WHEN BIG - BANGER SPORTS CARS TERRORIZED LOCAL TURF
Motor racing groupie
I’ve a confession to make, one I believe I should lay on you right at the outset of this little tirade. I was a hardcore motor racing addict through my late boyhood and into my teenage years and early adulthood. Pukekohe was sacred turf; to a small contingent of us, it was hallowed ground, ground that cast a hypnotic spell, possibly one not too far removed from the experience that might have been gained from the artificial stimulants of the time … But what would I know about that offlimits department.
There was something wild and surreal about ‘the scene’ in those impressionable days of my youth — as if everything out there at the track really was larger than life. Things seemed to happen in slow motion, and you just drank it all in — the colour, the sights, and the smell. I’m sure you’re getting my drift here, but no, we weren’t stoned, it was just a natural high, a supreme buzz being around all that wonderful vibe!
OK, so there we were, hanging out at Puke during the golden years, when the sport on the home front was feeding off the overseas pursuits of our illustrious countrymen — Amon, Mclaren, Hulme, Ganley, and Mcrae. This legendary era cast a lustre over the action on our patch … and then, it was gone.
The blue-ribbon events that the punters always packed the fences for during these front-line years of the sport were the singleseaters, pure racing cars, and the modified saloons. I get that; I was deeply into the wild, loud antics of the tin-tops and also loved the sleek projectiles of the openwheelers. But I had a secret passion — and this is where that confession comes in — for the strange and slightly weird world of the sports car racing fraternity. The sports car racers didn’t appear at a local meeting often, as events for this varied range of racing vehicles were almost an endangered species, but, when they did turn up, their appearance seemed to coincide with that exact moment your average motor sport spectator of the day had an inexplicable urge to visit the exciting long-drop excuse for toilets or sate a craving for a bag of hot greasy chips!
Why would that have been, I ask myself? I could understand the reason to vacate your prime fence-viewing location if a Formula Vee race came on or a one-make production-saloon race was the alternative to relieving oneself or indulging one’s desire for deep-fried sustenance …
The weird world of New Zealand sports car racing
The ‘sporties’ captivated me. They were something of a breed apart from anything else on offer. To some spectators — those who obviously lacked appreciation for the wildly divergent array of machinery on a sports car grid in the late 1960s and early ’ 70s — they probably appeared to be a motley assortment of has-beens and homebuilt creations. Just how wrong were those people? Plenty wrong, I say. The sporties have embedded a long history into our racing folklore, but the period that lights my fire the most is the V8 rear-engine big-grunter era that coincided
with the fabulous antics of the all-conquering Mclaren team Can-am making conquests in North America from 1966 to 1972.
It’s slightly bizarre when you reflect that, despite all that massive success of legendary Can-am conquerors ‘the Bruce and Denny show’, on the home front, sports car racing was always seen as the poor relation to the favoured categories.
But, for me, this was a core factor in the category’s appeal. Where else would you be confronted with a line-up that would include three rear-engine Chevy V8-powered machines (if you were lucky) at the head of the grid, possibly a couple of rear-engine Twin Cam Ford–powered offerings, followed by a couple of old front-engined Lolas or Lotus 11/15s, then a bunch of Mallock U2s or Lotus 7 derivatives to flesh out the grid, give or take two or three other interesting additions? This was pretty much the staple diet of the sports car racing scene circa 1968–’ 72, and it made for a really interesting spectacle.
Let’s be frank: one of the major appeals of the sporties was that they were definitely pretty hairy beasts, often seeming to teeter on the edge of disaster. Homebuilt creations that were only raced occasionally, like the U2s and Lotus 7s, always seemed to court mishap, and, at the pointy end of the grid, it was no different. The usual weapon of choice was armed with a 5.0- to 6.0-litre Chevrolet V8 lump, stuffed in the back of a very rudimentary space-frame chassis, with fairly prehistoric aerodynamics for all that raw power … And if you don’t find that particularly interesting, I don’t know what dials your number.
