New Zealand Classic Car - - Contents - Words: Trevor Stan­ley-joblin Pho­tos: Trevor Stan­ley-joblin, some with kind per­mis­sion, from Al­lan Dick


The sev­enth New Zealand In­ter­na­tional Grand Prix was held at the Ard­more Cir­cuit on Jan­uary 9, 1960. The win­ner was Jack Brab­ham, driv­ing a Cooper Cli­max. Best-placed New Zealan­der was Johnny Mansel in a 250F Maserati, in fifth. Even some New Zealand–built spe­cials were en­tered. They in­cluded the now-leg­endary 4733cc Ly­coming, driven then by Mal­colm Gill. Jack Weaver en­tered in the Citroën Spe­cial, while Christchurch­based en­gi­neer supreme Hec­tor Green drove his home-built RA Van­guard of 2100cc, and Stead­man Kil­gour en­tered his 4.5-litre Maserati Spe­cial. Was that a New Zealand–built spe­cial too? Per­haps a New Zealand–built spe­cial on an old­ish Maserati rolling chas­sis?

Where were you in ’62?

If you were liv­ing in Aotearoa, The Land of the Long White Cloud, your gov­er­nor­gen­eral was Sir Bernard Fer­gus­son. If you lived in Auck­land, your mayor would have been Dove-myer Robin­son; Hamil­ton, Den­nis Rogers; Welling­ton, Frank Kitts; Christchurch, George Man­ning; and Dunedin, Thomas Kay Stu­art Sidey. The new Dunedin air­port at Momona was opened. On May 10, the first in­take of a new na­tional ser­vice scheme be­gan train­ing in the army. Also on this day, a huge earth­quake cen­tred at West­port caused enor­mous dam­age and dis­rup­tion. The open-road speed limit was raised from 50 to 55mph (80 to 88kph). The rail ferry Aramoana ush­ered in a new era in in­ter-is­land freight across Cook Strait. Bar­rie Deven­port be­came the first to swim across Cook Strait; Pe­ter Snell broke the world mile run­ning record; tele­vi­sion be­gan in De­cem­ber; and, on the first day of that month, Whakatane air­port be­gan op­er­a­tions. On De­cem­ber 31, New Zealand’s es­ti­mated pop­u­la­tion was 2,515,000.

The first Dat­sun Blue­bird 312 ar­rived. The Austin and Mor­ris 1100s ar­rived here also. They sold well and be­came fam­ily favourites. We saw the first Ford Cortina MKI, in both four-door and two-door form. The Pub­lic Ser­vice Garage re­ceived many base-model two-doors, in, of course, that de­press­ing colour of Post Of­fice Grey: that was the low­est-priced model of all, but is now ea­gerly sought-af­ter for con­ver­sion into a Lo­tus-cortina or Cortina GT.

Gra­ham Kerr cooked on TV. Have-a-shot was a na­tional tele­vi­sion tal­ent quest com­pered by Mur­ray Forgie. TV pro­grammes

in­cluded I Love Lucy; The Flint­stones; Rawhide; Doc­tor Kil­dare; Mav­er­ick; Han­cock’s Half Hour; and one of my favourites, Mr Ed — about the epony­mous talk­ing horse. The no­to­ri­ous small­time bur­glar George Wilder be­came al­most an idol to the New Zealand pub­lic. He left apol­ogy notes to the house­hold­ers he bur­gled and even washed their dishes! The Howard Mor­ri­son Quar­tet con­trib­uted to his high pro­file by record­ing the com­edy song Wild Colo­nial Boy. Wilder was even­tu­ally caught and jailed. How­ever, he es­caped three times and was once free for 172 days. Un­em­ploy­ment in 1962 was so low that a stan­dard joke was that the prime min­is­ter, Keith Holyoake, knew all the names of the un­em­ployed. In 1962, that tally was 6898 (around one per cent of the work­force).

And what about me? Well, af­ter be­ing mar­ried for four years with no car, I pur­chased my first one in my mar­ried life: a 1936 Vaux­hall DX 14/6.

