Despite the time he spent working on the farm, it was the machinery that caught Allan’s attention and, at the age of 16, he began a motor mechanic apprenticeship in Dunedin. His boss, Frank, at the workshop had emigrated from Germany to New Zealand and was an expert on Mercedes-Benz but, more importantly from Allan’s perspective, he was also very interested in working on and modifying engines.
While busying himself working on tuning VW and other engines, Allan could not have known that his life would change forever when local racer Kelvin Cameron brought in his Lotus 22 for them to look after. Only 18 and a third-year apprentice, Allan found himself tasked with the job of rebuilding the car’s motor, an early Ford Cortina non-cross-flow engine that had originally been built in the UK. That engine would subsequently be rebuilt by Allan several times and was soon capable of safely running at 7800rpm; pretty good for 1968.
The following year, Cameron relocated to Christchurch and Allan decided to leave home to join him; he was still only 19 years old. Once in Christchurch, Allan found himself helping to prepare Cameron’s Brabham BT21 alongside well-known main mechanic, Hank Rossiter.
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