Heat­way back­ground

New Zealand Classic Car - - READERS’ WRITES -

so we per­suaded it to be the main spon­sor. The plan was to get GF1 to GF4 plates for the cars, but there were no per­sonal plates in those days, and whilst the Post Of­fice would some­times is­sue plates out of se­quence (the plate range was GB at the time) they wouldn’t give us the GF plates, hence the GC plates as a com­pro­mise.

Any­way, An­drew duly ar­rived and the cars were taken to Wood­hill For­est for a shake­down. Now, An­drew is a bluff Scots­man, and af­ter only a few kilo­me­tres in the des­ig­nated GC1 Ma­rina he got out and said, “I’m not driv­ing that heap of s***. I’m driv­ing one of the Mi­nis.” That was a prob­lem, as he was con­tracted to drive the Ma­rina as part of the launch pro­mo­tion, and all the mar­ket­ing had been done around that. Any­way, An­drew re­fused point-blank to drive the Ma­rina, so in the end it was agreed he would drive the Mini, and the rest as they say is his­tory.

At the time, NZMC had 146 deal­ers from Kaitaia to In­ver­cargill, and all the deal­ers on the rally route were asked to open their parts and ser­vice de­part­ments when the rally came through and pro­vide any parts not sup­plied by Abing­don for the ser­vice crews. Now as any­one [who] has com­peted knows, at a ser­vice stage, there is no time to for­mally check out parts from a store and doc­u­ment what’s been used. The up­shot was that we were still get­ting in­voices from deal­ers six months af­ter the rally for parts they say were used. I sus­pect this was when they did their usual stock­take and found Ma­rina and Mini parts miss­ing from stock, but we paid up any­way.

On an­other note, re­gard­ing the Ma­rina Ley­land, Aus­tralia de­cided to build a coupé with the 2.6-litre ‘trac­tor’ en­gine, three­speed man­ual box, and four- wheel drum brakes, the 1.3 and 1.8 be­ing far too gut­less for the Aussies to sell. We im­ported some as part of the swap where we sent them XJ6S, Tri­umph 2.5 TCS, and Rover 3.5 V8s from the Stoke, Nel­son plant. My boss of­fered me one of the Mari­nas as a com­pany car. Be­ing young, I thought great. Two weeks later, I asked if I could have a Mini Club­man 1100, my pre­vi­ous drive car. The Ma­rina was a death trap. Quick in a straight line, lethal on cor­ners, and stopped like an ocean liner.

Grant Dig­gle, Auck­land

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.