Mo­tor­ing leg­end dies

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By JENNY LING

IVAN Segedin was one of the coun­try’s most re­spected and well­known race car driv­ers of his time, and a gen­tle­man both on and off the race-track.

He was as fa­mous for his mod­est Mt Eden auto shop Segedins Auto Spares as he was for his suc­cess­ful driv­ing ca­reer in the late 50s to early 70s, which in­volved rac­ing the leg­endary 1965 Fleetwood Ford Mus­tang – the first Mus­tang to race in New Zealand.

He died on De­cem­ber 30 aged 75, and his fu­neral was held on Jan­uary 4 at St Pa­trick’s Cathe­dral on Wyn­d­ham St.

His three chil­dren – Ivan Segedin Jr, Frana Becker and Ste­fan Segedin – say their dad was a true gen­tle­man with old-school val­ues.

‘‘He took ev­ery­one on their word or a hand­shake,’’ Ste­fan says. ‘‘Peo­ple were brought up dif­fer­ently in those days. Ev­ery­one was very hon­est.’’

‘‘He had old school val­ues that you don’t see any more,’’ Frana says. ‘‘ He trusted ev­ery­one.’’

Mr Segedin was born in Cam­bridge in 1938 and be­came pas­sion­ate about cars through his fa­ther.

‘‘His dad used to drive a truck and all he wanted was to be with his dad,’’ Frana says.

‘‘The teacher said, ‘there’s no point you be­ing here be­cause all you do is stare out the win­dow look­ing for your dad’s truck’.’’

Ivan be­gan rac­ing cars in his early 20s, driv­ing Ford Zephyrs and Anglias at his home­town tracks in Hamil­ton and Levin.

His suc­cesses earned him ‘‘boxes of tro­phies’’ and took him all over New Zealand and Aus­tralia.

He ‘‘blitzed’’ his com­pe­ti­tion in the Tour­ing Cars Over 1600cc race around Napier streets in 1961, and in 1966 won the group 2 Sa­loon Cars cham­pi­onship at Wi­gram, Christchurch.

In 1965 he brought a Ford Mus­tang from the US to New Zealand.

Known as the ‘‘Segedin Mus­tang’’, the rowdy V8 was spon­sored by Fleetwood Mo­tors and be­came a crowd favourite.

Web­site New Zealand His­toric Mus­cle Cars says the car ‘‘marked the ar­rival of mus­cle cars in New Zealand mo­tor rac­ing, and should be con­sid­ered one of the most sig­nif­i­cant cars in New Zealand mo­tor­sport his­tory’’.

Be­cause of the dan­ger­ous na­ture of car rac­ing, Mr Segedin stopped rac­ing when he had chil­dren.

He moved to Auck­land in 1971, and ini­tially ran a petrol sta­tion on Do­min­ion Rd, then opened Segedins Auto Spares next door a few years later.

‘‘He loved cars, but he got to the point where he thought, ‘what else can you do?’,’’ Ste­fan says. ‘‘He got to con­tinue that pas­sion with his work . . . he loved it.’’

‘‘Peo­ple used to come to Segedins to talk to Dad and talk about their pas­sions,’’ Frana says. ‘‘That place has be­come a bit of an es­tab­lish­ment for car en­thu­si­asts.’’

Segedins Auto Spares di­rec­tor Shane John­son worked with Mr Segedin, a Herne Bay res­i­dent, for 35 years. He was dev­as­tated to lose his boss.

‘‘He was like a fa­ther to me,’’ Mr John­son says. ‘‘He treated every­body, whether it was a taxi driver or a tril­lion­aire, the same – with re­spect.’’

Long-term cus­tomer and friend Ken Caurt fre­quented Segedins for 30 years.

‘‘He was a very up­mar­ket man,’’ Mr Caurt says. ‘‘He was a nice gen­tle­man, kind and help­ful.’’

Car en­thu­si­ast: Proud fam­ily: Ste­fan, Frana and Ivan Jr with their fa­ther’s prized 1939 Chevro­let and nu­mer­ous tro­phies.

Ivan Segedin, cen­tre, loved spend­ing time with his mo­tor rac­ing friends in­clud­ing Den­nis Mar­wood, right,

in the 1960s.

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