Karen Hay takes out female drag racing record
  Photo: Earl Edwards On Sunday, April 6 the record for New Zealand’s quickest, and fastest, female was taken out by Karen Hay in her ...full story
Lister Motor Company celebrates 60th anniversary with digital revamp
This year is shaping up to be a big one for Lister Motor Company with celebrating its 60th anniversary and also completing the first Lister-Jaguar ...full story

Win a Logitech speaker system Z443

Add some real punch to your computer system the next time you’re streaming IndyCar racing live from the US or playing shoot’em up games by plugging this Logitech speaker system into your set-up. The Z443 system includes a pair of three-inch satellite speakers plus a 5.25-inch subwoofer. With their stylish, hi-fi-inspired design and wooden enclosures, these speakers offer great acoustics in order to enhance the online or gaming experience.


Tell us in ten words or less why you need these Logitech speakers, here.

Competition closes on December 5, 2013.

Win an Opel GT

It’s been a while since we last looked at plastic construction kits, so this month we’re featuring a trio of kits from AMT’s 1:25-scale range. First up, and bound to be popular, is a 1967 Shelby GT350, complete with Ford 289 Hi-Po V8 and authentic Kelsey-Hayes rims wrapped with Firestone tyres. And for those who enjoyed our recent DeLorean cover car, what about this Back to the Future DeLorean time machine? This snap-together kit (no glue required) features a stainless-steel–look body, and can be kitted out with either a lightning rod or a Mr Fusion unit.
Finally, thanks to Toymod — the New Zealand AMT distributor — our give-away model this month is this delightful Opel GT construction kit. It is a bit special, and includes an exclusive print suitable for framing. The model itself can be built with one of three engine options — the stock Opel 1.9-litre four-cylinder engine, a V6 or, for drag-racing enthusiasts, a fuel-injected and ram tube–equipped V6.

opel GTff

To be in to win, just answer the following question:

Q: Name the US TV spy who swapped his Sunbeam Tiger for a gold Opel GT?
Click here to answer. Competition closes on December 5, 2013.
AMT models are available from all good toy and hobby shops. If you have a problem locating them, contact Toymod Ltd (PO Box 18,263, Auckland, ph. 09 527 0122, fax 09 527 0144) to find your closest retailer.

Win a 1:18 Ford Falcon GT-HO Phase ||

In 1970, for the first time, drivers were allowed to race Bathurst single, and the 1970 race saw Moffat and McPhee race in the works Ford XW Falcon GT-HO Phase IIs, while Gibson and Seton combined to drive another. They were up against the new Torana six-cylinder GTR XU-1s and the Chrysler Chargers, but these GT-HO Phase IIs were fitted with the new Cleveland 351-cubic-inch V8 (5752cc) that replaced the older Windsor engines. Needless to say, Moffat practically led the race from the start, despite the pit crew overfilling the engine with oil, resulting in clouds of smoke erupting from the car when he rejoined the race. Despite the Holden supporters yelling for joy, Moffat’s car cleared the oil and continued to the finish line, while McPhee came in a close second. A great day for Ford.

The model featured here is a replica of McPhee’s second-placing car at Bathurst in 1970. From Classic Carlectables, the model reflects the power and grace of the famous XW Ford Falcon GT-HO Phase II with an extremely detailed interior, an engine bay with cabling, and boot space. The interior is devoid of the caging that is now compulsory for modern V8 Supercars and the front passenger and rear seats are retained, so basically it is a road car prepared for the track. The chrome doorsills set off the model perfectly and, of course, it comes sturdily packaged and complete with a Limited Edition Certificate.


Thanks to Not Just Toys, we have one example of this stunning model to give away — just answer the following question to be in to win:

Q: In what month and year was the GT-HO Phase II released?

Click here to answer. Competition closes on December 5, 2013.
Not Just Toys is a major stockist of Biante, Classic Carlectables, GMP, Ace, Minichamps, Corgi, and most leading die-cast collectibles. Subscribe online at www.notjusttoys.co.nz to receive a discount on your online subscription, plus regular updates on what’s happening, other discounts and specials, and one-off super specials!
Not Just Toys, 55 Dudley St, Lower Hutt, ph. 04 939 3599 / email: info@notjusttoys.co.nz.

