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.’’

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