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Contesting Bonneville Speed Week in a Mini

17 November, 2016

Kiwis and the salt flats in Utah, USA have a love affair that stretches back to the 1960s with Burt Munroe and his 1920 Indian. Ever since, hot rodders have travelled to the salt flats to battle the extreme elements and push their home-made machines far beyond what any manufacturer ever thought possible. It’s one of those bucket-list challenges that many dream of and few Kiwis actually achieve. 

In NZ Performance Car Issue No. 241 we sit down with the guys behind the Mini known as project 64; a group of Kiwis who have made their dream a reality not once, but twice. In 2016 they set two records, one of which was a reset of a record that they had previously claimed back in 2012. Built by a bunch of mad Kiwis based in Nelson, and with help from the Hartleys in the Manawatu, this little Mini Cooper has received worldwide press for its achievements, including a feature on Jay Leno’s Garage. Check it out here: 

The engine remains the factory 970cc capacity, but surprisingly makes 275kW on methanol, thanks to a BMW K1200GT twin-cam motorcycle head conversion and custom engine internals. The best speed Nelson has squeezed from it is 251.067kph. Grab your copy of NZ Performance Car Issue No. 241 to see what it’s like to run Speed Week, building motors on the salt, shaving your tyres, and pushing both man and machine, just like Burt did back in the ’60s. 

Take an on-board ride with Nelson during their 2012 salt adventures. 

NZ Performance Car Issue No. 241 will be in stores from Monday, November 20, but you can order your print copy now:

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.