Auckland Corvette Club T
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 email@example.com 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.