View Full Version : Smith Spyder

07-14-2011, 07:46 AM
found this thread on Autosport forum ..does anyone have any pics or more info on this car

Back in 1966 a Kiwi by the name of Dennis Smith built a special that weighed in at only 225 kg. This car was christened the 'Smith Spyder', all due to the fact that the body of the car was only 500 mm wide, which gave the appearance of having a very wide track.

The most amazing thing about this car was its engine - a 1500cc V4 Johnson outboard motor. This was tilted at 40 degrees from the horizontal and had a huge(!) Smith built flywheel that was 100 mm in diameter. The powerband of this motor was between 1000 and 7000 RPM - the car could wheelspin in top gear which, incidentally, was a 3 speed Renault gearbox.

Unfortunately the car never got to show its full potential as it was written off on a cold, wet and very windy day at Pukekohe. It appears the strong cross winds blew the little light weight creation of the track.

Apparently the car still survives to this day....somewhere.
Ray Bell

Steve Holmes
07-14-2011, 08:09 AM
There is a good bit of info about it in Graham Vercoe's book Historic Racing Cars Of NZ, plus a photo of the car and another of the engine, with its amazing megaphone exhaust. The car was VERY narrow, and the photo shows Dennis Smith squeezed into it. Smith crashed the car quite early in its career, and rebuilt it as a sports car. He apparently still owned it when the book was written 20 years ago, but I'm not sure about now. Someone on here will know.

bob homewood
07-14-2011, 08:47 AM
I had some info I found recently for someone if I still have it ,I will repost it here if you want me to

07-14-2011, 08:56 AM
thanks Guys...love to see some pics and more info. Love those Kiwi and Aussie specials. Also any pics of Tyrell Turtles Continental Special would be great..

07-14-2011, 09:07 AM

07-14-2011, 09:33 AM
Conti special never changed gears had some sort of torque converta didnt he get killed near Papanui in a SP250

David McKinney
07-14-2011, 09:39 AM
It was called the Spider at the time, not Spyder

Its name presumably came from its spindly appearance, and nothing to do with Continental sportscars

07-14-2011, 10:20 AM
The Smith Spider later was converted by Dennis into a mini- Canam type sports car. It was at the Chelsea hillclimb about 6 or 7 years ago. I understand Dennis still has it.

Milan Fistonic
07-19-2011, 07:47 AM
This is the Spider in sports car guise. Allan Wolf is at the wheel at a Whittakers meeting at Manfeild.


David McKinney
07-19-2011, 08:11 AM
And the constructor on the left?

07-19-2011, 09:20 AM
And the constructor on the left?


07-19-2011, 10:20 AM
Wasn't Dennis Smith also involved in the design/construction of the Barden-Ford, along with Barry Thomas - hence the name.

One of the photos in the Graham Vercoe Book shows the Canam version on a trailer, apparently hitched up to a Mini-Minor. Must have been quite light!

David McKinney
07-20-2011, 06:17 AM
Yes, Barry and Dennis gave their names to the Barden (previously Lynx)

bob homewood
07-20-2011, 07:10 AM
Dennis was also involved with Hamilton Walker and his rotary engine ,in the plans to produce a New Zealand made road car ,along with Ferris De Joux

bob homewood
07-20-2011, 08:14 AM

bob homewood
07-27-2011, 09:03 AM