Words and Photos: PATRICK HARLOW
In this, the first part of a new series detailing cars that are unique to New Zealand – compiled and written by Patrick Harlow, author of several books on Kiwi-designed and built cars – we present a trio of locally designed and built supercars.
This ongoing series will not include cars like the Vauxhall Viva Score 7 or the Humber 80 as they were cars designed in England, and we will not be including cars that were simply unique to New Zealand via their trim and/or badging. However, it will include a Lotus because for a very short time, while Colin Chapman was CEO of Lotus, a genuine Lotus car was designed and manufactured in this country, with two prototypes produced before fears of legal action from the USA put an end to it.
All the cars that will appear in this series are full of Kiwi DNA and showcase just how good we are at designing cars. A large number of these cars will be unknown, forgotten about or have since faded into obscurity. About two-thirds of them were sold as a kit set, but all of them could be bought ready to be driven straight from the factory.
Most who read this guide will have heard of the Trekka, but the Trekka is only one of many homegrown unique vehicles manufactured in this country. To start off this guide, I’ll whet your appetites by looking at the best of the best – our supercars.
It is very rare that the words ‘homegrown supercar’ and ‘New Zealand’ will find themselves in the same sentence. However, there have been a few such cars designed and produced in this country, two of which attained international fame – and one, the Saker, is still in production, being sold and raced in Europe.
Some will disagree with my describing the following cars as supercars. That being said, it is very hard to define what a supercar is, and in this instance, I have gone with a definition put together by Jeff Glucker, a well-known US automotive correspondent:
“Supercars are mystic creatures that stalk empty backroads where they can’t be bothered by lesser machines. They inhabit our hearts, our minds – and the posters of the walls belonging to our younger selves.”
Judged by the above definition, the cars featured here tick all the boxes and would look great in any supercar calendar or poster.
Continue this story in our September-October issue (page 20-26)