Aunt Daisy: the house­wife’s best friend

We must not for­get New Zealand’s house­wife’s best friend, Aunt Daisy. Even I liked lis­ten­ing to her pro­gramme on the ra­dio when­ever time per­mit­ted, on the ZB net­work, Can­ter­bury’s 3ZB. Maud Ruby Basham, MBE, usu­ally known as ‘Aunt Daisy’, was a well-known New Zealand ra­dio broad­caster from 1930 to 1963. Daisy’s first ra­dio work was for the 1YA sta­tion in Auck­land. In 1929, she be­came a full-time an­nouncer on 2YA. In 1932, she was fired when 2YA be­came na­tion­al­ized and pub­lic ser­vice rules de­creed that only one woman was al­lowed to be em­ployed at each sta­tion in an at­tempt to pro­vide more work for men. Daisy then moved to a small pri­vate sta­tion, 2ZW. In 1933, she be­gan work at the pri­vate Friendly Road sta­tion. Her 30-minute daily morn­ing show ran from 1933 to 1963, with her role pri­mar­ily to pro­mote house­hold prod­ucts and to boost morale dur­ing World War II. Her morn­ing show opened to the song Daisy Bell and the greet­ing, “Good morn­ing, good morn­ing, good morn­ing, ev­ery­body”. Due to her pop­u­lar­ity, the gov­ern­ment sent Daisy to navy, air force, and army sta­tions to visit women and re­port back on them in her ra­dio show. This

was part of the New Zealand gov­ern­ment’s pro­pa­ganda ef­forts dur­ing World War II. Dur­ing 1944, Daisy went to the US to pro­mote New Zealand. She was in­vited to a tea with the first lady, Eleanor Roo­sevelt.

In the 1956 New Year’s Hon­our List, she was ap­pointed a Mem­ber of the Or­der of the Bri­tish Em­pire.

A recipe book, The Aunt Daisy Cook­book with House­hold Hints, was a nat­u­ral re­sult of the pop­u­lar­ity of her show. Her most fa­mous (or per­haps in­fa­mous) line on ra­dio was ut­tered in about 1960, when she opened her show with, “Good morn­ing, good morn­ing, good morn­ing, ev­ery­body. Well, what a lovely day it is this morn­ing. When I left home, the sun was shin­ing right up my front pas­sage”. In 1963, on July 14, Maud Ruby Basham died at the age of 83. She was still broad­cast­ing up to a few days be­fore­hand.

1963 and be­yond

An­nual li­cens­ing, or reg­is­tra­tion, was in­tro­duced in 1963, with the an­nual li­cence pe­riod be­gin­ning July 1 each year. It was the end of an era, with ser­vice sta­tions of­fer­ing a va­ri­ety of petrol brands no more; along with them went branded petrol vouch­ers. Camp­bell Mo­tors es­tab­lished an as­sem­bly plant at Thames to build Ram­blers, Toy­otas, and Peu­geots, with Hino Contes­sas and Isuzu Bel­lets soon to fol­low. The gov­ern­ment im­ported three black Ford Zo­diac MKII con­vert­ibles for the royal tour. Where are they now?

In 1964, the Lyt­tel­ton Road Tun­nel opened, end­ing the long drive up and over the Port Hills from Christchurch, and the first Chrysler Valiant AP5 rolled off the Todd Mo­tors, Pe­tone, as­sem­bly line, bring­ing new lev­els of per­for­mance to the six-cylin­der mar­ket. Henry Ford II vis­ited New Zealand for the first time in 1965, and the Nel­son as­sem­bly plant opened to build up Tri­umph, Jaguar, and Rover ve­hi­cles. In 1966, Bruce Mclaren and Chris Amon won the 24 Hours of Le Mans driv­ing a Ford GT40 MKII. The next year, the Trekka was launched, based on a Skoda, and be­came New Zealand’s most suc­cess­ful homegrown car in terms of num­bers built and sold.

