NEW ZEALAND CLASSIC CAR AUTOMOBILIA Collectible Models / Lifestyle / Book and DVD Reviews – Edited by James Black BOOK REVIEWS PADDOCK TO PODIUM: THE MECHANIC’S VIEW A
Max Rutherford fter the treat of reading Howden Ganley’s autobiography last month, here’s another very welcome addition for Kiwi motor-racing enthusiasts, but this time, the story comes from underneath the hood of a racing car as opposed to its cockpit. The Taranaki Rutherfords are well-known in speedway racing circles so it was probably no surprise that Max would follow in his father’s footsteps. However, while New Plymouth might have been the Rutherford’s stamping ground, Max was destined for greater things and, in early 1965, he found himself sailing to the UK along with fellow mechanic, Roger Hill.
The two men would soon find themselves working for Jack Brabham, initially on F3 cars but, before long, Max and Roger ascended to motorsport’s topmost rung, Formula One. Max prepared and built cars for drivers such as Brabham, Stirling Moss, Denny Hulme and, perhaps most famously, for Jackie Stewart. In an era when Kiwi mechanics ruled the roost in F1, Max remained at the heart of proceedings until he abruptly decided to forgo the international scene in order to return to New Zealand in 1969. Fittingly, just before he departed the UK, both he and Roger were jointly awarded the Ken Taylor Memorial trophy for being the ‘best mechanics in Formula One.’ On returning to his homeland, Max became involved in
the Tasman Series before branching out into the design and production of (of all things) sports bras!
Like Howden Ganley, Max has chosen to write his own story, and it’s a truly enjoyable read. Packed with anecdotes and tall tales, Max provides a wonderfully colourful snapshot of another era — a time when the international racing scene was undergoing a series of changes that would eventually transform F1 into the vast, commercial beast we know today.
An essential piece of Kiwi motoring history, Paddocktopodium is an absolute must-have for all motor-racing enthusiasts.