What I’m attempting to say here is that when the sports car races of the golden era hit the track, I was going nowhere, and instead stayed riveted to the action trackside!
Thoroughbreds to big-grunters: the ’60s sports car scene
With that in mind, I should probably point out that this memory of a unique period of Kiwi motor sport is an appreciation and a recollection of a flavour long gone, rather than a detailed history.
This was a time when the many draconian government import regulations restricted access to cars and parts, which left only one alternative: Kiwi homebuilt ingenuity! While my key focus of interest was the 1964–’73 years, it’s equally important to acknowledge the racing antics of the earlier sports car generation, and the following innovative car-building racers from the later ’70s and early ’80s.
I track the origins of the big-grunter, rearengine sporty brigade to the wonderfully creative Stanton brothers, from Christchurch. Maurice (‘Morrie’) and Charles were classic Kiwi backyard engineers. The Stanton Corvette (a 5.0-litre Chev V8) had morphed from a rear-engine open-wheel racer to a sports racer by the season of 1964–’65. It signalled the beginning of a new era. This car continually evolved over the coming six seasons, becoming leaner while gaining power, and later being driven by legendary local steerers Geoff Mardon; Jim Boyd; and, later again, John Monehan.
The Stanton was a mainstay at the front end of the grid from 1964 to 1969 but never quite managed to crack a series win. Standouts in that first season included wins at Renwick (including a second place in the Renwick Gold Star race) and Waimate, proving that cast-iron V8 rear-engine muscle was nimble enough on tight street circuits. However, Morrie’s second summer, ’65–’66, wasn’t so good, and the ironic low point was a crash into a stationer’s toy-shop window at Waimate in 1966, scattering a Scalextric slotcar display! Morrie sustained minor injuries and retired after that. But the car lives on: it was raced in its final years by Russell Greer, including at the Tahunanui Beach races in the mid ’ 70s, before later being completely restored — he still owns it.
All this time, as was typical throughout the unlimited-capacity sports car racing era till 1973, there featured many older pure racing sports cars, some dating back to the 1950s, to make up the grid. Yankee V8 power — read ‘small-block Chevrolet’ — was often inaccurately referred to as ‘Corvette’, perhaps as it seemed to add mana to any old GM V8 salvaged from a local car wreck that was then installed in front-engine relics from the ’50s.
These, of course, included the famed ex– Ken Wharton Monza Ferrari, substituting Chevy V8 power for the tired Ferrari 3.0-litre four-banger now in Johnny Riley’s hands (we’ll talk about Monsieur Riley a little bit later). Also among this crew was made a brief appearance by Rod Coppins, with the Tec Mec Maserati 250F running as a sporty, briefly with the Ron Roycroft V12 sports body and genuine Corvette motor. This concoction of Us-engine-in-italian-thorough-bred-racer was never made in
There was something wild and surreal about ‘the scene’ … as if everything out there at the track really was larger than life
heaven. Coppins crashed the thing backwards through a brick wall at the Dunedin street race in ’62. But worse was to come at Pukekohe in 1963, when another accident took the lives of an ambulance worker and a spectator, though the car had been returned to singleseater format by then.
Another V8 Chev convert was John Donnelly (among others) with the HWM Corvette, which ran into the mid ’60s, with ever-wider guards housing wider wheels in a rather futile effort to try to stay competitive. This car had previously run a Bristol motor. Another that also comes to mind is the Healey Corvette/chev, which was driven by many in the ’60s, in particular Alan Kennard — while one of the later drivers was possibly Grahame Smith. And we can’t forget the illustrious Jaguar contingent, or Jaguar-powered offshoots, that were still showing up on grids in the mid ’60s. The D-types had largely gone by then, though Brent Hawes, a man we would hear much more about, was still thrashing the daylights out of the ex– Frank Cantwell front-engine Tojeiro Jaguar in 1965 to ’66 and the following season. It didn’t take him long to deduce that he was backing the wrong horse and to see that the way forward was an engine behind his back, preferably with lots of Detroit V8 grunt. Scott Wiseman imported a ‘ lightweight’ Jaguar E-type for the 1968–’69 season, equipped with a 4.2-litre engine, and, while it looked impressive with its high wing, the Christchurch-based driver found it no match for the rear-engine V8 horde.