In 1966, Bruce Mclaren and Chris Amon won the 24 Hours of Le Mans driv­ing a Ford GT40 MKII. The next year, the Trekka was launched, based on a Skoda, and be­came New Zealand’s most suc­cess­ful homegrown car in terms of num­bers built and sold

Ma­bel Howard

Ma­bel Howard, a high-pro­file min­is­ter dur­ing the 1950s and 1960s, was born in Ade­laide, Aus­tralia, on April 18, 1894. She was a well-known New Zealand trade union­ist and politi­cian, and was a mem­ber of par­lia­ment for the Labour Party from 1943 to 1969. In 1947, she be­came New Zealand’s first fe­male cab­i­net min­is­ter as Min­is­ter of Health and Min­is­ter in charge of Child Wel­fare. Ma­bel joined the Christchurch So­cial­ist Party when still at the Christchurch Tech­ni­cal In­sti­tute. In 1933, aged 39, she be­came the first woman to be­come sec­re­tary of a pre­dom­i­nantly male union in New Zealand. Be­tween 1933 and 1968, Ma­bel was a coun­cil­lor for Christchurch City Coun­cil for a to­tal of 19 years. In par­lia­ment, in 1954, she waved two pairs of bloomers that were both la­belled ‘OS’ in front of an as­ton­ished House. She demon­strated that al­though cloth­ing was sup­posed to be in stan­dard sizes and cor­rectly la­belled, much vari­a­tion ex­isted. She is quoted as say­ing, “I was in pol­i­tics for a pur­pose — my very life was pol­i­tics. I sup­pose this was be­cause I was more manly than most women, that’s why I never mar­ried”.

On an­other oc­ca­sion I re­mem­ber, a mem­ber of the op­po­si­tion was stand­ing up talk­ing about an MP seem­ing to have “one leg in Can­ter­bury and an­other on the West Coast”. Ma­bel stood up and said, “That prob­a­bly ex­plains why they’ve had a lot of rain in Otira lately”. Ma­bel Howard re­tired from pol­i­tics at the 1969 elec­tion, af­ter a life­time of ser­vice to her com­mu­nity. The Labour Party had in­tro­duced a com­pul­sory re­tire­ment age for MPS, which ap­plied to Ma­bel, who had al­ready been show­ing signs of age­ing. On a court or­der, she was even­tu­ally ad­mit­ted to Sun­ny­side Hos­pi­tal. She died there on June 23, 1972, hav­ing never mar­ried. Her lit­tle cot­tage on Pages Road, Sandi­lands, still stands to­day. I vis­ited her home on many oc­ca­sions dur­ing the pe­riod 1964–1969.

The great years of speed­way bikes

Turn­ing the clock back just a few years for a mo­ment, let me take you back to the late 1950s. This was a pe­riod of what I re­call as the golden years of Speed­way Solo rid­ing. At the Christchurch Speed­way, Aranui, the pub­lic flocked in ev­ery Satur­day night from Novem­ber to April. This was the time and place that solo mo­tor­cy­cle rac­ers Ivan Mauger, Barry Briggs, Ron­nie Moore, and Ge­off Mar­don learned their skills and went on to be world-class riders, with Ivan go­ing on to win the world cham­pion crown six times — in 1968–’ 70, and ’ 72, ’ 77, and ’ 79. I don’t think Ivan re­ceived the recog­ni­tion he rightly de­served.

Barry Briggs be­came world in­di­vid­ual cham­pion four times, in 1957, ’58, ’64 and ’68. Ron­nie Moore be­came world in­di­vid­ual cham­pion twice — in 1954 and again in 1959. He was al­ways a wee bit of a showman, but a like­able chap nev­er­the­less. I re­mem­ber him well from the Aranui speed­way days, wear­ing a long silk red scarf around his neck that blew back in the wind. Ron­nie has taught many young men to ride speed­way bikes, in­clud­ing my nephew, Bryce Stu­art. The Ron­nie Moore rac­ing school ran for many decades. In recog­ni­tion of this and his per­sonal achieve­ments on the track, there is now a ded­i­cated track solely for speed­way bikes and side­cars. The com­plex is named the ‘Ron­nie Moore Sta­dium’ and is lo­cated at West Mel­ton, west of Christchurch city.

Ge­off Mar­don qual­i­fied for the world fi­nal in 1959. Later, in his ‘speed­way re­tire­ment years’, he be­came the ‘works’ driver of the fa­mous Christchurch-built Stan­ton Corvette, a Can-am Mclaren-looka­like sports racer. Brian Mck­e­own, a North New Brighton res­i­dent, gained the high­est achieve­ment in the New Zealand test side in 1955. In lat­ter years, Brian was the pro­pri­etor of a chain­saw and mo­tor mower shop in North New Brighton, where I had many deal­ings with him. Brian was a real

gen­tle­man, if ever there was one, both in busi­ness and pri­vate life.