Dutch-built ’59 Mini reborn

Car number 983 is back on the road, heralding a revival of MINI production in the Netherlands in the near future. A 54-year-old classic Mini has been fully restored at the VDL Nedcar car manufacturing plant in the town of Born, the precision work lasting around six months. The historic Austin Seven with production number 983 dates back to 1959 and was one of the first examples of the classic Mini to be assembled in the Netherlands. The car was unearthed last year in an old barn in Groningen, ravaged by the passage of time and as such an ideal candidate for the “reBorn” mission. The classic machine has since been imbued with a fresh injection of sparkle, making it the perfect scene-setter for a new chapter in Dutch-British car making relations. Next year VDL Nedcar will begin production of MINI models under contract; MINI will be the only manufacturer having vehicles series-produced in the Netherlands.

And so MINI is poised to retrace the steps of its historic forebears. Just a few months after its launch in August 1959 – in Morris Mini-Minor and Austin Seven form – the classic Mini found itself an additional birthplace in continental Europe, the Amersfoort-based firm J.J. Molenaar’s Car Companies turning its hand to assembly of the classic Mini between 1959 and 1966. More than 4,000 units were built over this period, using components delivered from the United Kingdom, plus one or two special additions only found in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Among the select group of 30 cars built in that first year in Amersfoort was the Austin Seven now making its post-barn comeback. This may therefore be the oldest example of the Dutch-built classic Mini currently in roadworthy condition; it is absolutely one of the oldest representatives of the brand anywhere in the world. But to top it all, it is a genuine “barn find” having been hidden away in said abode for almost a quarter of a century before being re-discovered and examined by BMW Group Netherlands employees. The decision to restore the car was taken quickly, aided by the certainty regarding its origins. The car’s chassis and production numbers were easily identifiable and the seats were upholstered – in traditional Dutch style – using real horsehair.

A five-strong team from VDL Nedcar took on the restoration challenge, stripping the classic Mini down to its bare bones before gradually piecing it back together again. The quintet were able to tap into a reliable well of experience and specialist knowledge in the fields of body and engine construction and apply this expertise extensively. The small 34 hp four-cylinder engine and the gearbox were given a total overhaul and some body parts and the door panels had to be rebuilt by hand. The restorers used faithful replicas of original parts wherever possible and enjoyed valuable assistance from the MINI Community in tracking them down. The restoration process was documented in full at www.facebook.com/Mini.reBorn1959, and that attracted a flood of helpful tips – not to mention the odd long-lost part – from sources around the world. The classic Mini set off on the first test drive of its second life like it was 1959 all over again; the “reBorn” mission had been accomplished. Another contributory factor in the freshness of the car is its new paintwork in the original shade Farina Grey.

Around 1,500 employees will be responsible for building MINI cars when production starts in Born in summer 2014, and among their number will be the five “midwives” who helped deliver the forgotten Mini back into the world. Their efforts are now concentrated squarely on preparing for the future of MINI production at the plant. But they are given daily reminders of their journey back into the brand’s past as car number 983 – “reBorn” in the Netherlands – looks over them from pride of place in the foyer of the new MINI focused production facility.

Visit our website: http://www.clubmini.co.nz




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A British sports car manufacturer with connections to New Zealand is set to open its 50th retailer in Auckland during its 50th anniversary.

McLaren Automotive’s founder Bruce McLaren was born in New Zealand and grew up here before moving to the UK to start what went on to become one of the world’s most successful racing teams.

McLaren Auckland will be opened five decades after the company was founded and will be operated by New Zealand’s leading automotive specialists, the Giltrap Group.

The company has been closely linked with the McLaren brand over the years. Giltrap Group’s executive chairman, Sir Colin Giltrap, is a patron of the Bruce McLaren Trust. Giltrap knew McLaren personally when he was living in New Zealand.

