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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.

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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.

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Think of it as a four-door Cooper

New Zealand Mini Owners Club coordinator Josh Kelly of Dunedin loves his Minis. It’s a family affair. Julie and Mike, Josh’s mum and dad, are just as keen, and they can usually all be found taking part in the club’s annual ‘Goodbye, Pork Pie’ charity run from the North of the country to the South.
But lately Josh’s young head has been turned by some other revolutionary BMC cars. He has picked up a couple of Austin and Morris 1100 and 1300s, which he started to restore — that was until an opportunity arose to buy a rare example stored in a shed.

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The name’s Aston, Aston Martin

Martyn Jagusch didn’t intend to carry out a ground-up restoration on his 1971 Aston Martin DBS V8. Yet one glance at the car’s pristine condition shows he definitely changed his mind — or had it changed for him, which is nearer the truth.
The Aston Martin DBS V8 is a handsome car that only looks better with age. Enthusiasm for Aston’s earlier cars, especially the James Bond-era DB5 and the earlier super-sexy Zagato models, has been skyrocketing for years but appreciation for these larger and less iconic GT cars languished for a time. The V8 is less well recognized as a Bond car even though George Lazenby drove one in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969 as did Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights (1987).

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Spectacular historic racing at Phillip Island did not disappoint the large crowd

This year 32 car clubs displayed a total of 1,100 cars — a magnificent sight as well as being an added attraction for the thousands of spectators who braved the very hot weather. There is a pavilion on that same stretch of the circuit that houses stalls offering books, models, enamel signs, parts and all manner of motoring bric-a-brac plus more car displays.
Kiwi Codie Banks dominated all the F5000 races in his Lola T332. For the first race he was joined on the front row of the grid by his father David in his Talon MR1.

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Rare rotaries gather in the south

The owners want to remain anonymous at this stage, but they are keen to set up a permanent Mazda display in Dunedin as a drawcard for visitors to that city. “We are keen to involve the Dunedin City Council, who could perhaps set us up in a suitable display. It could be big for Dunedin, judging by the popularity of other Mazda displays overseas,” he said.
A Transport World transporter picked up five Mazdas from Cory Wilson’s workshop for the exhibition, meaning the SP’s owner has barely glimpsed it. “It’s been in New Zealand for some eight months, and I’ve barely seen it, as it has been most of that time at Cory’s. I’ve basically just driven it to his workshop and that’s it.”
The five cars shipped to Invercargill included an RX-4, Mazda’s first full-production rotary-powered car the R100, and a Roadpacer — a Holden HZ body fitted with a rotary engine.

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Southern comfort

Derek and Rachel Ayson enjoy cruising southern highways to the easy loping beat of their 1970 Holden HT GTS350 Holden Monaro. Powered by Chevrolet’s popular 350 cu. in. V8, the motor has found favour in many restomod classic cars and developed a great reputation for reliability and satisfying performance.
The car it powers was originally a factory-built GTS in white with a blue interior, fitted with Holden’s 186 cu. in. six. Derek bought it in 2007 from good friends Russell and Catherine Harrex of Dunedin. During the mid 1990s the Harrexes had had the car stripped to bare metal.

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Lunch with… Brian Lawrence

Hearing Brian’s stories at the Levin tribute day (see Motorsport Flashback) made me realise that despite knowing him for nearly 30 years, there was much about his involvement in motor sport that I didn’t know. Since the ‘Lunch with’ series started, we’ve made a point of focusing on other contributors to the sport beyond the drivers. I’ve ‘lunched with’ journalists, a photographer, mechanics, preparation wizards, and F1 team members, but never before a promoter. In the near future we have lunches planned with more drivers, a team owner, and a sponsor, but now is the time to interview Brian David Lawrence.

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NZ Classic Car, March/April 2024 issue 392, on sale now

With this issue 392, we celebrate 60 years of the Ford Mustang.
We commence with a rare Paul Fahey replica Shelby Mustang owned by another kiwi who we should celebrate, Rodger Cunninghame.
Roger has been strutting his stuff with race cars for 50 years now and it seemed appropriate to celebrate both the milestones in this edition even though Roger is retiring from racing now, the Ford Mustang lives on.
Roger is also a longtime member of The Southland Sports Car Club (SSCC) which is also celebrating a big anniversary, its 75th. It sure is celebration time!
Quinton Taylor writes “In 1956, Rodger joined his father Bruce and his mate, club president Des Kilkelly, helping with building new grandstands at Teretonga and the start of a long association with the club.
“I was just a wee kid working with Dad on that. They had been shifted here from some other local sports club and bought here, and they had to put all the seating back on them.”
Rodger always had a liking for making things go faster and it didn’t take him long to tinker with cars as we looked through a couple of very comprehensive scrapbooks recording many amusing moments on and off the racetrack.”