Jaguar engines were also the power plant of choice for a few other hybrids, including Jamie Aislabie’s ageing Cooper Jaguar. Jamie was embarking on a long sports car–racing quest, which featured his weird-looking– but– surprisingly effective Sid MKI, which was a reinvention using some part of the earlier Heron Daimler V8 driven by Norris Miles and others. Aislabie installed a 3.8 Jaguar motor, sat himself behind a huge Cessnatype aircraft windscreen and elevated tail section, and proceeded to move up the grid. After the rear-engine V8s, Jamie was usually the next man home and was always lurking if the big boys encountered any off-road or mechanical mayhem. But, if you can’t beat them, you’d better join them, so he installed a 289 Ford V8 in 1971–’ 72, after a rear-end assault of the safety fences forced a rebuild. Jamie was to win the rather hollow last gasp of the Kiwi Can-am sporties in 1972–’ 73; however, it was only a two-round farce, as the big-bangers were then on the way out. Jamie went on to more illustrious accolades in the later 2.0-litre sports champs in coming years, where he was a real force.
But back to the ’60s. The other major forces at play in the sporties can be best summed up as the legacy of the Lycoming, the 250LM Ferrari, and the coming hardcore V8 era of the Begg sports racers, the Gemco, the Stanton, and the upstart imports in the Lola T70 and the Elfin 400. These were the prime movers as the golden Kiwi Can-am era hit top gear.
Showdown in the fast lane: the duel for victory, 1968 to 1972
‘Feud’ was another name for the Jim Boyd and Grahame Harvey duel. Let’s start with this pair of toughnut Auckland car-industry guys, who seemed to get on the wrong side of each other during the 1968–’69 season. Did it begin with a driving altercation on the race track or a slight of some nature? The reason was never clear, but there was reputed to be no love lost between these two combatants.
Jim Boyd, a Lynfield (Auckland) garage owner, was a long-time racer through his Buckler, Cooper, Holden years, the ill-fated Valour Formula Junior and then his celebrated time with the veteran Lycoming. With this car, he won the New Zealand Sports Car Championship in 1965–’66 (taking all seven rounds), and he won almost every hill-climb championship in sight for several years. Boyd’s iconic ‘man alone’ road-warrior mana was established during his famed Lycoming years. Armed with only his toolkit and a small overnight bag, he drove
The sporties have embedded a long history into our racing folklore, but the period that lights my fire the most is the V8 rear-engine big-grunter era
the legendary aero-engined machine on the road to wherever the action was happening. He’d emerge with a road-grimed face and shining ivories — classic Boyd — and bunk down at whatever pad he could find, if it was an overnighter. One classic tale had Boyd and the Lycoming rumbling out of the lower deck of the Aramoana/picton ferry, after making the late Friday night sailing. He’d left Auckland late afternoon after work and hunkered down for a ballistic drive down the island, pedal to the metal, and made the ferry, en route to Renwick/marlborough for the opening Gold Star meeting of the 1965 - ‘66 season in November. Talk about the ultimate highway hero! By then, he had moved into the Stanton Corvette, the seat having been vacated by Geoff Mardon, and was primed for another serious assault on the sports car title.
But there was serious opposition. Across town, previous FJ Holden racer and automotive workshop owner Grahame Harvey had made a big push to move into the high-powered stratosphere of the elite sports car fraternity. He had bought the one-year-old title-winning Elfin 400 (minus the 6.5-litre Chevy motor) and was gearing up for a formidable campaign.
