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Shorter and earlier Targa New Zealand event impresses

10 November, 2016

This year’s Targa New Zealand event was both shorter and held earlier in the month of October than previous ones, starting at Wairakei, just north of Taupo, on Thursday, October 13, and finishing — with another memorable flourish courtesy of the local classic car enthusiasts — at Havelock North on Sunday, October 16. In-between were 640.7km of special stages, and 962km of touring from Taupo to Otorohanga in the north, Feilding to the south, and Havelock North to the east.

The new earlier date — conveniently freeing up Labour Weekend for competitors and volunteers alike — and the more compact event footprint obviously found favour with competitors and Targa tourists.

We’ve included a few additional photos that didn’t make it into the feature in the December issue of New Zealand Classic Car (Issue No. 312) — grab your copy below to read the full story.

NZCC312 Cover.jpg

Penny’s Pagoda – Mercedes Benz 230 SL

We scouted out a few different locations for photographing this car, but they all had one thing in common. At every stop, people could not help but come up and compliment owner Penny Webster on her stunning Horizon Blue Mercedes 230 SL.
There’s something about the ‘Pagoda’ Mercedes — so-called because the distinctive dipping curve of its roofline echoes that of the famous Eastern tiered temples — that encourages people to speak up.
Many classic cars attract a second look, but in most cases people keep their thoughts to themselves. It was striking how many people felt the need to express the warmth of their feelings about this car.
The expansive glass cockpit, the friendly, subtle lines, and its simple three-box shape seem to encourage openness among passers-by.

Motorsport Flashback – Kiwi rallying in the 1970s

Rallying arrived in New Zealand in 1973 like a tsunami. It had been only a few years since the sport was introduced here and shortly afterwards Heatway came on board as the sponsor to take rallying to a new level. The 1973 Heatway would be the longest and biggest yet, running in both islands with 120 drivers over eight days and covering some 5400 kilometres. The winner was 31-year-old Hannu Mikkola — a genuine Flying Finn who had been rallying since 1963 before putting any thoughts of a career on hold until he completed an economics degree. The likeable Finn became an instant hero to many attracted to this new motor sport thing. I was one of them.