“Bruce McLaren was the quintessential New Zealand pioneer with a vision of combining sportsmanship with solid engineering practice and cutting-edge technical expertise,” says Giltrap.

Having a retailer in New Zealand marks the ninth market in the Asia-Pacific region for the McLaren brand.

The showroom will be located in Grey Lynn, Auckland, with the first deliveries from McLaren Auckland anticipated to commence in December 2013.



The state-of-the-art facility will offer the full range of high performance models from McLaren automotive, including the recently announced, special edition McLaren 50 12C and 12C Spider models. These models were launched to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the brand.

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Timelines December 1913, 1938, 1963 & 1988

Once again, Graeme Rice looks back on the motoring worlds of 100, 75, 50 and 25 years ago

December 1913

In front of 17,000 spectators, two Australians – Rupert Jeffris and Douglas Campbell – raced their Mercedes cars for side bets of £500. There were supposed to be three two mile heats followed by a final one mile sprint. Jeffris was leading in his 120hp Mercedes in the first heat, easily outpacing Campbell’s 80hp racer when he slowed thinking the heat had finished allowing Campbell through to win. In the second heat Jeffris made no such mistake and easily took first place. At that point there was a downpour that washed the track out and the contest was abandoned.

Mr Gray and Mr Sloper, working for a firm by the name of The India Rubber Gutta Percha and Telegraph Works patented the concept for a Radial Ply tyre. It was described as bracing the radial casing with a restraining belt in order to provide stability. Apparently their patent may have been jeopardized by their admission that they probably weren’t the first to consider placing radial reinforcing cords in the tyre. There isn’t any record of Gray and Sloper ever producing a radial ply tyre.

Fiat’s monster S76 racer was timed at a breakneck 213.023km/h (132.27mph) driven by Leon Duray at Ostend. The engine that powered the Fiat being a four-cylinder of no less than 28.3-litres –  those were BIG cylinders! Incredibly, this very car is now under restoration in the UK – Duncan Pittaway, the owner, hopes to have the monster racing again in time for the centenary of Duray’s run.

Picture 1

A contemporary picture of the Fiat’s engine and chassis being worked on all those years ago. Visit this web site for more info: http://theoldmotor.com/?s=fiat+s76


December 1938

On the 7 December, 1938 British racing driver Richard Seaman married Erica Popp, daughter of the BMW president. The most reported feature of the wedding was a cake made in the likeness of a Mercedes-Benz GP car. Seaman, of course, was at that time racing for the Mercedes-Benz works racing team. Seaman’s mother was not present. She went to a matinee instead in protest.

Driving for a German team was a tricky bit of political juggling, especially as the British were certain there would have been war if Neville Chamberlain hadn’t been able to fly to Germany, meet Hitler, and personally get a concession from the Nazis that their military ambitions didn’t extend to much further now they had Austria back in the fold. Not everyone was convinced and the motoring magazines were offering ideas and conversion kits for turning garages into air raid shelters.

Road testers for The Autocar magazine were perplexed by the ability of the 3.5-litre Hotchkiss short wheelbase saloon to nudge the 100mph mark with what they termed singular ease, when many similar cars could do no more than 80 to 85mph. This car was after all a three times Monte Carlo Rally winner so it had something a little out of the ordinary. The answer was found in their comments about the six–cylinder engine not being happy with being driven around town in top gear unless the mixture lever was moved back from the advanced to the retarded position to avoid pinking. Like so many French cars, the Hotchkiss had a tall top gear to enable hours of relaxed cruising on the long straight Routes Nationales, a fact borne out by the tester’s discovery that third gear in the Hotchkiss was equivalent of top gear in many other cars. Acceleration was quite remarkable for the period, with zero to 30mph in just four seconds and 60mph coming up in under 14 seconds – vivid, said the testers, and the top speed was 94.7mph (152.4km/h). It weighed 3075lbs (1396kg) and swallowed fuel at 17mpg or 16.6 litres/100km. Power output is not quoted in the Road Test but was somewhere around 125-130bhp (93-97kW).