Down south, out of Timaru, Brent Hawes was also shaping up as a major player in this battleground for honours. Entering his second season with the Southland-built Begg Chevrolet, he looked an impressive contender after a year of experience in sorting the machine for the title chase. He was equipped with a 5.0-litre Chev V8, as was Harvey, while Boyd was running the slightly larger 5.4-litre Chev. The scene was set for a hellraising showdown that would last over two seasons and beyond.
Sadly, Brent Hawes’ second season with the Begg ended horrifically in a late-season crash at Ruapuna that cost him his life. A deep dread of fire in a racing accident had convinced him not to fit seat belts to the Begg, and it was supremely ironic that seat belts would have saved him from being flung out after a wild spin, caused by jammed throttle at the end of Ruapuna’s main straight.
This was a three-horse race that went right down to the wire. Like Boyd, Harvey was a hard-but-fair racer, steeped in the traditions and folklore of the legendary South Auckland racer / car-dealing jungle led by icons such as Red Dawson, Johnny Riley, and Garth Souness. He’d worked on Johnny’s race cars, no less, and soaked up the uncompromising, give-no-quarter driving attitude of the ex– stock car racing elite. Speaking of Johnny Riley — he’d also looked to be a serious player at the outset of that season, when he replaced the 2.7 Climax motor with a Traco-built Oldsmobile V8 in his Lotus 19B. With the lightweight engine installed, the car showed great promise at the outset of the title chase, and took a second and third in the opening rounds.
However, that was the last time he scored points, as a couple of accidents and a long saga of engine problems ended his challenge.
Arguably, Harvey had the quickest car: the brutal-looking Elfin 400. To describe it as ‘sleek’ might almost be said to be an understatement for this almost wedge-like projectile. But, at the outset of his four-year tenancy with the Australian-built machine, he was dialling himself in against both Boyd and Hawes, who each had three years of front-line sports car racing experience.
The season did not disappoint the punters. The hairy testosterone-pumping rear-engine monsters were the most spectacular animals in action on the blacktop circuits in Aotearoa at the time. It was just a pity that there weren’t more of them — but this could apply to several other formulas at the time as well. The pond was probably too small to support that many front-line categories. The saving grace of that 68’–’69 season was the amazing reliability of the Detroit V8 mills. Hawes scored in every round of the seven-race
The Stanton had performed well, but was beginning to show its age, and Boyd realized that if he was going to front a serious challenge for the title in the 1969–’70 season … he would need a faster weapon
series, and Harvey and Boyd only had one retirement each.
When the circus reached the final showdown, at the new circuit at Timaru, the title chase was locked into a desperate scrap between Hawes and Harvey. Boyd was just a few points behind, and poised to pounce should either of them fail to finish. Hawes was in the box seat, needing only to finish second to wrap up the series, and, with Boyd suddenly a late scratching due to mechanical woes, it looked to be in the bag. However, the wildcard in the pack was Barry Keen, having his second outing in the Mcbegg Chev, and this proved to be his undoing. Keen drove impressively, putting immense pressure on Hawes in second place until he overcooked it. Although Brent recovered to third place, Harvey shaved home to win the race and the title by just one point, with 50 points to Hawes’ 49, and Boyd close on 43 points. Everyone else was nowhere. The only other competitors of note were Scott Wiseman, in the lightweight E-type Jaguar, and Ross West in the Lotus 23 (imported from Scandinavia). However, West’s fourth place in the series, with nine points, speaks volumes. Keen’s second place with the ‘new’ Mcbegg in the final round looked a good omen for the following summer.
Jim Boyd was disappointed, to put it mildly, with the end-of-term report for his campaign. Third place was not the outcome he had anticipated, and losing to that upstart Harvey had stung. The Stanton had performed well, but was beginning to show its age, and Boyd realized that if he was going to front a serious challenge for the title in the 1969–’ 70 season against Harvey’s Elfin and Keen in the Mcbegg, he would need a faster weapon.
The 1966 Lola T70 MKII with a wellprepared 5.9-litre Chevy was the exact bit of Anglo-american hardware that he needed. He was now right on terms with Harvey and ready to give him the big serve — if he could — that summer.
