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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:


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?