17th Annual MG Charity Classic, Manfeild
Although this regular end-of-season meeting — held on May 17 — is now heading towards its 18th successive outing, the timing has meant a bit of a struggle for entries as people and cars take a refurbishment break before the next season.
The result has been a need to also invite a Clubmans or Allcomers class to bulk up the entries, and ensure economic viability. This small compromise has, however, meant that the event can continue to provide the more relaxed low-key atmosphere needed for older/ slower cars, and those wanting to try motor sport in a classicoriented vehicle.
Of course, continuing to add to the over $100,000 contributed to the Cancer Society over the past 17 events is also no mean feat — so congratulations are due to the organizers, volunteers and participants for their endeavours in that respect.
Despite seriously bad weather throughout the region the previous week, around 80 cars took to the track in three classic type groups — the previously mentioned Allcomers class and, also for the first time, a Historic group that included Vintage Car Club NZ entrants — among them Steve Day in his magnificent Briggs Mercury single-seater from the 1950s, and Peter Carroll in his marvellous little Austin 7 Special dating from the ’30s.
Perhaps the highlight, though, was Tim Rush’s 2.5-litre Brabham Climax BT4, one of only four built for the Intercontinental Formula in 1963, to be powered by the 2.7-litre Climax engine. The Intercontinental Formula for cars up to 3.0 litres was meant as compensation for making Formula 1 a 1500cc class, and also to provide a formula for USA and southern-hemisphere series. Pat Hoare’s Ferrari Dino 256 V12 was put together for the Formula, and the DBR4 Aston Martin 2.5-litre Formula 1 cars were also fitted with 3.0-litre sports-car engines for this purpose, and raced in both Australia and New Zealand.
The Allcomers races saw John Mines start his most recent JRM, the normal 1967 model having suffered engine damage in the South Island classic series. He battled all day with the factorybuilt Radicals and a sole Reynard Inverter — although they were predictably quick, the JRM was never that far behind. Interestingly, Mines has managed to buy back his very first 1963 JRM, discovered in Christchurch, and this should be seen in next season’s historic events. Jane Stella hung in there in her very straight-looking Toyota Trueno, and did not let the faster machinery bother her at all, showing that classic race meetings can provide good entry-level opportunities for all.
The slower Classics group featured a good mix of cars, with Neil Moore in the Jowett Jupiter down from Auckland for a return bout with Trevor Dixon’s Humber 80 and David Neale in the MG Magnette. Ray Hartley had abandoned the Porsche 911 for a mildly modified MGF for a couple of third placings, while Tammie Boyden drove to a first in her BMW 325i.
The faster Classics groups saw some close racing, with Philip
It was another successful day for Capital Rodders with its fifth annual swap meet and vehicle display at Trentham Racecourse, Upper Hutt, on Sunday, May 17. General Metal Recyclers Ltd again sponsored what has grown into a nationwide event.
Pre-show publicity said vehicles and stallholders would be coming from Hawera, Palmerston North, Blenheim and Hamilton. Spare parts, diecast models and car books were for sale under the grandstand, and in the forecourt in front of the tote building.
Several areas where vehicles are usually displayed were roped off to allow the grass to dry after the Wellington region’s torrential rains and flooding of a few days before.
The day’s forecasted showers happily stayed away, allowing families to have a welcome outing after being cooped up indoors for much of the previous week.
Committee member Gavin Doughty did a commendable job with the loudspeaker announcements and interviews. He said 200 vehicles came through the gates again this year.
Mustangs, Thunderbirds and Corvettes were there. So were an Austin A40 Devon, a Skoda Sabre, and neat examples of Ford Ranchero utes from 1957 and 1959 — however, some might have called it the day of the General, as in General Motors, because of the attention three of the company’s classics received.
The 1955 Buick Century Riviera coupé wowed the teenagers present, after making the same impact on them last year, while 1955 must have been a very good year for American General Motors’ cars, judging from the reactions observed. An immaculate pale turquoise 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air four-door saloon was another car seldom without admirers. Its previous owner was an 82-year-old American woman who had owned the sedan for 19 years, and used it mainly for going to church on Sunday and trips to the supermarket. Full documentation for the Chevy exists from 1958.
A Holden HR Premier sedan that rolled off the General Motors Assembly Plant at Petone in 1967 had upholstery, crimp welding around the doors, and a fully reconditioned motor that were the originals.
Classics Museum held its second annual swap meet on Sunday, May 17 in association with the Hamilton Vintage and Classic Car Club. The day started out very early with swappers arriving to set up and begin selling — the gates opened at 7am, and the event was soon in full swing. The Jukebox Diner was open bright and early, serving a great cooked breakfast and coffee during the morning, while the burger menu filled the bill for lunchtime diners. Models and booksellers had covered-in sites inside the building, and the car park was packed full for most of the duration — a great day being had by all, with everyone already looking forward to next year.