Mur­ray Lowe and mem­o­ries of the Vin­tage Car Club Guys

Classic Driver - - LETTERS -

I re­ceived a few back is­sues lat­terly (an en­joy­able read I might add and good to get Aussie copies here now too) and when read­ing is­sue 44 was sur­prised to find a pic of a mate from my Levin days and more sur­prised to learn you didn’t know Mur­ray was a “racer”.

His first love was his vet­eran and vin­tage cars (note mostly open sporty type cars) and his at­ten­tion to de­tails was al­ways re­flected in the qual­ity of the end prod­uct. Ad­mit­tedly when we learnt he had brought the Rhubarb in a dam­aged state, we were sur­prised and then he set about re­pair­ing it and went mo­tor rac­ing with the help of lo­cal en­thu­si­asts and did a great job.

Prior to this Mur­ray came across an old 1960’s midget that had been Wayne Webby’s which had been raced in Taranaki in the 60s, orig­i­nally with a Willys 4 mo­tor from mem­ory. Mur­ray length­ened the chas­sis and fit­ted a Van­guard 6 (Tri­umph 2000?) mo­tor and the car was chris­tened the “Winch­ester Spe­cial” af­ter the street he and Rose lived in. He ran this in LMRC-VCC com­bined events and again was no “slug” and shared the car with oth­ers. He al­ways had a joke and was a great guy who has left us with a lot of last­ing mem­o­ries.

An­other VCC mem­ber who also at­tended these events was Ray Disher who built a straight 8 Dodge ( TH Ac­tu­ally a Stude­baker) In­di­anapo­lis replica 2 seater racer in which he sadly lost his life in a road ac­ci­dent. Ray did the Ohakea and Ard­more-Pukekohe Re­union meet­ings – com­plete with long flow­ing scarf which be­came a “sig­na­ture” piece of ap­parel. Ray was also a Spe­cials builder hav­ing built many Spe­cials but one that comes to note was the Fronty Ford based on the Ford 10 chas­sis with an Elva over­head valve con­ver­sion. Ray also shared his cars with his mates.

One par­tic­u­lar meet­ing held at the Levin Cir­cuit was a sprint just be­fore the cir­cuit closed and was a com­bined event with the Vin­tage boys and many en­tered their 1920-30s sa­loons and some of the cor­ner­ing wheel an­gles were fright­en­ing (wooden spokes) as they were be­ing drive with great verve.

A few oth­ers in the VCC that came to mind were the late Gor­don “Mr A7” Rout­ledge who moved to Nel­son and con­tin­ued to build A7 Spe­cials. Also Bernie Ram­lose who built a 1930s style Ri­ley? Replica, Barry Jenk­ins’ A7 Spe­cial and one Levin Cir­cuit per­son­al­ity was Lau­rie Jensen who was/is in the VCC and he used to drive the re­cov­ery trac­tor for sev­eral years at the cir­cuit.

These were the days when we all had cars as our com­mon thread of en­joy­ment, be­fore mo­tor­sport be­came “over legislated” and the op­er­a­tive word was fun and com­rade­ship whether we drove a vin­tage or later model car. John Climo Bris­bane

Ray Disher’s spe­cial on the grid at Pukekohe

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