The Lola’s origins make quite interesting reading. It was originally sold new to Umberto Maglioli of Italy with the 5.9-litre engine, in May 1966, but there is no known racing history prior to the car being sold to Englishman Dill Pell, who brought it to New Zealand in 1969. But another school of thought — as expounded by Grahame Vercoe in his book Historic Racing Cars of New Zealand — says that this was the car that Kiwi Ross Greenville raced and had a nasty accident with in the 1968 Can-am series. Following that, he sent the car to New Zealand, possibly with the thought of racing it in the New Zealand Championship. However, it seems that the Greenville car was a different chassis, according to the official Lola T70 chassis records. Yet another theory expounded at the time was that this was the ex–don O’sullivan car from Western Australia, but records seem to indicate it wasn’t, as O’sullivan continued to race his Lola throughout 1970. Whether either Pell or Greenville intended racing it here is unknown, but Jim Boyd arranged or seized the opportunity to buy it, levelling the playing field in an instant. He was ready to do battle in a highly competitive, proven car with a great track record.
1969–’70: Boyd and Harvey slug it out
I probably should admit that I have a peculiar fascination for the drama that unfolded between these two hard-nosed characters and the other combatants, a drama which helped make for an intriguing sports car scene over this particular season. Bear with me as I lay a bit more data on you. The 1969’–70 big-banger New Zealand Sports Car Championship was shaping up as a real grudge match between the two hardcore chargers, Harvey and Boyd, in their factory-built Can-am-style V8 belters. Competition to these front runners
was looking predictably a bit slim. The tragic loss of Brent Hawes at the end of the previous season had left a big hole in the ranks at the front of the grid. Barry Keen’s decision to step down from driving the Mcbegg was a disappointment, as he’d looked very sharp at the Timaru finale in early ’69. Had Hawes survived and got his hands on this car for that season, things might have been different, but we’ll never know how that would have played out, as it was Geoff Mardon who took over the reins, and he only played a limited role in proceedings. The only other competitor to front in the rear-engine V8 brigade was John Monehan, with the occasional appearance of the ageing Stanton Corvette, but he struck a saga of mechanical grief, and, like Mardon, he didn’t make a significant dent the scoreboard.
Two other new cars emerged this season that looked like they would have frontrunning capability a bit further down the track. Garry Pedersen and his friend, Peter Macks, purchased the Johnny Riley Lotus 19-21 Traco Oldsmobile V8 sports racer in the winter of 1968. This car was magnificently crafted into the Gemco Oldsmobile over 16 months. Glen Eden Motor Bodies Ken Platt built a magnificently crafted aluminium body, modelled on the Mclaren M8A Can-am car — with dimensions unbelievably true, taken from an instruction sheet of a model kitset version of the car! This beautiful racer made a one-off appearance at the Pukekohe January ’ 70 New Zealand Grand Prix ( NZGP) meeting and retired while leading. The team realized that more sorting was required, and it would return a season later and stamp its presence in no uncertain terms on the last few years of Kiwi Can-am.
Tyrell Turtill’s and Gary Mulholland’s 7.0-litre aircraft-engined Continental Special was a completely different animal, the only similarity being that it also had its engine in the rear. With an all-alloy body, it looked striking in bare metal, and it definitely had loads of potential. It used an intriguing transaxle and east–west engine mounting, and was the brainchild of two young engineer-racers. Operating out of Wellington, the car initially just appeared at the Levin circuit, where, early on, it had a competitive outing against Harvey’s Elfin, which suggested it could play a significant role on the national sports car stage. It also won a couple of minor non-championship races at Timaru and Ruapuna in early 1970. Kiwi ingenuity was alive and well, and this beautiful car looked to be the Lycoming of the early ’ 70s. Sadly, that all came to nought when Tyrell Turtill and Gary Mulholland were tragically killed in a road crash.
