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Vale Phil Kerr: 1934–2015

24 August, 2015

Over the weekend of August 22–23, we received news that Phil Kerr had passed away on the morning of Saturday, August 22.

Phil, who told his own story in his superb biography — To Finish First — had a long association with Bruce McLaren, who he first met at a hill climb in which both men were competing.

In 1958, Phil would be one of the three finalists for the New Zealand International Grand Prix (NZIGP) Driver To Europe programme, along with McLaren and Merv Mayo. Bruce was, of course, the winner, but Phil would follow McLaren to Europe the following year anyway to work alongside Australian motorsport royalty Jack Brabham — during that time he would champion Denny Hulme. After Denny won the Formua 1 world championship in 1967, both he and Phil joined up with McLaren, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Photo: Terry Marshall

McLaren’s current boss, Ron Dennis, confirmed Phil Kerr’s contribution to the marque via his own condolences: “Speaking on behalf of all at McLaren, I am very sorry to hear the news that Phil Kerr has passed away. Phil was a McLaren stalwart from the company’s very earliest days … now, decades later, the 3000 people who make up McLaren therefore owe Phil a debt of gratitude. On behalf of us all, I consequently extend heartfelt sympathy to his family and many friends. May he rest in peace.”

Everyone at New Zealand Classic Car magazine and Parkside Media would like to extend their sincere condolences to Patricia Kerr.

Photo: A great partnership — Phil Kerr chats to Bruce McLaren

The Jowett Jupiter turns 70

John Ball has always enjoyed tinkering with old boats and cars. He’s old enough to think having gearbox parts on newspaper on the floor of his bedroom, while the relevant car sat waiting on nail boxes, was a normal part of growing up. His passion has always tended towards old British bangers. He reckons he’s fortunate not to have got caught up in the American muscle scene.
John’s love affair with this Jupiter started in December 2015 when, with some time on his hands during a Christchurch trip, he searched online for ‘cars, before 1970 and in Christchurch’.

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?