There were a couple of cars under covers in Bruce Moore’s workshop off Moorhouse Avenue in Christchurch when I walked in – and one of them was a car I had not seen since 1967. It was the car I had driven up from Oamaru to see this day in late January 2020. And it was a car that made a real impression in its brief time on the South Island circuits that, despite it apparently disappearing off the face of the earth, is still remembered half a century later and spoken of in almost hushed tones. It’s always referred to as ‘the Carlos Neate Skyline’.

In 1967, I had just published my second New Zealand motorsport annual and was anxious to continue the momentum and do something permanent and more regular. By mid-year I had done my homework, checked out the various printing methods, the costs and reckoned I could do it, so I put in place a plan to launch autoNEWS as a fortnightly newspaper.

I was doing my best to earn a living selling cars with Barry Vuyk at Vogue Motors in Dunedin, and the first motor racing meeting I was to cover for my planned publication took place at Teretonga.

I had been given a ‘company’ car to drive, a Simca 1000, and on the day of the Teretonga meeting I whizzed down there in that and was so impressed with it that, in a later issue of autoNEWS, I predicted Simca would sweep their class in the forthcoming production races.

Jack Nazer’s much-modified Anglia scuttles after Carlos Neate and the Skyline, Ruapuna 1967 (Photo Terry Marshall)

There are two things I remember from that Teretonga meeting – the car that eventually became the Begg Daimler (but with a Chev V8 at that stage) made its first appearance with Barry Keene driving, and the Carlos Neate Skyline.

We had seen the Skyline earlier in the year at the full-scale national meetings, but these were events where the saloon car class was dominated by the final year of Allcomers. Against cars like the Custaxie, the Fahey Mustang and a brace of fastback, twin-cam Anglias, nobody was really taking too much notice of a pretty conventional looking road car running mid-field.

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