So, essentially, it crunched down into a two-horse race, which was probably divine providence, as this confrontation was almost bigger than the racing. This was personal! Harvey and Boyd were duelling on a different level, with a final showdown, a fight to try to vanquish each other — shades of a gladiatorial battle, a confrontation with no quarter given or asked for. It can be fascinating stuff, though, at times, when neither combatant backs off, it doesn’t end well …
Win or crash: the 1969–’70 sports car title
But back to the season kick-off. The main combatants, Harvey and Boyd, didn’t unleash their war for the title at the first round at Pukekohe on September 21, 1969. Harvey was a no-show, and Boyd cruised to an easy win after a brief challenge from John Monehan’s Stanton Corvette ended
in an early exit, with no oil pressure. Bob Hyslop was a distant second in his JRM Ford, from Dave Wallace’s very rapid Lola Climax, which held off Ivy Stephenson in her much newer Lotus 23B Twin Cam.
Things certainly hotted up in the second round at Bay Park on October 4, 1969. Harvey had replaced his 5.0-litre (302ci) Chev with a larger 5.7-litre (350ci) Camaro motor. This put him really on terms with Boyd’s similar 5.9-litre Chev. Despite the small field, there was a riveting battle up front when the Elfin and Lola drivers went head to head. They ran two abreast at times, which had the crowd on its feet, as Harvey just got the nod when the flag fell. Boyd wasn’t helped by his engine, which seemed to have slight fuel-blockage problems. Baron Robertson was third in the Heron Twin Cam, followed by Bob Hyslop with his JRM Ford.
A return match at Bay Park on November 15, 1969 seemed to pick up where things left off, with the opening laps fiercely contested. Boyd’s Lola T70 was running beautifully, and he took full advantage, giving a spectacular display of driving, eventually pulling away from Harvey to win by seven seconds. Harvey struggled in the latter stages with boiling brake fluid, and his car wasn’t as well set up on this occasion as the Boyd Lola. John Monehan retired with engine damage, and Bob Hyslop’s rapid JRM Ford finished third after another good contest with Dave Wallace, in his amazingly quick 1.2-litre Climax-powered Lola MKI.
Things really came to a head at Pukekohe on December 8, 1969. Harvey hit the front at the gun, with Boyd on his tail, all over the Elfin and looking for a way through. The crowd was on its feet, witnessing an epic contest as both drivers gave no quarter in a wild on-the-limit display of raggededge driving. Harvey resorted to closing the gate on Boyd at times to keep the Lola driver at bay, and, eventually, the latter’s frustration saw him attempt a pass on the outside of Champion Curve. This was the bravest of brave moves on the Pukekohe track, and, unfortunately, the Lola came unstuck in a crazy high-speed spin, emitting plenty of blue tyre smoke into the outfield, fortunately without damage to driver or car. Boyd rejoined, and recaptured second place from Hyslop in the JRM, which had passed him during his wild gyrations! However, Harvey’s comment was, “I couldn’t believe it when I saw him trying to get alongside” as he went on to the win. The stakes had definitely been lifted after this onslaught between the two arch rivals.
The NZGP meeting on January 10,
The 1969’–70 big-banger New Zealand Sports Car Championship was shaping up as a real grudge match between … Harvey and Boyd, in their factory-built Can-am-style V8 belters
1970, was shaping up as a further ballistic confrontation between the two determined drivers. Harvey was in blinding form in practice, scoring pole with a 63.5-second lap and nearly hitting 170mph (273.5kph) down the back straight as he edged out Boyd. This race was also significant for the first appearance of Garry Pedersen, in the completely rebuilt and modified ex– John Riley Lotus 19-21 Oldsmobile. The car looked a million bucks, with its beautifully crafted Mclaren M8a–lookalike body. However, the Ken Wharton Memorial Trophy sports car race turned to custard for all the major players. Getting the jump at the start was paramount for the duelling Harvey and Boyd, and the latter just shaded Harvey when the hammer came down. As they stood on the gas through Champion Curve, Harvey drew alongside, and Boyd, thinking he had the line, moved across — unaware that the Elfin was so close. Harvey swerved violently towards the grass but couldn’t avoid the unsighted Boyd, hitting him: the resulting crash ended the race for both drivers. The Elfin’s front bodywork was ripped off in the impact and badly fractured, and the front magnesium wheel was ruined. The Lola suffered a broken gearbox casing and loss of oil, and the car coasted to a stop at the hairpin.
