His­toric Mus­cle Cars

Words: Steve Holmes

New Zealand Classic Car - - Contents - Pho­tos:

HPhil No­ble

is­toric Mus­cle Cars (HMC) and His­toric Saloon Cars (HSC) will make their de­but at the MG Clas­sic at Man­feild as this is­sue of New Zealand Clas­sic Car hits the shelves. A good field of both big-banger HMC and nim­ble HSC cars are ex­pected to make the jour­ney, and the event prom­ises to be a huge amount of fun for ev­ery­one in­volved.

In the mean­time, HMC/HSC had its open­ing event of the 2016/’17 sea­son at the one-day Thor­ough­bred and Clas­sic Car Own­ers Club Spring Clas­sic at Hamp­ton Downs on Oc­to­ber 8. This fix­ture is usu­ally used as a sea­son shake­down for many teams to test any changes made dur­ing the off sea­son or to try out new builds or pur­chases. The fields at this event are in­vari­ably a lit­tle smaller and have fewer spec­ta­tors, mak­ing it more re­laxed and less pres­sured.

The lat­est new car to make its HMC de­but was David Wood’s very cool Dodge Aspen. This car has been in the build for the last 18 months or so, specif­i­cally for HMC. Re­splen­dent in ‘Petty Blue’, and adorned with a large ‘43’ on each door, it cap­tured the ’70s Nascar theme per­fectly. ‘The King’, Richard Petty, never ac­tu­ally raced an Aspen in Nascar, but he did put his name to a lim­ited-edi­tion run of Ply­mouth Vo­lare road cars that was pro­duced by Chrysler in 1978, with the Vo­lare al­most the iden­ti­cal twin to the Dodge Aspen. Wood wanted to build a cool car that was dif­fer­ent, specif­i­cally to race in HMC, and, with his fan­tas­tic new Aspen, he has achieved just that. The bright blue Dodge had a crowd around it all week­end.

An­other new­bie to the HMC/ HSC ranks at Hamp­ton Downs was long-time his­toric For­mula 5000 racer Poul Christie, in his mag­nif­i­cent MKII Cortina Lo­tus. Christie ac­tu­ally en­tered the Cortina to run with HMC/ HSC at the Gulf Fes­ti­val back in Jan­uary, but me­chan­i­cal is­sues ruled him out early on, so this was re­ally his first proper run with the group. The Cortina is a work of art, fea­tur­ing Lu­cas slid­ing-block fuel-in­jec­tion, and Christie is look­ing for­ward to en­joy­ing more out­ings with HMC/HSC.

Be­yond the MG Clas­sic, the an­nual New Zealand Fes­ti­val of Mo­tor Rac­ing (NZFMR) at Hamp­ton Downs is also gear­ing up, and it’s look­ing likely that a squad of cars from the Aus­tralian Trans-am Se­ries will make its bi-an­nual trip to New Zealand. Al­though it’s still some months away, it’s prob­a­ble that the first week­end will be held on the cur­rent short track, with the sec­ond week­end tak­ing in the newly com­pleted ex­ten­sion.

And, once the teams have got over the ex­cite­ment of the fes­ti­val, HMC/HSC will make its first fo­ray to the South Island, to run in the Ti­maru and Tere­tonga Clas­sic events in Fe­bru­ary. Al­though the grids won’t be as large as those in the North Island, the num­ber of cars head­ing south is in­creas­ing grad­u­ally, and those cars will be joined by a hand­ful of lo­cal ve­hi­cles. The in­ten­tion is to put on a great show for the lo­cal pun­ters and help build in­ter­est in rac­ing pe­riod-cor­rect pre-’1977 his­toric saloon cars in the South Island.

We’ll have more de­tails in the com­ing months on both the NZFMR and the HMC/HSC South Island tour.

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