Historic Muscle Cars
Words: Steve Holmes Pat Lambert Collection
As this issue of New Zealand Classic Car magazine hits the shelves, the combined Historic Muscle Cars (HMC) / Historic Saloon Cars (HSC) will be just about to hit the track for the first time in the 2016/’17 season.
The season will kick off on October 8, 2016 for the Thoroughbred and Classic Car Owners Club (TACCOC) Classic one-day event at Hampton Downs. Like most events this coming season, HMC and HSC will combine in the same grid. However, relaxed smaller events such as this provide the perfect opportunity for teams to blow the cobwebs out following the winter lull and to do so in a low-pressure environment.
A new addition to the HMC/ HSC calendar this season is the inclusion of the popular MG Classic event at Manfeild, where a healthy grid of cars is expected, including several from the lower North Island that have not raced with the group before.
Bruce Dyer from Feilding is the coordinator for HSC, and he has been busy drumming up interest for the HSC ranks, as well as helping owners to bring their existing cars into line with HSC rules and working through their COD process.
The third event of the season will see HMC/HSC take in its third different track, for the one-day TACCOC Classic at Pukekohe, before returning to Hampton Downs for the backto-back New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing (NZFMR) weekends. At the time of writing, it appears possible that these two festival weekends will be run by two different organizers, with the first racing on the current shorter circuit, before the newly completed full-length track is introduced for the second weekend.
Although still to be confirmed, the wheels are in motion to try to bring a group of cars across from the Queensland-based Australian Trans-am series for the festival.
Following Hampton Downs, HMC/HSC will head south once more, only this time way, way south, taking in the back-to-back classic-racing events at Timaru International Motor Raceway and Teretonga Park, Invercargill. This is gearing up to be an exciting road trip, with the grid boosted by several South Island cars. Both of these events will also feature the travelling historic Formula Junior group, which has been racing a huge number of cars at fixtures all over the world and includes some quite special New Zealand– owned machinery. Certainly, these will be epic events.
The season will conclude at Hampton Downs on April 2/3, 2017, with the Historic Racing Club’s Legends meeting.
The growth of HMC, and HSC, continues with great momentum, with several new cars expected to join the ranks this season — including two — and possibly three 1969/’70 Mustang fastbacks, a 1967 Camaro, a Dodge Aspen, and a Ford Perana. Meanwhile, the growth of HSC will be greater still, with several existing cars being brought into line with HSC rules. In addition, a pair of BDGpowered MKI Escorts is currently in the build stage, although neither car is likely to appear this season.
But the interest in building and racing period-correct historic sedans continues to expand at rapid pace. Having the two groups race together provides an excellent spectacle, reviving the golden era of New Zealand saloon-car racing during the late 1960s through early ’70s, when the likes of Paul Fahey, Rod Coppins, Jim Richards, Red Dawson, Don Halliday, John Riley, Dennis Marwood, Jack Nazer, Alan Boyle, Rodger Anderson, Dave Silcock, Rod Collingwood, Barry Phillips, Reg Cook, and the like did battle in all manner of production-based machinery, from thundering V8 Mustangs and Camaros, Falcons, and Monaros to Escort twin-cams, Vivas, BMW 2002s, and raucous little Minis and Imps.
This is the era HMC/HSC celebrates, and the combined group provides a platform for enthusiasts of this era who wish to enjoy their cars and compete in a low-pressure, enjoyable environment with likeminded enthusiasts. Everyone is welcome — the only stipulation is that all cars are 100-per-cent compliant with either the HMC or HSC rules and have an up-todate COD.
More info on HMC can be found at historicmusclecars. co.nz or through the HMC online discussion forum at The Roaring Season — theroaringseason.com.