New Zealand Classic Car March/April 2023 issue 386 Fun fun fun til her daddy takes the Tbird away
Even before Thelma and Louise drove their 66 Thunderbird across the screen, The Beach Boys had recognised the car’s role in US culture. In this issue Sarah Kneebone’s stunning 1966 Ford Thunderbird cruises through the pages of our magazine. An incredible example of Ford’s ‘personal luxury car’, something only they could call, ‘slim and sleek’ reflects a shining era of Americana.
The BMW Batmobile, an Austin 7 Special, the Lamborghini Gallardo, a visit to a shrine to Shelby, another to the Queen Street car scene of the 1970s, lunch with ex race team owner Murray Taylor continues, Kits and Pieces and a de Joux Mini, and a golden era of New Zealand car racing in both Motorsport Flashback and Motorman.
The Dream Machine, a car that has written itself into US folklore, a car that Ford created a substantial market for almost 70 years ago now, one that could be had with a transmission labelled, ‘Cruise-O-Matic’, still glides across today’s automotive landscape. Sarah Kneebone owns this incredible recreation of the star car of the movie Thelma and Louise. All 6.4 litres of V8 and equally large proportions of sheet metal that is this 1966 Ford Thunderbird remind us of an era when luxury cars were enormous and fuel was less than 20 cents a litre and, it seemed, there was more time for cruising.
Bringing Back The Batmobile
From Europe, remember those incredible Group 5 Special Production Cars, racing at places like Spa and The Nurburgring. The rules stipulated only the bonnet, roof, doors and rail panels had to remain unaltered, all else was fair game. The result, cars like the Zakspeed turbo Capri, and this amazing BMW 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’ raced to entertain us. Jonathan Hogg has recreated those times with his fabulous tribute car.
Austin of England
Almost 100 years ago, every man’s, and woman’s car became a racer. The humble Austin 7 was lowered, reclothed, hotted up, and raced all over the world. The first Australian Grand Prix, 160 kilometres on public roads was won by one. This example, the one off Austin Dieppe Sports Special is the result of artist Richard McWhannel’s fertile imagination, a work of art in steel and aluminium, but one that can be and is raced.
The Lambo Effect
12 cylinders and 5.2 litres of petrol powered raging bull but clothed in an angular and sculptured array that looks more likely to be equipped with a jet engine. The Lamborghini Gallardo seduced owner Tony Gilbertson. Previously he’d been faithful to all 5 of his Ferraris but, there’s just a special something about a Lamborghini. 412 very vocal kilowatts and country roads make for a new and faithful companion.
A Shrine To Shelby
A name associated with a couple of wild animals, the mustang and the cobra. The same name is also attached to the win Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon enjoyed at Le Mans in the Ford GT. In Irvine California Ted and Rae Segerstrom have built a mighty museum to commemorate all that is Shelby.
Queen Street Cruising.
On Auckland’s Queen street The White Lady still serves burgers late at night but that’s about all that remains from the 70’s. Late night lensman Murray Cammick was out and about shooting the stars and cars of late night Auckland 50 years ago. Gerard Richards goes back in time to remind us of those days of Mk 3’s, American V8’s, Austins, Morris’s and Vauxhalls that took their owners, owners’ friends and girlfriends to those now no longer places with names like Mainstreet, His Majesty’s Theatre, The Windsor Castle or even The Gluepot. Atmospheric Queen street now consigned to the same place as those former nightlife names.
Looking back with Motorsport Flashback and Motorman
Both Michael Clark and Donn Anderson get all nostalgic looking back at what could be called the golden days of New Zealand car racing. Drivers like Paul Fahey, Dennis Marwood, Road Coppins, Red Dawson, Jim Richards and Jim Palmer, in cars like the Mustang, Camaro, Anglia, Escort, Capri, Lotus 32B and McLaren M4A hark back to a time when New Zealand motor racing was drawing huge summer crowds and providing huge entertainment.
Behind The Garage Door - Creating An Italian Masterpiece.
The Top Gear crowd once said, ‘you can’t call yourself a car enthusiast until you’ve owned an Alfa’, or words to that effect. Clynt Inns has taken that to the enth degree. Because it is almost impossible to find an Alfa Romeo 8C, the original from the 1920’s and 30’s that is, he commissioned Auto Restorations in Christchurch to make him one, literally. Some original parts and many specially created parts, including the motor have all been manufactured, sourced and then assembled to create an incredible replica. The Mille Miglia, Targa Florio, Le Mans are all names that feature multiple times on the 8C’s list of race wins.
Kits and Pieces - Playing The Long Game
Patrick Harlow returns to one of his favourite New Zealand car designers and builders with a detailed look at the history of one multiple owner de Joux Mini. From a rented garage in Penrose, Auckland Ferris de Joux built a number of his sweet little de Joux GT’s. Patrick follows one of these from its appearance at a hill climb in the far South of NZ half a century ago through its various owners and permutations until today where it reminds of what could have been, if only things had fallen differently.
Lunch With … (Murray Taylor part 2) - A Broad Reach
The world is full of rich characters and Michael Clark has found another here in Murray Taylor. Murray’s early involvement in the world of Motorsport was exciting enough as F2 correspondent for a major British Motorsport magazine but life as the owner of a race team was even more exciting. He rubbed shoulders with the brightest and best, and on many occasions was the best. Make a cup of tea or whatever and join these two at the table as they relive past glories and adventures.
Upcoming Events - The Targa Bambina, The Begg Festival.
All you need to know about the Targa Bambina, the first of this year’s scheduled Targa events, dates, maps, and entrants are all there. The upcoming Begg Festival in Invercargill is a grand bash in honour of all things Begg. George Begg, a farmer, engineer and race car builder from Southland is remembered with this festival of speed and historic racing cars. Many of the 18 Begg racing cars will be there and so will more than a handful of great New Zealand drivers, Greg Murphy and Paul Radisich among them. The Bill Richardson Transport World is creating this second edition of the Begg Speedfest building it into a Southern Version of the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The other regular features are there too Greg Price, always on about something. This time he has number plates in his sights. Patrick Harlow’s Daily Driver is a 1966 Holden Special HR.