Three Score and Ten for Iconic Off-Roader – 1953 Land Rover S1

October 26th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , |

As a young boy back in the UK during the 1960s, summer always saw the Walton family packing up their swimming togs for a fortnight’s summer holiday in North Wales. During the early half of the decade, a B&B in Harlech was the most usual destination but, as the 1960s swung further, we moved further [...]

People, Passion, Speed

September 10th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

The first season of Trofeo racing came after a group of enthusiastic Alfasud owners got together in July 1990. Having experienced difficulties being accepted into traditional classic car grids, they decided to form their own competition group. Since that time, almost 30 years ago, the Trofeo Series has evolved to include newer Alfa Romeo models [...]

Seventy Years of Lotus Cars (Part Two)

September 9th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , , |

At the time of Chapman’s death in December 1982 the facts of the DeLorean affair were starting to become known. The British Inland Revenue were after Lotus and imposed an £84 million claim on the company. By 1983 the company was almost bankrupt. Mark Thatcher, son of Margaret, convinced David Wickins (later to be known [...]

1961 Cole-Baker Special

September 9th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , , |

We trace the history of a unique, locally built special that started off life with a Morris Minor engine before finally gaining Rover V8 power. Like virtually all Kiwi specials, this car was put together on a shoe-string budget by one man – in this case Dan Cole-Baker, a teacher from Raglan. In 1959 when [...]

1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner – Electrifying a Classic

April 24th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Despite all the recent media hullaballoo concerning electric cars, there’s really nothing new about an electrically powered vehicle (EV). Indeed, at the dawn of the motoring age there was little to choose between electric, petrol or even steam-powered vehicles. In fact, electric power was dominant when considered purely from the point of view of the [...]

Lightweight 
Contenders

February 21st, 2018|Tags: , , , |

During the 1980s, the rise of the hot hatch, spearheaded by cars such as Volkswagen’s Golf GTi and Peugeot’s 205GTi, virtually killed off the soft-top sports car. In a market flooded with go-faster shopping baskets, only a handful of specialist sports car makers persisted until, in 1989, Mazda hit back with their MX-5. In effect, [...]

Ford’s Z Cars

December 14th, 2017|Tags: , , , , , |

When I was a young boy growing up in the UK during the late 1950s/early 1960s (born a few months before the formal cessation of WWII rationing), my father’s best mate, Johnny Hamer (who owned and ran a garage in nearby Timperley), drove around in a splendid Ford Zodiac. Compared to my father’s Morris Minor [...]

MGC 50th Anniversary 1967–2017

August 17th, 2017|Tags: , , , , |

In 1957 the integration of the Austin-Healey and MG families was the catalyst for several interesting possibilities, including the prospect of a six-cylinder MG. Indeed, a dual project was soon underway – ADO51 would be an Austin-Healey, while ADO52 was scheduled to be the six-cylinder, quickly designated as the ‘C’. Intended as direct replacements for [...]

2017 Swallow 100 Mk III

August 17th, 2017|Tags: , , , , , |

One cold and frosty day during the winter of 1996, I found myself settling into the leather-lined cockpit of a locally built T Car in preparation for a road test of the Kiwi-built roadster. Russell Hooper, the main driving force behind Alternative Cars – the Auckland-based company that had designed and developed the T Car [...]