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Romancing the automobile and motor racing in art

The glamour and excitement of the automobile first had an impact on me through car advertisements. Growing up on Auckland’s North Shore in the conservative early ’60s, there wasn’t much dynamic stuff going on. Everything was pretty bland and socially constrained, but there were glimpses of a world beyond that lay just out of our grasp. One of these early influences was a pile of late ’50s National Geographic magazines. We received these on subscription from a generous uncle in North America. It wasn’t the articles we were poring over though, it was the advertising, particularly the art-styled American car adverts.
The evocative, lusciously coloured and boldly styled auto adverts hit me like a juggernaut.

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TVR Tasmin — proper wedge

Neville Wilson of Napier has been a keen member of the Vintage Car Club for most of his life. He showed me the collection of cars in his garage, including a 1937 Dodge Coupe he has owned for 25 years. Behind that was a 1929 OHC Morris Minor that has been in the family for even longer. It was considered a good buy in 1961. Now retired, Neville enjoys going for runs with other
club members, especially on balmy spring days in a car with the roof down. What could be better than doing it in an old roadster, preferably something with a bit more get up and go than the Morris, lovely though it is? Its 20bhp (15kW) 847cc engine makes it considerably faster than a single horse and cart but not much else.

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Formula Ford One Cool Cat

In the ’60s Buick was butting heads with the Mustang and Thunderbird, Corvette, Impala, and many others for eight-cylinder supremacy.
In the Buick stable the most well-known of the marque was the Buick Riviera, a competitor in the American version of the luxury auto market and, while it was a two-door, it wasn’t squarely pitted against the popular Ford Thunderbird. Following the introduction of the Riviera in the early ’60s, Buick released another trophy car, the Wildcat.

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A Giugiaro great

Giugiaro himself — the man who created the Ferrari 250 GT — was pleased with the design that Isuzu had commissioned to be based on a GM Chevette platform. His design, called the Asso di Fiori (Ace of Clubs), was unveiled at the 1979 Tokyo Motor Show to rave reviews. Isuzu fast-tracked it into production.
Carrying the nose forward to refine it just a touch more shows the respect Isuzu had for its lines. It meant engineering in some mechanics to flip up little eyebrows in the bonnet lip to expose more of the lamp glass in this pre high intensity light bulb era. You can imagine most car makers would go, “No, cut it off there”. If Isuzu had, it would certainly have been a less characterful design.
I can remember seeing one or two of them when they were new in the ’80s and feeling a fondness for the car, and for the company that had produced such a clean and restrained design.

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TR7 — legend or lemon?

Stuart Bladon, a long-time motoring journalist who spent 25 years at Autocar magazine in Britain, owned one. He rose to deputy editor before he left in 1981. He likes open air driving but was perturbed by high insurance costs for his modest Peugeot 205 CTi convertible. A friend suggested he swap to a classic car with a much cheaper limited use insurance premium and thus he became the owner of a 24,000 mile TR7 convertible, first registered new in August 1982, a year after production ended.
Bladon was the European correspondent for New Zealand Car magazine and Stuart and his charming wife Jenetta kindly invited my family to lunch at their home in Radlett during our time in Britain in 1987. Later that day Stuart simply had to take me out in his prized red TR7, top down, of course.

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NZ Classic Car, January/February 2024 issue 391, on sale now

Well, love it or hate it, we have to accept the fact that we made this mustard-coloured, Skoda-chassied, fibreglass vehicle and it’s a true Kiwi classic icon now – we are talking about the Trekka.
They were a hard car to like or in any way admire when they came out in the 1960s and to be honest, as kids, we used to point and laugh at them. However, they are our best attempt at a motorcar industry so it’s time to enjoy all there is to know about this truly unique Kiwi-designed farming vehicle. When you see them in the flesh these days, they really have something about them that we can now, actually appreciate and enjoy as the Trekka… is all ours.
It’s time to own it NZ and our cover story this issue is on two beauties, a ute and a station wagon. Enjoy.
“Thanks to Trekka enthusiast Todd Niall, the intriguing tale of this quirky utility vehicle’s singular rise to stardom as New Zealand’s only genuine ‘mass-produced’ car, has been properly told. It’s a story of the founding dynasties of the New Zealand motor industry, political intrigue, and government manoeuvring, recounted in his book The Trekka Dynasty (Iconic Publishing, Auckland). It’s a great read.
For decades, overseas funds were really the only way you could legally bring a new car into New Zealand. That’s because After World War II, the government was becoming increasingly jittery over the worsening balance of exports payments and import licensing was restrictive and competitive.”

