NATIONWIDE NEWS Classic news and views from all around New Zealand Historic Muscle Cars Update:
Ivan Segedin Mustang
Just a few days after filing the last Historic Muscle Cars (HMC) report for NZ Classic Car focusing on the famous Red Dawson 1967 Shelby Mustang joining the class for the 2016 Porsche Festival, Neil Tolich confirmed plans to enter his equally significant and historic ex–ivan Segedin Fleetwood Motors Mustang in the same event.
The Segedin machine holds a hugely important place in local motor sport history — this was New Zealand’s first circuit racing Mustang. After working through the huge pile of red tape that made car importation so difficult back in the ’60s, and with the task of shipping the car taken on by Bruce Mundy of the Tony Shelly– owned Fleetwood Motors, Segedin was able to acquire a brand new 1965 Mustang GT K-code road car in the US. An import bond was required, which was put up by the British Petroleum Company.
While in the US buying the Mustang, Mundy visited Carroll Shelby’s workshop in Los Angeles and bought the required speed equipment to convert the Mustang into a race car, which made its competition debut at the Three Hour Challenge race at the Wills Six Hour event, held at Pukekohe in October 1965. Segedin had Dennis Simmons, who’d previously prepared his Anglia, do much of the conversion and prep work. For the 1965–’66 season, even though the wild Allcomers were still eligible to contest the New Zealand Saloon Car Championship, MANZ already had one eye on the future and introduced a second championship to be run under international FIA Group 2 rules, and it was to these rules that the Segedin Mustang was built.
Had the team managed to squeeze just a little more reliability from the Mustang, Segedin would probably have won the 1966 Group 2 championship. From the eight rounds, he took four wins and one second place, but his three did-notfinishes (DNFS) pushed him down to third in final points, behind the Mini Coopers of Jim Mullins and Brian Innes. The following season, the Mustang was modified to Allcomers rules, but Segedin had an unhappy season, with expensive engine failures early in the season forcing him out. He sold the Mustang to Red Dawson in 1967, and Dawson converted it to the new Group 5 rules MANZ had adopted to replace Allcomers for 1968. But again, while Dawson was often shatteringly quick, he struggled with reliability, and a single third placing was
his championship high-point. At season’s end, Dawson purchased the Frank Bryan 1967 Shelby Mustang featured in last month’s NZ Classic Car, and the exSegedin machine was converted to a road car and sold.
After having several more owners, in 1986, the Mustang was purchased by Glenn Larsen, who faithfully restored it back to its original 1965–’66 Fleetwood Motors guise. However, Larsen didn’t race the car, and it didn’t hit the track in anger again until it was bought by its current owner, Neil Tolich, in 2004. Tolich made the necessary changes required to make the famous old racer track worthy once more, and has enjoyed racing it sporadically since at historic events, including in the UK and Europe in 2009. To race in the UK/ Europe, Neil had to change the car again to fit FIA Historic Group 2 rules and gain a Historic Technical Passport. He then contested events at Snetterton, Donington Park, and the famous SpaFrancorchamps, in Belgium.
After returning home, the Mustang raced with HMC at the 2011 Chris Amon Festival, with Paul Radisich at the wheel; but, in its milder FIA spec, the car wasn’t a match for the faster
2016 MG Classic
The other big news is the confirmation that HMC and Historic Saloon Cars (HSC) are heading south(ish) and will race at the 2016 MG Classic at Manfeild. Since its inception, other than a few Australian adventures enjoyed by some members with Aussie Trans-am, HMC has only raced at Hampton Downs and Pukekohe.
But with the class expanding, and particularly now with HSC also coming on board, the 2016 MG Classic will be the perfect opportunity to showcase genuine period-correct pre-1977 historic saloon car racing in front of an all-new audience, with the David vs Goliath battles that typified New Zealand saloon