Bruce Harré spent his childhood on a farm near Hunterville, in the central North Island. In his last year at Wanganui Technical College, he boarded next door to the motor racing family of Doug and June Lawrence and their four sons, which set the course of his future as his enthusiasm for cars and motorsport grew.

“I’ve been an avid follower of motor racing from very early days. I was a sort of self-taught mechanic. I read all the books I could get hold of and knew how they worked. If you know how they work you’ve got a fairly good chance of being able to fix them.”

He graduated from the University of Canterbury with a degree in organic chemistry, a branch of science that particularly appealed because “it’s like building blocks.” Bruce Wilson, owner of Wilson Motors in Hunterville, noted the young man’s mechanical abilities and offered him a job. With his studies over, Bruce Harré decided it was time to do what he wanted, and accepted.

He became good friends with Chris Amon, and late in 1963 Chris said, “I’m going to book tickets to go back to England. Are you coming too?” Bruce had applied for a job in Shell’s agrichemicals division but hadn’t heard anything, so the answer was “yes.”

To read this and other articles on the Classic Driver website please click here to sign up for a membership. Once a member and logged in, you'll be able to read all the articles on the site. If you are already a paid up member, please log in, using the Log In link in the menu at the top of the page.