Humphrey Symons and Bertie Browning started their drive in a 25hp Wolseley  from London to Cape Town, a distance of 10,300 miles or 16,500 kilometres. They would finish in 31 days and 22 hours on the 21st of January, 1939 after a 12 day hold–up for repairs when the big Wolseley dropped through a bridge over the river Gadd somewhere deep in the  Belgian Congo. For statistics hounds, this 25hp Wolseley Six with its 3485cc engine (same size as the Hotchkiss, but with longer stroke and narrower bore) developing 108bhp (80.5kW) weighed 4052lbs (1840kg) and would reach 80mph (128.7km/h) with 0-60mph in 20.4 seconds. Its fuel consumption was 18mpg or 15.7litres/100km).

Ford in Britain introduced the model 91A V-8, with similar styling to the newly introduced Mercury in America. A first for Ford (UK), it sported a hydraulic braking system.


December 1963

1963 was heralded as the year of Jim Clark, completed by his win this month in the South African GP. Just 27 years old, Clark had won six out of the nine Grand Prix races, at times scoring victories even though his car wasn’t the fastest one on the track. In an unprecedented move he was voted Britain’s Sportsman of the Year, the first time a racing driver had received this award. Like Moss, Clark was able to excel in any car (including a Lotus-Cortina in the 1966 RAC Rally) and on any track, and had become a star not only on the European GP circuit, but on the American ovals after his appearances at Indianapolis, Trenton and Milwaukee.

Mazda’s first Wankel-engined car was on show at Tokyo. Although made under licence from NSU Wankel, the Mazda engine was the first twin rotor version to be announced publicly and featured three chambers each of 400cc in each rotor giving a total displacement of 2400cc according to German calculations, developing 75bhp at 6000rpm. Described as a two–seater hard–top sports car, with a long tail and a transparent roof panel, the bodywork was described as futuristic.

Studebaker’s troubles were mounting after the resignation of dynamic Sherwood Egbert as President and Director, and they had made a loss of £3½ million on top of debts of £9 million.  Canada seemed a logical haven for the 111 year old company, offering tariff-free access to smaller British Commonwealth markets.

Goodyear became the first tyre company to sell one thousand million tyres – according to 1960s American accounting, that was a billion.

There were 342 entrants for January’s Monte Carlo Rally. Around eighty entrants were British, including entries from BMC, Ford, Reliant, Rootes, and Standard-Triumph.

Aston Martin boss David Brown announced the firm’s withdrawal from sports car racing to concentrate on production of the successful DB5. Athelstone Engineering had bought the two GT Astons.

Lamborghini’s factory at Sant’Agata Bolognese was completed and his new V12 coupé was being reworked for production to begin early in 1964. And Porsche’s race and rally winning 904 began a limited production run, to comply with homologation requirements – fitted with a 198bhp 2-litre four cam flat-four engine, though six or eight cylinder motors were later used in factory racers.

Over in Australia, BMC Australia pulled the Morris Major Elite from production, though sales continued till early in 1964. This rather overbodied Minor-based concoction used a BMC B-series four cylinder to power a near Holden-sized body in BMC’s never quite successful attempt to match the Aussie sixes in the mid-range market. With the six-cylinder Austin Freeway and Wolseley 24/80 now in production and more able to match the Aussie sixes in size and power, BMC gave up on the Major, and replaced it with the fwd BMC 1100.

Digital image

December 1988

European motoring journalists voted the new Fiat Tipo the Car of the Year for 1988 making the company the first car maker to take the award five times – In 1967 with the 124, 1970 with the 128, 1972 with the 127 and in 1984 with the Uno range.

Strangely this announcement was made on the same day that Giovanni Agnelli disposed of Vittorio Ghidella, boss of the car division and the man who had influenced the Tipo’s development. Apparently Ghidella had wanted to strengthen the car division, an unpopular stance with Agnelli who wanted to divest more research and development work around other sections of the conglomerate. Cesare Romiti, Managing Director of the Fiat group, and whose views mirrored those of the bosses, took over.

