NZ Classic Driver


(Bateman Books)

- Steve Holmes ISBN 978 0 473 64121 4 Review copy supplied by the publisher

The first time I saw Trevor Crowe racing was in the support races at the NZ Grand Prix meeting at Pukekohe on January 8-9, 1983. Crowe was at the wheel of his wild looking Toyota Starlet – now sporting the startling pink and white livery of his sponsor, Zap flavoured milk. With its mid-mounted 4.2-litre Oldsmobile V8 and huge rear wing, the Starlet dominated proceeding­s, and even won the reverse grid race.

At that time, I had no idea that Trevor had begun his long motorsport career at the wheel of an MG J2, a car that over the following years would be modified again and again to become the MGV8, the first in a long line of Trevor Crowe racing specials that would stretch out to the Zap Starlet I saw racing that weekend at Pukekohe and that would continue to this day.

This new book came about because a group of racing car drivers and motorsport enthusiast­s felt so strongly that Trevor Crowe’s story had to be told that they all decided to make it happen – as detailed in Roger Townshend’s brief introducti­on. These investors chose NZ Classic Driver contributo­r and motor racing historian Steve Holmes to put pen to paper, a good choice as Steve is an avowed fan, having first seen Trevor racing only a few years before I first saw the Zap Starlet.

With his vast knowledge of local motorsport, Steve traces Trevor’s story from his early days in Christchur­ch during the ‘40s through to the establishm­ent of his own workshop. Before reading this book, I had never been really aware of Trevor’s racing career and the diversity of cars he raced – moving from his MGV8 to a series of tin-top racing cars, including Group A, laps around the Nürburgrin­g in a Lotus Elise – not to mention his forays into rallying and even jet boat racing. Trevor is also revealed as a physical fitness enthusiast, having competed in events such as the Paris Marathon and the Coast to Coast.

There’s just so much to read in this book, even the listing of Crowe-built specials is fascinatin­g, covering everything from a TR7 V8 and Austin A40 Farina to a humble Subaru Justy – all cars benefittin­g from Trevor’s expert touch. Although this book’s emphasis is rightly placed on cars and motor sport, what emerges is a very personal story of one man and his determinat­ion to live an extraordin­ary life.

This book is available to order from www.crowesport­

$49.99 | Review by Allan Walton

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