34: HEAD OF THE PAC

THIS ISN’T A REPLICA OF THE AN­DER­SON BROTH­ERS’ FA­MOUS PINEPAC XE FAL­CON FROM THE ’80S; IT’S THEIR NEW IM­PROVED VER­SION!

NZV8 - - CONTENTS - WORDS: TODD WYLIE

— RE­BIRTH OF A LEG­ENDARY RACER

De­spite be­ing a small dot on the un­der­side of the globe, New Zealand’s known for punch­ing above its weight in the world of mo­tor­sport. You only need to put your copy of NZV8 down for long enough to catch the news on TV these days to see just how well we’re do­ing. Names like Scott Dixon, Bren­don Hart­ley, and the all-con­quer­ing V8 Su­per­car driv­ers such as SVG, Fabian Coulthard, and Scott McLaugh­lin are the talk of the town.

The beauty of mo­tor­sport at this level these days is that the driv­ers are backed by big teams with even big­ger bud­gets and, with the level of pro­fes­sion­al­ism within the sport, the driv­ers can make a damn good liv­ing out of it.

Flick your cal­en­dar back a few years — OK, more than a few; try the early 1980s. Things were a touch dif­fer­ent then. The names etched into the win­ners’ tro­phies and the minds of the fans in­cluded those of two broth­ers from When­u­a­pai, a small vil­lage on the out­skirts of West Auck­land. Bruce and Wayne An­der­son grew up with a fa­ther who was car mad. Bruce be­gan driv­ing earth­mov­ing machin­ery as a wee lad, and then started show­ing some prom­ise be­hind the wheel of a race car. Lit­tle brother Wayne, some seven years Bruce’s ju­nior, came along and also showed in­ter­est. De­spite Wayne end­ing up park­ing his dad’s car on its roof in a pad­dock well be­fore he was old enough to drive legally, he soon started hon­ing his track skill. Over the years, the duo stepped up through var­i­ous cars and classes.

What made the An­der­son broth­ers suc­cess­ful was not just their tal­ent be­hind the wheel, but their busi­ness nous that al­lowed them to pur­sue their

dreams. Don’t for­get, in those days the rac­ing was all owner funded, owner built, and owner main­tained — no big-dol­lar spon­sors foot­ing the bill, and no mas­sive teams to fix the dam­age. Hav­ing al­ways had an as­so­ci­a­tion with Ford, not just for their road cars but also for their truck fleet — for the An­der­sons’ suc­cess­ful sawmilling busi­ness — the broth­ers joined the fray when the XD and XE Fal­cons were re­leased, pur­chas­ing an XD NZ Pro­duc­tion Sa­loon pre­vi­ously cam­paigned by Nick Be­govic and Dick John­son, be­fore build­ing an XE re­place­ment from scratch.

Both cars, dressed in the now-fa­mous Pinepac livery, went on to race against many of the great names of to­day — the XE com­ing third in two New Zealand cham­pi­onships with Bruce be­hind the wheel. Dick John­son was in­vited to co­drive with Bruce for the 1985 Welling­ton Street Race, where he placed the car on pole, and, although me­chan­i­cal is­sues put them out early on, a friend­ship was cre­ated that’s stayed strong un­til this day — just don’t ask Dick about New Zealan­ders be­ing able to buy their bread pre­but­tered; an in­side joke that will have them all in hys­ter­ics.

The XE was one of just two gen­uine ho­molo­gated Group A XE Fal­cons ever built. Sadly, this car, af­ter be­ing on­sold to a rel­a­tive, ended up be­ing stolen, never to be seen again. De­spite lots of noise about its where­abouts, it seems that piece of Kiwi his­tory is gone for­ever. How­ever, the love for that car has not. Fast for­ward to 2017, and Bruce’s fam­ily, in­clud­ing son An­drew — who’s also had plenty of suc­cess be­hind the wheel — is still run­ning the sawmill, Wayne, aka Jacko, is liv­ing his dream of build­ing and main­tain­ing race cars at his busi­ness, AV8 Mo­tor­sport, where he’s as­sisted by his son Tony — yet an­other suc­cess­ful racer.

Jacko was in need of some Fal­con run­ning gear for an­other project he was in­volved in, and came across a com­plete XE with just what he needed. The pur­chase worked out well, as An­drew was able to con Un­cle Jacko into giv­ing him some fin­ish­ing parts for his XE Fal­con street car project. Soon, the four An­der­son boys were left star­ing at an XE bodyshell. Clearly, there was only ever go­ing to be one out­come — the chance to re­live the dream be­ing far too strong for the fam­ily to re­sist. Bruce de­scribes it as “not only a trip down mem­ory lane but also the re-cre­ation of a neat car from a unique pe­riod of New Zealand mo­tor­sport, when a street race was taken by the scruff of the neck by an

Aussie leg­end” — so there was clearly a lit­tle point to prove, too.

With Enzed Cen­tral Mus­cle Cars now be­ing the pin­na­cle of sa­loon rac­ing in New Zealand, and Bruce al­ready sit­ting at the front of the class be­hind the wheel of his ’69 Mus­tang, build­ing the XE for the class was the ob­vi­ous choice. So, while nos­tal­gia’s nice, new­stal­gia’s even bet­ter, and the car would re­ceive the best mod­ern-day equip­ment they could get their hands on.