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The best of British

There are clues aplenty that this is in fact TWR/018, the genuine V8-engined Rover 3500 SD1 V8 Group A racer built in late 1985 / early 1986 by Tom Walkinshaw Racing in the UK. It was freshened up in Christchurch in the early 1990s by recently retired and relocated TWR engine guru Allan Scott. It is now owned and regularly raced here by keen Wanaka-based classic car owner and driver Allan Dippie. 
Dippie is an active member of the largely South Island–based Historic Touring Cars of New Zealand group which, for the past few years, has been running the increasingly popular and well-supported Archibald’s Historic Touring Car Series.
With so many shells built into race (at least 19) and rally cars (as many as another 13), finding a pukka TWR car for sale has never really been a problem — in the UK.

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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.

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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.

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Super Leicht Gullwing

It’s fair to say that nothing much in the classic Mercedes world gets past Mercedes-Benz Club stalwart Garry Boyce so it wasn’t surprising to learn that around 15 years ago he had sniffed out an extremely rare 300SL lightweight Gullwing as well as a 1958 300SL Roadster hiding away in the Waikato. The cars were not for sale but Garry eventually managed to persuade the owner to allow him and his restoration team to take a look at the Roadster. They discovered a very distressed but largely unmolested car. The car was so original that the body had never been off the chassis, meaning most of the parts and fittings were still present and correct, as they had been fitted by the factory.

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Snake bites twice – 1998 Ford Mustang

The Mustang almost ceased to exist during the late ’80s. Plans were made to replace it with a re-badged front-wheel-drive Mazda MX6. The Fox-body Mustang, barely recognised as a Mustang by the ill-informed, was stumbling towards the end of the longest production run of any Mustang in history, from 1979 to 1993. The third generation Fox-body looked more like a family two-door hatchback than a sports car and sales steadily declined. Ford, who at the time owned a large percentage of Mazda, not wanting to spend money developing a new car for a dying market, believed that a restyled Mazda MX6 might be the cheapest way to give the Mustang brand a shot in the arm.

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Pallas Athena — The French Goddess

Love lost and found again!
Like all cars there are the favourites. When it comes to the Citroën DS, there are those, like Classic and Sports Car and certain former French presidents, who love it, and there are those who think it is an acquired taste.
Stuart Bilbrough sits squarely in the ‘love it’ camp. When seeing his first DS in the late ’80s, owned by Max Earnshaw, a manager at the Christchurch-based accounting firm Stuart had recently joined, he set his sights on owning one.
It wouldn’t be until returning from his long OE in 1999 that he would buy his first DS, a 1974 DS23 from Masterton-based Citroën specialist, Terry Falkner.

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On the road with a GT40

Riding in a genuine Ford GT40 with Geoff Manning is like living a slice of automotive history, as Donn Anderson found out over three decades ago …
The phone call in 1990 was dead easy to accept. Geoff Manning was ringing to ask if I would like to spend some time with the only genuine Ford GT40 to have driven the roads of New Zealand. There was little time to ponder since the car was destined to return to England and new owner Ted Rollason.
My answer, of course, was positive and immediate — and what a rare and fleeting experience a few days later to be driving around Auckland streets in such a stunning and wonderful machine.

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NZ Classic Car November/December 2023 issue 390, on sale now

When you next chat to one of our Aussie cousins, tell them they can have the rights to the Pavlova, we just want to claim their rare classic Holdens thanks.
Our main feature in this issue of the magazine is on the tale of a car that many Australian classic car lovers were hunting for that just fell into the lap of an ardent Kiwi Holden fan who was living in NSW.
This sought after EJ was offered to Stan Adams in 2010 from a neighbour living just 600m away.
“It was the fabled ‘Mail Car’ that was owned by her mother, which she used for local country mail delivery for years. The car was parked up for 18 years after her mother died. I handed over the $4000 without even opening the doors on a car last registered in April 1991.”
The car was coated in brown dust and the clutch and brake hydraulics were frozen solid.
“People from as far away as Queensland were looking for this car because of its rarity. It was totally unmolested and, yes, there were a few scratches. I decided to leave them as they are; history!”

