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Material sought for film on Bruce McLaren’s life

15 December, 2015

Acclaimed director Roger Donaldson (The Bank Job, The Recruit, Cocktail), is making a feature documentary on the life of Bruce McLaren, a New Zealander who was well-known internationally as a race car driver, designer, and inventor in the 1950s and ’60s.

Donaldson is hunting for rare audio-visual material (photographs, home movies, audio recordings, etc.) of McLaren, who founded the highly successful Formula One McLaren Motor Racing Team.

Donaldson, a motor racing fan, directed The World’s Fastest Indian, starring Anthony Hopkins, about another New Zealand speed pioneer, Burt Munro.

“Legendary Kiwi race car driver and engineer Bruce McLaren was tragically killed testing one of his cars in 1970,” Donaldson says. “We are very keen to find archival footage that documents this extraordinary New Zealander’s life. So, if you have or know the whereabouts of any potentially interesting film, please be in touch with us. Photographs, home movies, souvenirs; if it is about Bruce, we would love to see it.”

The film’s producers feel there may be more treasures yet to be located, possibly in England, where he lived, and Europe and USA, where he raced.

The film is produced by Matthew Metcalfe (Beyond the Edge, The Dead Lands), through his company General Film Corporation, and Fraser Brown (Orphans & Kingdoms). It has investment from the New Zealand Film Commission, Images & Sound, and The Giltrap Group.

The producers ask that anyone with material featuring Bruce McLaren, or associated people in his life during the 1950s and ’60s, contact researcher Pheobe Shum at [email protected]

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.

Travelling companion

It’s easy to see why the Morris Minor Traveller was one of the best-loved variants of the Morris Minor. Introduced in 1953, it was equipped with the same independent torsion bar front suspension, drum brakes, and rack and pinion steering as its saloon sibling but, with their foldable rear seat increasing versatility, many Travellers were used as trade vehicles, says Derek Goddard. Derek and Gail Goddard, the owners of this superbly restored example, have run Morris Minors since before they were married in 1974.
“Our honeymoon vehicle was a blue Morris Minor van — it was a rust bucket,” says Derek.