Murray Lowe and memories of the Vintage Car Club Guys
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