Auck­land Corvette Club T

New Zealand Classic Car - - Report - An­swers on page 112

he Auck­land Corvette Club is made up of a group of peo­ple from wide and var­ied back­grounds who all have a pas­sion for Corvettes — and that, along with an in­ter­est in these US clas­sics, is all you need to join, as own­ing a car is not es­sen­tial (although most club mem­bers do own a Corvette). There are roughly 150 mem­bers (cou­ples or in­di­vid­u­als), and the club con­tin­ues to grow larger ev­ery year.

Ev­ery month, there is an or­ga­nized run to a place of in­ter­est, cul­mi­nat­ing in lunch at a café or restau­rant. These runs gen­er­ally take place around the Auck­land area, but have ex­tended as far as North­land and the Cen­tral Plateau — in­deed, the club’s next run, sched­uled for the end of May, will be to Ohakune, where mem­bers in­tend to stay for the week­end. There will be a lo­cal guide to show mem­bers off-the­beaten tracks where the scenery is spec­tac­u­lar.

Other lo­cal runs have in­cluded drives to the seabird coast at Ka­iaua, the Driv­ing Creek Rail­way in the Coro­man­del, var­i­ous car mu­se­ums (in­clud­ing some pri­vate col­lec­tions), and other lo­cal at­trac­tions.

The club is very so­cial, and fo­cuses on en­cour­ag­ing a friendly and wel­com­ing en­vi­ron­ment in which like-minded peo­ple can so­cial­ize and en­joy Corvettes — it is al­ways good to be able to chat with some­one who has a sim­i­lar car, or who has dealt with a sim­i­lar prob­lem, and can give you ad­vice on how to ‘fix it’.

Each year, there are two big events that Corvettes from all over New Zealand at­tend. One is a week­end in Taupo at which the new por­tion of the Taupo track is hired for a day, and cars go out in pairs, with a max­i­mum of six on the track at any one time. It is great fun and good to be able to test your car out in a safe and le­gal en­vi­ron­ment. There are time­keep­ers, so there is al­ways a lit­tle com­pe­ti­tion for those who want it.

The other ma­jor event is the Na­tional Corvette Con­ven­tion — a week­end of so­cial­iz­ing, show­ing off the cars, and driv­ing, this is al­ways a great event. The con­ven­tion al­ter­nates be­tween be­ing held the North Is­land and South Is­land each year, with dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions ev­ery time. The club has also gath­ered a tried and true list of com­pa­nies that can work on the cars or pro­vide parts and ser­vices, all com­ing with sound rec­om­men­da­tions from mem­bers.

There are other groups through­out New Zealand that op­er­ate in a sim­i­lar way, and the Auck­land Corvette Club can put you in con­tact with them if you are not in the greater Auck­land re­gion.

(5) Ab­bre­vi­ated name for the clas­sic rally that opens the Euro­pean rally sea­son each year (5) 9. Fine French lux­ury, tour­ing, and sports car builder, prob­a­bly at its best just pre World War II, when its six-cylin­der mod­els were reg­u­lar rally win­ners, in­clud­ing six wins in clue 6 down (9) 14. Valiant’s per­for­mance coupé se­ries that re­placed 22 across in its range from 1971 through to 1978 (7) 15. Daim­ler 2.5-litre six-cylin­der sa­loon built from 1949 to 1953 (7) 16. Ital­ian coach­builder, suc­cess­ful from 1948 un­til pur­chased and shut down by Ford in 1973: the name was re­vived by Ford as a model suf­fix from 2016 (7) 19. Ger­man coach­builder, prom­i­nent be­fore World War II as reg­u­lar coach­builder for May­bach’s pres­tige cars: af­ter the war, it did cus­tom car coach­work for US ser­vice­men in Ger­many (5) 20. New Zealand rac­ing car de­signer/driver who was very suc­cess­ful in For­mula 5000 from the late 1960s to the mid ’70s (5) 21. Name of the au­to­mo­bile mag­nate who man­aged GM to ma­jor suc­cess through to the 1950s (5) Europe again for this mys­tery car, from a main­stream man­u­fac­turer in the early ’70s. Who can give us chap­ter and verse on this lit­tle ve­hi­cle? Send your so­lu­tion by mail to Mys­tery Car No. 254 March 2017, New Zealand Clas­sic Car, PO Box 46 020, Herne Bay, Auck­land or email to to edi­tor@clas­s­ic­ by mid March. Last month’s mys­tery was one of New Zealand’s most in­ter­est­ing ‘nearly’ cars, the Crowther Toiler, a project worked up by Roly Crowther in 1976. It came about as a fol­low-up to Crowther’s sa­loon-car project, which fi­nally stum­bled when the nec­es­sary fi­nan­cial back­ing didn’t ma­te­ri­al­ize, but peo­ple re­mem­bered the car and its in­ter­est­ing de­sign ideas — that’s an­other very fas­ci­nat­ing story in itself, but back to the Toiler: It came about when the Theise brothers (then hold­ers of Aus­tralia’s Toy­ota fran­chise) ap­proached Crowther to work up a de­sign for a rugged, re­li­able, and re­pairable utility ve­hi­cle, ba­sic and sturdy enough to stand up to out­back­Aus­tralia-type us­age. He set up a folded sheet­steel chas­sis, with a front-mounted en­gine: the Re­nault Cleon-type 1108cc en­gine was cho­sen, as it was light, re­li­able, and had been used in Europe by Daf and Volvo-daf cou­pled with the DAF Var­i­omatic trans­mis­sion that Crowther favoured. Re­nault was ac­tu­ally very in­ter­ested in the project, but Crowther and his part­ner, Blair Web­ster, didn’t want big-com­pany in­ter­fer­ence and kept it at arm’s length. Crowther mounted a fi­bre­glass body onto the chas­sis with a steel roll cage, gull-wing doors, and im­pact-ab­sorb­ing bumpers. Pro­duc­tion started with a pro­to­type — still in ex­is­tence — and an­other eight or 10 ve­hi­cles were started, but the peren­nial prob­lem of ob­tain­ing enough fi­nan­cial back­ing halted the project when the Theise brothers pulled out, as did an­other pos­si­ble Fi­jian backer. Crowther and Web­ster couldn’t fi­nance fur­ther devel­op­ment from their own re­sources, so the par­tially built cars were knocked down for scrap, and the in­ter­est­ing project foundered. An ex­cel­lent de­tailed ar­ti­cle by Pa­trick Har­low, from which these notes were taken, can be found in the October 2011 is­sue of Spare Parts mag­a­zine, on the Con­struc­tors Car Club web­site. Look up Hamil­ton Walker (in­ven­tor) on Wikipedia, and fol­low up ref­er­ence six at the bot­tom of the page. Writ­ing to an early dead­line, we have no win­ner de­tails at this stage for com­pe­ti­tions 252 and 253 but will up­date you next month.

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