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Working class Austin’s upper class contender

Once you have driven one of these cars, which Rolls-Royce seriously considered as the basis for a new model, it’s hard to fathom why they weren’t more popular. From the safety of what was a more egalitarian New Zealand at the time, it’s tempting to think that, despite Austin having made substantial vehicles before, including 1927’s 3.4-litre Austin Twenty and the Westminsters of the late ’50s, it had hit a glass ceiling. Its success with small and cheap cars — even though, like both the Mini and the Maxi, they were often innovative — had redefined the brand. Not to put too fine a point on it, snobbery has always been a feature of many car markets, and buyers of upmarket cars inevitably preferred a Rover, Triumph, Jaguar, or Mercedes badge on their bonnets.

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Living the American dream

The search for an Airstream caravan led Nigel Teape to a trio of American classics which ended up surpassing his Airstream dream
There’s a school of thought in the British dominions that Range Rover invented the luxury SUV. Over in America it’s well known that the honour belongs to Jeep.
Fans of the US car point out that the Johnny-come-lately original Range Rover was not even a luxury vehicle until much later in its life. It had flat vinyl-covered floors designed to be hosed out. The Wagoneer, on the other hand, had a top-of-the-line version loaded with luxury equipment almost from the start.
True, the four-door Jeep Wagoneer, launched in 1962, had also started out as a utility vehicle, sharing the platform with the Gladiator pickup truck. However, its independent front suspension offered car-like handling – although this was deleted on later models – and it came with un-trucklike power steering, automatic transmission, and a factory radio.
The first proper luxury version, the Super Wagoneer, was launched just four years later in 1966. It had plush carpets, leather, cigarette lighters galore, a tilt steering wheel, ceiling courtesy lights, air conditioning, a power tailgate, power brakes, power steering, and of course, wood effect panelling.

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Suddenly it’s 1960

Neville Horton enjoys tinkering with classics and his Invercargill collection has a few surprises. It consists mostly of rare European microcars, some being restored and others in top running condition. It’s quite a contrast then when Neville opens up his main garage to reveal his impressive 1958 Plymouth Savoy two-door pillarless sedan. At 207.8in (5177mm) in length, parking it in anything less than a trailer park is a challenge.
For a car more than 60 years old, it is in remarkable condition. The two-tone brown and white colour scheme adds to its commanding presence, finished off by the chrome banded flash of a white spear down each side. A mild tint to the large glass area adds a cool modern touch to this design and, except for some exterior trim, it is close to the layout Chrysler used for its Fury models.
Neville was always keen to get his hands on one of these big Plymouths. His father owned a four-door version back in Neville’s youth. His father’s Plymouth sedan would later provide a surprising coincidence shortly after Neville bought his coupe into the country, as Neville explains.

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Croz: Straight up

During the COVID lockdown, Michael Clark had to forego lunches with motorsport celebrities but he interviewed motorcycle racer Graeme Crosby on his direct route into the Grand Prix ranks via Zoom.
“My first actual race was at Porirua on a circuit set up around the shopping centre. I was riding a little 350cc Kawasaki, an Avenger, which was a little two-stroke 350 rotary valve with something like 10hp. Suddenly, I found myself in third spot and I’m thinking this is actually pretty good. Anyway, I think I got in second spot and we only had a couple of laps to go and I overcooked a corner and ran wide. Health and safety back in those days required you to keep the crowd back, so they got a piece of rope and tied it around a 44-gallon drum, then a 10-metre gap, and another 44-gallon drum, and so on — and I went over the kerb at great speed. I still finished second — with one of those 44-gallon drums following behind in third place. Yeah, it was a bit of an experience.”

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South American Torino odyssey

Rob Mumford first visited Argentina in 1990 on a backpacking trip with his brother and fell in love with Argentina’s passionate people and stunning landscapes. In 1998 he moved there to live and a year later spotted a sleek emerald green 1971 Ford Torino parked near his Buenos Aires apartment.
He ran home, grabbed a Post it note, and scratched out a message: “Awesome car! If you are keen to sell, please give me a call.” He stuck the note to the muscle car’s windscreen and crossed his fingers.
Rob received a call from the owner, Ruben, just a month later in October ’99 and they made arrangements to meet up. Ruben took Rob for a drive and although Rob didn’t get behind the wheel, the Torino looked and felt great. A few days later a price was agreed and along with his father, who was visiting from New Zealand, Rob headed out to the suburb of Olivos to pick it up and hand over the cash. On the drive back into town a couple of people asked “What car is that?” and plenty of heads turned as they went by, confirming he’d made the right choice. That night Rob’s dreams of a Patagonia road trip flowed freely.

