Welcome to our newest contributor
If, heaven forbid and I wish this upon no one, something does go wrong, you instantly have gone 99% of the way toward ensuring the protection of competitors and officials alike. Don’t leave anything to chance, document what you do and a bad day won’t get worse. And don’t fear the Police involvement. They have a job to do and as was proved to me, they do it very well.
On a (much) lighter note, I hope you enjoy the varied range of cars we have assembled for your reading pleasure in this issue and by the time you read this, the new and infinitely improved Classic Driver website will be up and running. Do take a look as we have video of the Shelby GT-350 and the Bugatti exclusively for our readers. You can’t beat the sight and sound of cars being driven in the appropriate manner and we have captured some of these highlights for you with help from our friends at the Historical Aviation Film Unit. Take a look and tell us what you think.
The story on the Morgan really proves you just never know what is parked in front of you. I saw the car drive in to Rod Millen’s Leadfoot Derelicts early morning gathering at Hahei, leading in a convoy of Moggies on their tour of New Zealand and to me it just looked like a normal Moggie, on English number plates. I wandered over and introduced myself and asked how the tour was going and what sort of cars were on it. I was talking to Tim, the owner of the car and during the conversation, it was obvious that there was definitely a story behind his yellow Moggie which needed to be told.
I was not sure what to do about the Mustang’s 50th birthday. The ’stang must be the most written-about car in the history of the American car industry and no-one likes reading the same old story over again any more than anyone here really wants to repeat the same boring stuff. So when the opportunity arose to not only get a look at a real Shelby GT-350 (not so much A Shelby GT350 as THE Shelby GT350, the only one in the country), and actually have it on the track for our own exclusive photo and film session, well, that was the icing on the cake. When my father then started telling me about the untouched Mustang just around the corner, that seemed a great way to celebrate the Mustang half century for Classic Driver in a unique way.
It is with great pleasure that I welcome a new writer to the pages of Classic Driver. Not only was he once a reporter for the Waikato Times, he also came second at Le Mans, drove in 41 World Championship Grands Prix, worked as an engineer with McLaren and later started his own race car construction business Tiga, with fellow Antipodean F1 driver Tim Schenken.
Howden Ganley is still very much involved in the world of historic and classic racing, he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the history of the sport and commuting between his US and UK homes, he will be giving us a rare insight into the Northern Hemisphere world of old cars, a little different to what goes on down here, all done with his unique New Zealand slant on the men and machines he knows so well.
Just to keep himself on his literary toes, he is also reaching the end of writing his autobiography, which he is hoping will be released at the Festival of Motor Racing at Hampton Downs in January featuring… Howden Ganley!
It is no secret that on occasion I have been critical of the actions of the New Zealand police with regard to their approach to road rules. You may not be aware that I was involved in an official capacity at the Roycroft Trophy meeting and the subsequent investigation into the accident which took the life of one of the competitors.
In the event of a death at a racetrack, it is required to report it to the police and the Serious Crash Unit are required to investigate. You can be sure that I was not in a happy frame of mind when the police cars arrived. Yet I can do nothing but thank the officers involved on the day, and those I have dealt with since. Their professionalism and compassionate response to what was a very distressing situation for all involved, was beyond reproach.
Because all rules and regulations had been followed up to the time of the accident, and the procedures the VCC had in place to follow in the event of an incident like this, worked in the manner which we hoped we would never need to find out. A lesson for any organiser of any club event anywhere; make sure you have rules in place for whatever you are doing and make sure you follow them.