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Flashback to the very first Targa New Zealand

24 January, 2016

It’s been 20 years since the very first Targa New Zealand took place in 1995 — and in the years between then and now, the event has been through many changes. 

In 1995, the majority of the entrants drove classic cars, while today’s larger fields include fewer classics, although older competition cars still make up a good proportion of the Targa field. 
However, the challenge laid down by Targa New Zealand remains unchanged — there are no quick sprints to the finish but tenacity, consistent driving and dogged determination will be rewarded by the satisfaction of overcoming all odds to cross the finish line at the end of the event. 

This month we look back at the inaugural Targa New Zealand through the snaps we took at the time, to give readers a taste of the action.

The late-Malcolm Flynn was a popular entrant during Targa’s early years in QUIK E, his rapid E-Type.

All the way from Otago: Paul Coghill’s Triumph Vitesse.

Although not the real thing, Steve Strain’s Lancia Stratos replica was a welcome addition to the inaugural Targa.

Crowds gather to examine the Targa cars prior to the running of the Prologue stages at Pukekohe Park Raceway, Labour Weekend 1995.

Yes, that’s a Miami Vice Ferrari Testa Rossa — alas, following an altercation with a power pole, the Ferrari only finished the event when driver Dennis Chapman rolled one of those fancy alloy wheel across the line.

Our very first Targa cover car — Graeme Pearce’s gorgeous Escort RS1600. This car was actually the sister car to Hannu Mikkola’s Heatway Rally–winning car.

Instantly recognizable, Mark Parsons’ Triumph TR7 V8 Rallye seen here in its original colour scheme.

OK, there’s a de Dion axle under there somewhere! The Fraser Cars team fettle the boss’ Targa ride.

The first service stop on Targa ’95 at Te Rapa’s Wings & Wheels complex — long since demolished to make way for a shopping centre.

Targa cars take a break from the action for a well-deserved lunch stop.

Cars line up in the wet for a sprint around Te Rapa.

Former New Zealand rally champion, Blair Robson, at speed in his Lotus-Cortina MkII — this car would survive Targa ’95 and grace the cover of our Targa ’96 Programme edition.

Looking like a Le Mans racer, this is Georgie William’s Kiwi-designed and built Saker SV1.

Neil Ashmead’s De Tomaso Mangusta on the look out for a tasty Cobra.

Mal Clark’s By’Gone Autos team — many years later, Mal’s Lotus-Cortina would travel to Japan after being purchased by a Japanese classic car collector.

The overnight stop and motor show at the Great Lakes Centre in Taupo.

Lance Evans’ McLaren M6GT replica gets a spot of TLC at a scheduled service stop.

Entered by the father-and-son team of Damon and Lester Summerfield —  two farmers from Darfield — this lovely Dino 246GT looked the part even when it’s V6 was laying down a smoke-screen.

More servicing action at Te Rapa.

 The very first Targa winner — Greg Graham holds the Targa ’96 plate aloft.

This article was originally published in New Zealand Classic Car Issue No. 288. You can pick up a print copy or a digital copy of the magazine below:


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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?