There were other Christchurch riders who were al­most as good as the four just men­tioned, some­times giv­ing them a good run for their money, and, on oc­ca­sion, cross­ing the line within those top four. They were Trevor Red­mond, Windy Rees, Brian Mck­e­own, and Craig Jones. My late brother Jim was also rac­ing with these riders at the time, but in the ju­nior class, so you can un­der­stand my in­ter­est in these mo­tor­cy­cle races. I think all bikes were pow­ered by a 500cc sin­gle-cylin­der JAP mo­tor; how­ever, I do stand to be cor­rected on this.

Burt Munro and The­world’s Fastestin­dian

Now back to the ’60s but stay­ing with the mo­tor­cy­cle theme for a mo­ment. Born on March 25, 1899, Her­bert James Munro, bet­ter known as ‘Burt’, was a much ad­mired and re­spected south­ern man from In­ver­cargill and now syn­ony­mous with the Kiwi ‘ have-a-go’ at­ti­tude.

At Amer­ica’s Bon­neville Salt Flats on Au­gust 26, 1967, the 68-year-old self-taught en­gi­neer de­fied all rea­son­able ex­pec­ta­tions by set­ting a land speed record that still stands to this day. Film direc­tor Roger Don­ald­son’s ini­tial 1972 short doc­u­men­tary was fol­lowed much later, in 2005, with a full-length film, The World’s Fastest In­dian, with Burt played by Sir An­thony Hop­kins, and this brought Munro’s fan­tas­tic achieve­ment to pub­lic at­ten­tion. He set the un­der 1000cc mo­tor­cy­cle world record, at 183.59mph (295.453kph), af­ter decades of tin­ker­ing with and re­fin­ing his 950cc 1920 In­dian Scout. This was his third at­tempt on the salt, and, even af­ter 50 years, his achieve­ment is still a sub­ject of much in­ter­est at the Salt Flats to­day.

Surely mod­ern tech­nol­ogy has long over­rid­den this 50-year-old record? I guess the fact that no one, to my knowl­edge, has even at­tempted to break Burt’s speed of al­most 300kph shows the huge amount of re­spect and ad­mi­ra­tion peo­ple have for the gen­tle­man. Her­bert James Munro died on Jan­uary 6, 1978.

Into the late ’60s

Dec­i­mal cur­rency re­placed the old pounds, shillings, and pence on July 10, 1967. In the same year, De­nis Hulme be­came New Zealand’s first and only For­mula 1 world cham­pion. The open-road speed limit was again in­creased, to 60mph (96.5kph).

Three years af­ter the first Ford Fal­con X-se­ries rolled off the New Zealand as­sem­bly line to be­gin a bat­tle against the Holden EH and Chrysler AP6, the Fal­con 500 XR and Fair­mont 289 V8 sold well. The fol­low­ing year, 1968, saw the first Toy­ota Corol­las — in KE10 four-door form — leave the Camp­bell Mo­tors plant in Thames. A two-door ver­sion was sold, the KE11, in Aus­tralia. It is be­lieved that only about four found their way back to New Zealand, via pri­vate own­ers bring­ing them ‘ back home’ when re­turn­ing to New Zealand, which is how mine ar­rived. Un­for­tu­nately, my car was stolen in June of 2010, never to be seen or heard of again. But that’s an­other story!