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Smooth operator – ’74 Mazda RX-4

Cory Wilson’s Dunedin-based Retro Automotive offers servicing and a comprehensive restoration service for Mazda rotaries. As reported in the February 2021 issue of New Zealand Classic Car magazine, he joined forces with a Dunedin businessman to import a rare Mazda RX3-SP from Florida in the USA. That car and five others from Cory’s collection were, until recently, part of a display entitled “The Evolution of Japanese Cars” at Bill Richardson Transport World in Invercargill. One of them was this car: a 1974 Mazda RX-4 sedan.
“One of my customers rang me up out of the blue and asked me if I wanted to buy an RX-4,” says Cory. “I went around and had a wee nosy. The guy who was selling it had bought it when it was in its faded factory yellow, complete with the old supermarket battle wounds and stuff like that.”
The owner had it restored but it returned from the painters in a bright canary yellow colour, definitely not the factory colour.

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NZ Classic Car September/October 2023 issue 389, on sale now

Wolf in wolf’s clothing
In the September/October 2023 issue 389, we discover there’s much more to this cute 1973 Triumph GT6 British sports car, than meets the eye.
John Burke of Paremata is the owner of our stunning cover car but felt the car was somewhat underpowered and that annoyed him. So he took this pristine example of a 1973 Triumph GT6 and installed a V8 engine from a Triumph sister manufacturer, Rover. The resulting car is a restomod that really ticks a lot of boxes.
“In 1963, Standard-Triumph, as the company was then known, delivered a Mk 4 Spitfire to Michelotti’s studio in Italy and commissioned him to design a GT version. His design, delivered in physical form later that year, was a sleek fastback reminiscent of the E-Type fixed head coupé launched in ’61. It was also not too dissimilar to the Mustang Fastback of 1964, a profile that would become familiar on other American models during the sixties.”

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Zakspeed cars light up Taupo Historic GP

It was at the Historic Grand Prix meeting organised by the HRC in January 20021. The focus make for the meeting was Ford, so it was no surprise to see a huge range of Ford cars everywhere, but to see these two ex-DRM cars here — the Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft is the German sports/touring car championship — was an eye-opener.
Turns out that the Escort was brought to New Zealand by Kiwi Gary Wilkinson, who discovered it in a very sorry state in Malaysia while he was working over there. He could see it had a lot of genuine Zakspeed equipment on it so was sure it was a special car. Research of the chassis number — ZAK-E23/75 — identified it as the car in which Hans Heyer won the DRM championship in 1975. Gary shipped the car home to New Zealand and gave it a thorough restoration over a seven-year period, painting it in the livery it wore when it won the championship.

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Renaulternative lifestyle

The owner of our feature cars, Kimball Gaitely, says he has owned around 200 cars, up to and including Ferraris and similar exotica, so we should take note that he has no fewer than four Renaults in his collection.
The three we lined up to feature in this issue show amazing breadth and flair, just in that vast conglomerate’s sports car output. Perhaps that in itself suggests a reason Kiwis have found it hard to get a handle on the brand’s identity, beyond its Frenchness.
While Renaults, among many other marques, have come and gone in Kimball’s collection, the GTA has been a fixture.
“It’s just such a clever design,” he says. Its polyester and fibreglass body makes it lighter at 1220 kg than its Porsche 944 rival. While not notably wind-cheating in appearance — its square front looks bluffer in photos than it does in real life, it was also aerodynamic for its time, with a touted drag coefficient of 0.28. Its integrated bumpers helped. Its predecessor A310 had conventional bumpers, although Renault had pioneered the integrated concept in 1971 on its Renault 5.

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Slot car racing — part two

No story reflecting on the history of New Zealand slot car racing would be complete without a nod to the amazing resilience of the Henderson Miniature Motor Racing Club. Started in 1962 in a barn in Swanson, the club then leased land from New Zealand Railways by the railway tracks on the western line approach to Henderson, Auckland, and club members built their clubrooms. The club has never stopped, nor has it left this venue. In the early days at Henderson, Russell Philpott was a revered stalwart of the club. Frank Hellawell remembers him as a great organizer and leader.
“There was racing five days a week for juniors and seniors — fabulous times,” he said.
Sure there have been many barren times in later years, when support has dropped to bedrock, but somehow the club has kept going and continues to thrive. It is also one of the few in the country to boast a permanent drag strip along with its challenging main track.

