what he can do with a Dodge Challenger (NZV8 Issue No. 117), but imagine if Phil Kenny bit the bullet and built the car he’d dreamed of owning since he was a teenager!

“A friend of mine actually had a 1970 GTX when we were at high school, and we used to cruise around in it a bit,” says Phil of the inspiration for his concept. “What I’d really like to do to one though is pretty much exactly what I’ve done with the Challenger, and that is to keep the look of old, but make it drive like new. I’ve got a late-model Aston Martin that I’d love the GTX to drive like. So it’d need a full rebuild from the ground up, including similar suspension and brake work to the Challenger. It’d be great to be able to include things like ABS as well, just to take it to the next level.”

“Looks wise, I think GTXs are best in Plum Crazy purple, so I’d go with that, but add a modern twist with a bit of xyrillic pearl, just to make the curves pop in the sunlight. For wheels, maybe a set of Aston Martin Rapide S 20-inch wheels would help give it a modern flair and would be a bit different from what everyone else has. I’d also shave a few bits of trim and smooth things up a bit, but most importantly get the gaps right, as I can’t stand how badly gapped they were from the factory.”

It’d be nice to go all out on the interior, including a late-model Aston dash and seats, including the electronic gauges and air conditioning setup etc. And under the hood would have to be a late model motor, so if I could find one, a six-litre V12 Aston motor would be the go. They produce 550hp in stock form, so that’d be plenty. Of course, they run a six-speed paddle-shifted gearbox, so it’d be nice to include that also. For ultimate handling, it’d be nice to convert the rear end to IRS, but the reality is building a car like this would just cost far too much. Still, it’d be a cool concept, though!” says Phil.

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.

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.