New Zealand Classic Car 388, July/August 2023

Issue contents

A quarter of a century before boy racers put their caps on back to front, reclined their seats and drove their cheap Japanese imports through town we saw an altogether different cheap Japanese import here in NZ.

In the 1960s, outstanding drivers and engineers on both sides of the Atlantic were hell-bent on winning the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans. Almost incredibly Kiwis Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme and Chris Amon inserted themselves at the sharp end of one of the most memorable battles, inspiring an enduring dream in another local Kiwi boy.
1991 Honda NSX - Japan’s unexpected supercar
Created to challenge the might of Ferrari, refined by F1 legend Ayrton Senna, and engineered for the everyman, the original Honda NSX is perhaps the greatest supercar surprise in automotive history. The NSX we feature in this issue belongs to Wellingtonian, Damian Alexander.
VW KOMBI LT35 – Roaming home
Originally a Devon conversion fitted with 13 seats and 15 windows, our featured Kombi has been converted into a worthy camper, providing a mobile home for family trips on both sides of the world, musical excursions and a lifetime of memories.
THE KAISER-DARRIN 161 – America’s other first fibreglass sports car
Chevrolet’s Corvette is often claimed to be America’s first fibreglass-bodied sports car but the Kaiser-Darrin 161 can make the same claim.
When GIs were stationed in Europe – especially in England, Germany, France, and Italy  –they were exposed to a kind of car not offered domestically either before the war or after. These were small, lightweight  – compared to typical American cars, anyway  – two-seater sports cars. And they wanted their own.
1966 Vauxhall Viscount & 1971 Ford Executive – The Next Best of British
For many decades it was an accepted fact that when it came to building luxury cars, the British showed how it should be done. Names like Rolls-Royce, Jaguar, Riley, Wolseley, and Rover, to name but a few, came to the forefront at this time, when luxury was on the agenda and these marques were at the top of their game.
Mary Carney, was the first woman to win an open New Zealand Championship motor raceby Gerard Richards
Over the years I’ve tracked down many of the legends of New Zealand motor racing. Lately, I have found myself drawn to seeking out those personalities whose stars have dimmed over the course of time. There are many reasons why this happens but the fascination for me is the great potential that they showed when they were briefly caught in the limelight.
KITS & PIECES – by Patrick Harlow
Sambar – Son of a race car
Born in heartland Bunnythorpe, the Sambar had all of the elements needed for a successful rugged New Zealand farm vehicle, except sales. The Sambar was a utility vehicle built in the little town of Bunnythorpe located between Feilding and the city of Palmerston North. Only 18 of these tough little workhorses were produced between 1992 and 2001.
Designed to be tossed around on farms it is surprising to learn that any have survived.
Among the famous and colourful entries for the sixth New Zealand Grand Prix at Ardmore were two Maserati 250Fs entered by a wealthy American. Donn Anderson delves into the intrigue behind the cars and their owners.
Swiss-born Hans Tanner and American Temple Buell were apparently among the many overseas visitors who arrived in New Zealand for the Ardmore Grand Prix and Lady Wigram trophy in January 1959. Unlike Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham, Ron Flockhart, Harry Schell and Carroll Shelby who lined up for the sixth New Zealand Grand Prix that year, Tanner and Buell were not racing drivers but they were key players in international motor sport.
Is Jaguar finally forgiven for the XJS?
Following up a car like the E-Type was always going to be a tall order for Jaguar
The E-Type, or XKE as it is known Stateside, is often cited as the most beautiful car ever to grace public roads. It was certainly a hard act to follow, which is perhaps another reason Jaguar decided to aim its new two-door ‘sports car’ at quite a different market segment. Produced from 1975 to 1996, the XJ-S, later called the XJS, was Jaguar’s flagship for almost a generation, but it took time for the public to accept this comfortable grand tourer as any kind of E-Type successor.
Chris Amon
The 20th of July this year will mark the 80th anniversary of the birth of the man who some regard as the most naturally gifted driver this country has ever produced. If motor racing trivia was an Olympic sport, and each nation had to be represented by two F1 drivers, we’d at least get a medal – and probably gold – with Howden Ganley and Chris Amon.
You can’t stop pros, but you can thwart most thieves most of the time by making your classic more difficult to steal. Here are some tricks that I picked up over the years that have worked well for me
A convenient theft prevention device is the two-piece battery terminal.
PRICE ON – by Greg Price
REGULATIONS; Regulations are simply legislation by stealth
Given that I seem to be noticing an increasing number of people I know are passing on to that great highway in the sky – the one without potholes – lately, I thought it worth noting how much trouble has been caused to grieving relatives by bureaucratic noddies at the New Zealand Transport Agency.
BOOK REVIEW – by Mark Holman
TAKE THE WHEEL: A fond look back at the HD and HR Holdens
This book is written by a knowledgeable uber-enthusiast for the HD and HR Holdens, but it’s not over the top or bogged down in detail.
Highlands Festival of Speed 2023, Zephyr, Zodiac and Consul Nationals at Twizel, and the Wheels at Wanaka festival.

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