A 358ci Roush Yates Nascar road race en­gine was the first on the list, along with an An­drews Rac­ing four-speed gear­box to match. While the parts them­selves are ex­actly what’s re­quired to be at the right end of the field, the ace up their sleeves was the ex­pe­ri­ence that Jacko and Tony could bring to the table in race car con­struc­tion. Not that the oth­ers didn’t get their hands dirty, mind you. Even Bruce’s wife, Ju­dith, who was deeply in­volved with run­ning the team last time the broth­ers cam­paigned an XE, was a key part of the project. The shell was dip stripped from the get-go to let them see what they were re­ally deal­ing with. While it was away, fi­bre­glass pan­els to be bolted onto it were pro­duced by Mike Shaw Fi­bre­glass. De­spite CMC’s 1500kg weight re­stric­tion, it’s not been all about drop­ping a few pounds — due to them be­ing hard to find these days. Mike was also com­mis­sioned to pro­duce a Group A XE Fal­con three-piece rear spoiler and pe­riod replica front spoiler, while Plas­tics Con­struc­tions was called in to sup­ply Lexan for the win­dows.

The fab work that brings it all to­gether saw the stock rear diff have its cen­tre cut out, re­placed with a 9-inch cen­tre, and mated to MS Fab­ri­ca­tion cam­bered hubs. This would soon be hung off the stan­dard XE four-link, and sup­ported by Koni coilovers. A Watt’s link­age helps con­trol the side-to-side while a cus­tom AV8 sway bar keeps roll in check. The front end saw a sim­i­lar mix of com­po­nents, with Global West A-arms be­ing the key dif­fer­ence.

Lo­cal parts sup­plier, Racer Prod­ucts — run by fel­low rac­ing fam­ily, Petch, from the An­der­sons’ early Group A days — was called upon to sup­ply count­less parts, such as the class max­i­mum size brake pack­age, while 1st Auto Parts, a busi­ness pre­vi­ously owned by fel­low racer, Ivan Segedin, was also a crit­i­cal part of the sup­ply chain.

Usu­ally, a ve­hi­cle such as this would run a fuel sys­tem that looks to the un­trained eye some­what like a boot-mounted oil refinery, but this car would be a touch dif­fer­ent, with the Roush Braswell four-bar­rel carb be­ing sup­plied via a me­chan­i­cal fuel pump draw­ing from a Hol­ley fuel mat mounted in the Fuel Safe cell. No surge tank or lift pumps re­quired. Up front, the combo parts con­tin­ued with a C&R com­bined wa­ter and oil cooler be­ing fit­ted to keep tem­per­a­tures in check. Mind you, with a 20-litre Nascar dry sump oil tank be­ing fit­ted, oil is not in short sup­ply.

Not even the wiring in the car is the same as the orig­i­nal XE. In fact, due to the MoTeC PDM sys­tem, there are no fuses and all the con­trols for the elec­tri­cal com­po­nents are run off the steer­ing wheel, thanks to some magic per­formed by Race­car and Cus­tom Elec­tri­cal.

With the 2018–19 sea­son com­ing up rapidly, the boys were on a mis­sion to make sure they didn’t just show up for the first round of the sea­son, but showed up with a tested and proven car, so, once the fab­ri­ca­tion was com­plete, the team at Moselle Panel and Paint were given strict in­struc­tions that the paint­work was ur­gent.

The choice of colour never needed to be dis­cussed; there was no way it would be any­thing but the iconic Pinepac Toby Yel­low — a colour that’s graced the team’s cars since the 1980s. Moselle didn’t just slap the paint on, ei­ther, but mas­saged the big Fal­con’s pan­els to per­fec­tion be­fore en­sur­ing the car was coated with a showqual­ity PPG fin­ish in­side and out. They got it done on sched­ule, too, with the car be­ing re­assem­bled in time for a cou­ple of test days out on the track a few weeks be­fore the sea­son be­gan. Although An­drew’s not been be­hind the wheel of a race car for a few sea­sons, hav­ing stepped down from the BNT NZV8s se­ries, he’s still an An­der­son, and push­ing a race car to its lim­its is sec­ond na­ture to him, as was shown dur­ing test­ing. With Bruce con­tin­u­ing to cam­paign the Mus­tang in the se­ries, we sus­pect that not only will there be com­pe­ti­tion with the rest of the grid, but per­haps a lit­tle fa­ther/son com­pe­ti­tion go­ing on, too. Mind you, An­drew’s likely all too aware that if the Fal­con proves too much for the Mus­tang to keep up with, there’s al­ways the pos­si­bil­ity of the old boy pulling rank and tak­ing the car for him­self.

Much like the fans of the ’80s watch­ing the cars of the B&H Pro­duc­tion Sa­loon class hit­ting the grid for the first time, we can’t wait to watch this un­fold, and, with the XE Fal­con run­ning full pe­riod trib­ute livery, it’s like wind­ing the clock back!

PHO­TOS: ADAM CROY

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