17th An­nual MG Char­ity Clas­sic, Man­feild

New Zealand Classic Car - - Nationwide News - Words Terry Col­lier Photos Stew Wood and Terry Col­lier

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.

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