Those golden years of the ’60s

The ’60s were the golden times in New Zealand, there’s no doubt about that,

The World’s Fastest In­dian, with Burt played by Sir An­thony Hop­kins … brought Munro’s fan­tas­tic achieve­ment to pub­lic at­ten­tion

and so were the ’50s and ’70s, to a lesser de­gree. I think that was also true in the US and Aus­tralia. One of my favourite things to do now that I’m in my ‘twi­light years’ is to spend a few hours out in my built-in garage on a Satur­day night, par­tic­u­larly in the win­ter, lis­ten­ing to a show on New­stalk ZB, which makes the time out there so much more plea­sur­able. The pro­gramme starts around 6.05pm and con­cludes at 11.56pm. The pro­gramme I re­fer to is In My Day, hosted by Bruce Rus­sell. Each Satur­day night, Bruce will choose a sub­ject to fo­cus on, such as the first car you owned; or your first job; or your mem­o­ries of where you were at the mo­ment you heard, whether from a friend, tele­vi­sion, or ra­dio, that Elvis had died — the same with Diana, Princess of Wales; Pres­i­dent Kennedy; Pe­ter Brook; Pe­ter Blake; Nor­man Kirk; Pos­sum Bourne; Michael Jack­son; and so on. On an­other Satur­day night, it might be your first day at school, or per­haps your child­hood mem­o­ries of the va­ri­ety of ice creams you used to pur­chase. It’s al­ways in­ter­est­ing lis­ten­ing to call­ers’ sto­ries and com­ments about what I’ll just call the ‘golden years of days gone by’. On an­other night, Bruce may ask lis­ten­ers to phone in if they still own and use some of their house­hold ap­pli­ances pur­chased sev­eral decades ago. It’s both in­ter­est­ing and amaz­ing how many of the older gen­er­a­tion phone in to say that they still have those well-made and re­li­able goods.

Lor­raine and I have a lit­tle pri­vate mu­seum out in our garage. Well, it’s more of a col­lec­tion of our own things that we have kept rather than dis­carded. This in­cludes our Phillips push-but­ton Bake­lite-bod­ied kitchen ra­dio, which we pur­chased new in the late 1950s or early ’60s, our orig­i­nal white Ul­ti­mate twin pop-up toaster, and the Prest­cold re­frig­er­a­tor in white and chrome that we pur­chased new in about 1973, still in daily use. We even have our blue-and­white Ken­wood cake mixer, pur­chased in the late ’60s, we think — still us­able but not very of­ten put into ser­vice these days. Parked on dis­play in the hall is a white-and-chrome doll pram from the ’50s pe­riod, which Lor­raine pur­chased at a Vin­tage Car Club swap meet­ing some years ago, in good orig­i­nal, but worn-out, con­di­tion. I re­stored it but, for a while, thought we may have lost it due to the fact that at the time of the earthquakes, it was in Wayne Pa­trick’s Auto-trim shop, hav­ing a new hood and lin­ing in­stalled. Three years later, I went back, and there it was, un­scathed from the build­ing dam­age, un­marked, and hav­ing had work done. Thanks, Wayne. In 1958 or ’59, I pur­chased a blond oak con­sole Ul­ti­mate Courier ra­dio­gram for house­hold use. It was later used for many decades just as a bench or shelf, out in the garage. I re­cently re­stored the ex­te­rior to as-new con­di­tion, and it now takes pride of place back in our new lounge. Per­haps the most spec­tac­u­lar item, though, is the or­ange, tan and chrome 12-inch Mur­phy tele­vi­sion. These are just six of many, from days gone by. I think there are many read­ers who wish that they had kept pri­vate lit­tle items from their past days.

The ’60s were the golden times in New Zealand, there’s no doubt about that, and so were the ’50s and ’70s, to a lesser de­gree. I think that was also true in the US and Aus­tralia

Far left: Burt Mun­roe Left: Ed­monds Cook­ery Book Op­po­site page: Mount Cook Air­lines ad­ver­tis­ment

Left: Bix­ies Toasted Wheat Flakes Right: Trade union­ist Ma­bel Howard Be­low: A New Zealand–built spe­cial that was ahead of its time, in re­spect of its de­sign, the Christchurch RA Van­guard was de­signed, built, and driven by Hec­tor Green — it is shown...

Clock­wise from above: Bruce Mclaren and Chris Amon, with Henry Ford II, ac­knowl­edge the crowd af­ter win­ning the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. There were no per­ma­nent rac­ing cir­cuits in the South Is­land post war — here, two New Zealand–built spe­cials...

Left: Traf­fic in Worces­ter Street, Christchurch, 1960s

Top left: Auck­land’s The Weekly News, May 12, 1962 Top right: Auto parts were cheap back then Right: Just the cure for the com­mon cold

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