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When slot cars ruled the room

To this impressionable youth, the entrance to Aladdin’s çave was the ‘Pit Stop’, two floors above the Regent Theatre on Auckland’s Queen St. It was an oasis of multi-lane wooden slot car raceways, the walls emblazoned with motor racing art and adverts, with hypnotically attractive model race cars in brightly lit glass cases blasting out in the subdued ambient lighting.
The Pit Stop was a mecca for boys and young men in the mid to late 1960s. A twilight wonderland, it attracted us like moths to a naked bulb, glittering with state-of-the-art dayglo/metalflake sleek racers and hot on-track action.

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1927 MERCEDES SUPERCHARGES BEACH RACING

Home Kidston did a lot more than tackle the Muriwai sands during his New Zealand adventure nearly 90 years ago. Donn Anderson uncovers the fascinating story behind the Kidston family and a special Mercedes-Benz.
Home, or “HK” as he was often known, added a dash of international flavour when he arrived with his exotic German machine on the Muriwai beach sands in March 1934 for the annual championship organised by the Muriwai Motor Racing Club Limited. The supercharged Mercedes created high interest but had spark plug problems and was unplaced in four races. Kidston said the Roots blower only came in “when you put your foot down and if you held it for too long the plugs became incandescent”.

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The evergreen Land Rover

The very reason Rover decided to invent them in the first place, to create a four-wheel drive, go-anywhere vehicle that would be a boon to post-war farmers aiming to mechanise and increase production, made Land Rovers a smash hit with country cousin New Zealand, which was rapidly climbing the international prosperity rankings on the sheep’s back.

Certainly Philip Parker, who has spent almost all of his life on farms, says for decades they were as central to his existence as gumboots. “We’ve always had Land Rovers: Series 2s and Series 3s. I feel a bit strange if I don’t have a Land Rover in my life,” he says.
So, he’s got the emotional attachment and a deep understanding of the affection and nostalgia that’s driving the current surge in interest, but he’s also making a hard-headed investment. He’s so convinced of the inexorable rise in the value of Land Rovers that he decided on a patient, open-cheque-book approach to restoring this Land Rover. “After $30,000, I stopped counting,” he says. “I always knew it was going to cost a reasonable amount, but the cost of anything was never going to present a barrier in the end.”

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Video of 1963 Datsun Bluebird as featured in the July/August issue 388

Our car was found stored in a shed in Warkworth. A project car, it had spent three decades waiting for the proverbial full nine yards. During that time, a few bits had been attended to: new tyres, new brakes, but not much else. When the new owner took the car he was able to start and even drive the car, although it was trailered back to Auckland. The owner reports many wows and thumbs up on the drive back to Auckland.
In this short video, the Datsun’s owner talks about the five year restoration process.

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1952 Cadillac Series 62 — celebrating 50 years

Whether it’s the art installation Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, where 10 Caddys are buried nose first in the ground to showcase the evolution of finned rear ends, or recognising famous owners from yesteryear, these cars hold a special place in US folklore. Famous owners include Elvis Presley, Al Capone, Marilyn Monroe, and US President Franklin D Roosevelt.
For Taupo-based Cadillac enthusiast Kevin Cotton, his 1952 Cadillac Series 62 was a journey in itself. Kevin’s father Lloyd was the one who planted the seed of Cadillac ownership, having a ’52 himself when Kevin was a boy. A flick through an old photo album confirmed the Cadillac brand was number one in the Cotton household, and it has continued to be for Kevin.

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Honda NSX video

Honda decided it needed to capitalise on the success of its passenger cars and its Formula 1 triumphs and release a sports car that could rival the Europeans. It wanted a halo car that could offer improved reliability for a lower price than existing rivals but, in the Honda fashion, it would be usable, fun to drive and easy to maintain. Starting in 1984, Honda developed a concept sports car called the HP-X – standing for Honda Pininfarina eXperimental. It had a mid-engine 3.0 litre V6 with rear wheel drive.
As the vehicle concept developed, the name changed to New Sportscar eXperimental – NS-X for short. Honda eventually settled on NSX, with no hyphen. The NSX was developed by Honda in Japan and was inspired by the F16 fighter jet. Ayrton Senna had input into the final stages of development. The NSX was the first mass produced car to feature an all-aluminium body.

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