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

New Zealand Classic Car - - Automobilia - By by Al­lan Wal­ton

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.


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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.

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