Autocar published their list of the best cars of the 1988 year. Best small car was the 1360cc 85bhp Peugeot 205SR. Best fast hatch was also their top all-rounder, the Peugeot 309 GTi. Fiat’s new Tipo was voted best family hatch, while the elegant Peugeot 405 was nominated best middleweight and best estate car. The Range Rover was still worthy of the title of best SUV even after 26 years at the top of the tree. Being praised for its speed and terrific traction, Toyota’s Celica GT4 was voted best Coupe. BMW’s 5 series did so much so well it was voted best executive car. In the higher performance stakes, Porsche’s stripped out 152mph 911 was given the title ‘purveyor of thrills.’ Best luxury car was the thundering Bentley Turbo R  described as handling the great power with poise and balance and capable of knocking the most hardened hedonist into orbit while emitting an engine note closely resembling the opening bars of Rule Britannia.

Best forgotten were the SEAT Marbella and the Yugo 65A GLS.

Here in Kiwiland, Suzuki ceased New Zealand production in their Wanganui assembly plant. The Jimny 4WD had been a surprisingly popular vehicle for the company, with decent off-road performance in the hands of a capable driver with the ability to make best use of its light weight and limited power.

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Classics Museum celebrates 1st Birthday

On Sunday December 1st, Classics Museum will be one year old. To celebrate this milestone they are hosting a family day packed with fun to remember. classics-museum

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Another milestone for Smith this weekend at Manfeild

New Zealand motor racing’s evergreen ‘super-veteran,’ Ken Smith, will mark another milestone at the opening round of this seasons’ MSC New Zealand F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series at Manfeild this weekend.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the opening of the 3.0km Feilding circuit and Smith will be the only competitor at The Sound MG Classic meeting who has competed there every year since 1973.
“I didn’t do the very first meeting they had there, but I did the big one that summer and I’ve been going back ever since,” said the 72-year-old about to embark on his 56th consecutive national motor racing season.
Smith rates the Feilding circuit as one of his favourites, despite a serious accident at the start of the first MSC F5000 race the last time (two years ago) the series visited the circuit.
“It’s like a second home to me,” he said. “The original promoters, Rob and Wendy Lester, were always very good with the drivers plus its good for the spectators because they can see all of the track rather than just one little bit of it, from the grandstands.”
Smith, a three-time former MSC series champion who drives a Lola T332 similar to the one he raced here and in Australia in the 1970s, heads a 13-strong Tasman Cup Revival Series entry at this weekend’s two-day The Sound MG Classic classic and historic motor racing meeting at Manfeild.
An unfortunate date clash with the inaugural Highlands 101 endurance race at the new Highlands Motorsport Park in Central Otago means that both defending MSC series champion Steve Ross (McRae GM1) and 2012/13 series race winner Clark Proctor (March 73A) will not be on the grid at Manfeild this weekend (the pair are sharing a Mosler sportscar at the Highlands event) though Smith will not exactly be lacking for competition.
Series young gun Andrew Higgins (Lola T400) has impressed at the two rounds of the Formula 5000 Australia Cup series already held, and former MSC series champion Ian Clements from Christchurch (Lola T332) is more than capable of taking the battle to the Auckland pair.
Also entered this weekend are 2011/12 series runner-up Aaron Burson and his father Peter (both McRae GM1), former Lady Wigram Trophy winner Roger Williams (Lola T332) and Talon  MR1 driver David Banks (all from Auckland), 2011/12 series third placeman Brett Willis (Lola T330) from Rotorua, series returnees Sefton Gibb from the Hawke’s Bay and Tony Richards from Christchurch (both Lola T332), as well as longtime classic and historic event supporter Russell Greer (Lola T332) from Blenheim, local driver Tim Rush (McLaren M22) and Class A (for older cars) standout Alan Dunkley.
Dunkley is a real crowd-pleaser in the only high-wing car (a 1968 Lola T140) in the MSC field and Smith, for one, rates him highly.
“They’re certainly aren’t many people who can push one of those old cars round like he can. He always gives 110%,” says Smith.
Photo credit: Fast Company/Alex Mitchell
Gallery14MSCF5000TCRSKenSmith-1 14MSCF5000TCRSKenSmith-4
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