Hot rodder reaches goal
Steve Daniels’ personal best time in his 1923 model altered drag car means he has one less thing to tick off his bucket list.
The Tokoroa dragster completed the race in under 10 seconds in a nostalgia race.
‘‘It’s something we’ve been chasing for a number of years,’’ he said.
His son Glen, who helped build the car, watched the long-awaited milestone unfold at the Meremere Dragway.
The car was built from scratch and it took the pair eight years to finish.
‘‘A lot of people go to engine builders... we haven’t got the money like a lot of people.’’
It was originally built for Glen but when he started his own family, it was put under the care of Steve.
The goal only took this long because it was a process of trial and error.
Parts would break and the setup in the engine had to be just right among other issues, he said. But this is just the tip of the iceberg for the 58-year-old.
His home was filled with countless toy cars carefully lined up in cabinets.
Photo frames displayed various milestones including the latest achievement.
Some of the photos proved his love for hot rods started from a young age.
‘‘When we had family trips away I used to see them on the road.’’
‘‘I remember giving a speech about it [in school] and I got asked a question but I couldn’t answer it.’’
Now he could tell you almost anything about hot rods.
‘‘I’m an adrenaline junkie, it’s the stopping that gets me.’’
His first job was at a car wreckers and from there he pursued the sport.
A car was too expensive, so Daniels put almost every cent towards a drag bike.
He went on to become a two-time New Zealand champion.
And he holds a permanent record at the closed down Thunder Park in Napier, the first place he won his first drag bike title. ‘‘That was a pinnacle.’’ He had gotten almost everything he could out of bikes.
He then shifted his focus to the world of cars.
Now there is always a project on the go, including his partner’s 1956 Chevy Model T.
The next plan is to establish a New Zealand T Bucket Association.
‘‘They’re the root of all hot rodding.’’
It’s clear this hot rod connoisseur is a true petrolhead.
And when asked about the day he’ll put down his tools, there was no end in sight.
‘‘No, I’ll never stop hot rodding.’’