A Charger for Susanne

July 8th, 2019|Tags: , , , , , |

When Chrysler launched the Valiant in Australia in 1962, they had an instant winner on their hands with demand constantly outstripping supply. Part of the reason for the Valiant’s success was its superb US-sourced 225ci slant-six engine. With 108kW on tap, this engine had around double the output of its contemporary Holden rivals at the [...]

  • The 84G in Japan - it had been left to the mercy of the elements for 30+ years

Mazda and the Road to Le Mans

May 8th, 2019|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

In fact, you could argue that the Mazda rotary engine’s road to Le Mans actually began way back in 1967 when Takayoshi Ohashi – Mazda’s main Tokyo distributor – set up his own race team and tuning workshop. Calling his new firm ‘Mazda Sports Corner’, Ohashi ran cars both nationally and internationally. By 1982, Mazda [...]

Works Escort – 1977 Ford Escort Mk II RS1800 Group 4

December 11th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Ford Escort RS1800 Mk II, chassis #BBATTJ 69903, was completed at Ford Motorsports, Boreham, UK as a works rally car and registered on February 1, 1977 as STW130R. Built, in effect, to RAC Rally specifications, the Escort’s first works drive would be at the Rally de Portugal in March 1977, with Swedish rally ace Björn [...]

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 [...]