Garry Pedersen took the lead on the second lap from Bob Hyslop and looked to be heading for an easy win until overheating forced him to withdraw, though, ironically, later the problem was traced to a faulty temperature gauge. A win on debut was not to be.
Bob Hyslop took the surprise win in his JRM Ford; Ivy Stephenson in the Lotus 23B was second, to much fanfare from the grandstand; and Peter Ranson was third in his Lancer.
This episode further deepened the rift between the two drivers that had been festering since the previous season. At the midway point of this season, the title chase was pretty equally poised between Boyd and Harvey, but, unfortunately, for the latter, this was where it unravelled. At Bay Park on December 29, 1969, a practice excursion into a fence put him out, and, at Timaru on January 30, a crack in the block of his Chevy motor also ruled him a non-starter. Boyd won both of these racers at a canter, with no serious opposition. Pukekohe on March 8 was not a championship round, but Boyd, with pushrod problems, recorded a did-not-finish (DNF), and Harvey was a non-starter — having loaned his cylinder heads to American Mclaren M10A racer Ron Grable to continue his campaign in the Australian races of the 1970 Tasman Championship, he was unable to compete. It was disappointing that Harvey’s challenge evaporated in the second half of the series, and this really handed the title to Boyd, who I’m sure would have preferred to battle it out to the bitter end.
Hyslop, in his superfast JRM Ford 1650, was a revelation of this season. He usually punched way above his weight, scoring two wins and several seconds, and, ultimately, this gained him second place outright in the championship. Among the eclectic sports car mix, several other combos also stood out — namely, the amazing performances of Dave Wallace, in his 10-year-old Lola MKI Climax, and Jamie Aislabie, in his even older Cooper Jaguar. At times, they outshone the theoretically much faster rear-engine twincam cars of Baron Robertson’s Heron and Ivy Stephenson’s Lotus 23B.
With victory achieved, Jim Boyd had enforced his presence on the sports car scene in 1970 with the beautiful Lola T70. Having made his point emphatically, he abruptly retired. He was a tough, relentless competitor, and the sports car ranks looked a lot leaner after his departure. But, just as crisis seemed to loom for the endangered big-grunter sporties, a new hero suddenly emerged. Keep an eye out for part two of this feature in next month’s issue.
The completely rebuilt and modified ex–john Riley Lotus 19-21 Oldsmobile … looked a million bucks, with its beautifully crafted Mclaren M8a–lookalike body
Grahame Harvey and the Elfin 400, Pukekohe, possibly the NZGP, January 1969 (Mike Feisst photo)
(Top) Geoff Mardon in the Stanton Corvette, Pukekohe 1967–’68 (Gerard Richards Collection — Jack Inwood photo); (bottom) Motor Racing Ruapuna Park programme
Left: Barry Keen in the Begg Corvette, Pukekohe, February 22, 1967 (Stuart Buchanan photo) Right: 1970 Listener cover with Brent Hawes and Jim Boyd
Formula Libre grid, Pukekohe, March 1969 — Grahame Harvey and Dennis Marwood in the front row, and Geoff Mardon in the Mcbegg and David Oxton in the Brabham in the second row (Stuart Buchanan photo)
Above: Jim Boyd’s Lola T70 at the January 1970 NZGP meeting, Pukekohe (Mike Feisst photo) Left: Rothmans Cambridge cigarette advert featuring Jim Boyd’s Lola T70, 1969–’70 Right: Elfin 400, Grahame Harvey, Wigram Tasman Meet, Jan 1971 (photographer unknown)
Gemco Oldsmobile debut at the NZGP, Pukekohe, January 1970 (Mike Feisst photo)