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Thread: Northern Sports Car Club - the early years.

  1. #281
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    NSCC at Seagrove - the NSCC Meetings 1947 and 1949

    Photos from the two November meetings of NSCC at Seagrove ;
    dated 1947 and 1949
    Photos from the Arthur Siddall albums - followed by an article from the archives of Bob Homewood on a meeting in 1949.
    Is it the same meeting ?.

    1947 two sets of photos ;

    The regular members are there !.

    Name:  NSCC 1947 #389 Seagrove 1947 Millar Roycroft others Duncan Fox  (1024x765) (2).jpg
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    Name:  NSCC 1947 #396 Seagrove Aerodrome 1947 Morgan Wilson MG Watson Singer Siddall Morris Duncan Fox .jpg
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    1949 again two sets of photos.

    Name:  NSCC 1949 #409 Seagrove 6 Nov 1949 Smith Brown Powell Duncan Fox  (1024x765) (2).jpg
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    Name:  NSCC 1949 #404 Seagrove Races undated 1949 Mason Aitken Powell others Duncan Fox  (800x598) (2).jpg
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    Thanks to Duncan Fox for these album pages.

    The Article from Bob Homewood
    - Quote " the meeting held on a Sunday - perhaps the first time ever in this country ?. "
    When I first was going to Pukekohe in the late 1960's there was a mad dash to get to the Jolly Farmer at Drury on Saturday afternoon - sometimes left before the last race - usually a bit of a free for all race.
    Name:  NSCC #591 Seagrove 1949 Magazine report Bob Homewood .jpg
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  2. #282
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    Other events from the Arthur Siddall albums - Orewa and Taylors Bay

    Other events from the Arthur Siddall albums - the last few pages

    Posts #255 1946 Winter Trial
    Posts 258 - 261, Austin Seven - supercharged
    Post #264 Early events 1942
    Post #271 1945 Winter Trial
    Post #272 1946 Winter Trial
    followed by Pokeno Hill Climb Post #280 and Whitford Time Trials Post #280
    Post #281 Seagrove 1947 and 1949

    Orewa Beach 1946 - where a lot of the Austin Seven photos were from.

    Name:  NSCC #402 Orewa Beach Racing 1946 MG Rileys Singer Morris Siddall Duncan Fox  (800x598) (2).jpg
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    Taylors Bay Hillclimb 1945 - Taylors Bay is on the Manukau, at Hillsborough, Frederick Street runs along the top - Unsure what roads they would have used.
    There is a Bluff Road which runs to the Beach and Goodall Road which runs from Bluff across Frederick St and up to Hillsborough Rd.

    This is where the photo of the group crowded into Graham Wells Bentley was taken - have had that photo for many years, but did not know where from. 1945 at Taylors Bay

    Name:  NSCC 1945 #549 Taylors Bay Hillclimb May 20 1945 FTD Roycroft Wells group Bentley Duncan Fox  (8.jpg
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    Thanks again for Duncan Fox providing the images from the Albums.

    Bigger version of the Bentley photo,my Uncle Ed and I believe Aunty Una in the back seat.

    Name:  NSCC #53 Graham Wells Bentley 1948 meeting E Dowding archives.jpg
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    Last edited by Roger Dowding; 04-28-2020 at 03:00 AM.

  3. #283
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    NSCC more recent years - The Woodhill Rally 1970's on..

    An inquiry by Peter Farrell - who now lives in the USA on the Facebook Page " NZ rallying History " of a couple of years ago has resurfaced with the following. Post from 5th February 2018

    " Does anybody know where this NSCC trophy of the Woodhill rally winners might be? Or maybe a good picture of it. Some great names are on this such as Rod Millen, John Woolf, Possum Bourne, etc. The winner kept it for a year and then gave it back to the car club. It had a Gold Datsun 180B coupe on it. "

    Peter also writes just recently as in today 28th April 2020.

    " This is the NSCC Woodhill Rally winners trophy. I know Rod Millen has at least 2 shields with his name on. I know John Woolf has 1 or more. I know Tony Teesdale won in 1979. I think Possum won it at least once. I won it in 1982 and 1983. Can anybody fill in the missing winners and any other names that may be on the shields and what year? "

    Photo of the Trophy;

    Name:  NSCC #159 NSCC Trophy Woodhill Rally Peter Farrell .jpg
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    I note an HCMC Hibiscus Coast Motorsport Club Certificate and an NSCC one behind the trophy - not a good quality photo though.

  4. #284
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    NSCC Hillclimb 1971 Cosseys Farm - A Bardahl Trophy event

    Results of the March 1971 Hillclimb at Cosseys Farm, the NSCC venue. from Milan Fistonic archives.

    Was probably there spectating or flagging/marshalling, but didn't compete on the Hill until around 1972/73 season in the Mini 850, and only at closed club events until later in the 1970's .

    Name:  NSCC #89 Cosseys Farm 1971 Hillclimb results Milan Fistonic  (483x640).jpg
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    Some great names there including George Bunce - Holden, R [ Robbie ] Francevic - Holden, Allan Woolf in the 3 litre Capri he ran in the Heatway Rally , Rod Millen - in the Buggy - J W McKechnie from TSCC in a Triumph [ Herald ] lots of NSCC guys I remember.
    There is a good mix of different Clubs entered. Auckland CC, Auckland University CC, MGCC, NSCC, Pukekohe CC and Triumph Sports CC - who were part of the Bardahl series in later years which also had HCMC [ Hibiscus Coast ] and
    HCC [ Hamilton ]
    Didn't realise that the Bardahl Series Hillclimbs with the " Bardahl Trophy " were running that early. You learn new everyday - will help with a story on the series that I ran in 1979/80 season fro Triumph Car Club / TSCC.

  5. #285
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    The Bardahl Trophy and the series of Hillclimbs - have gathered some more results frorm Bardahl events which will post here once sorted events run by other clubs Pukekohe -thanks to Milan and others for the information.
    Also other events by clubs not NSCC ones but will put here rather than starting a new thread.

    Meanwhile John Larry Lawton has provided photos of an NSCC meeting at Western Springs - used to go to Speedway there from my teenage years on, and also went a couple of times when the track was used for the Heatway Rally - they ran sprint/races between the Rally cars arriving.

    The " Cinder Racing " to follow.

  6. #286
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    NSCC - Western Springs races 8th May 1965

    Photos from John Larry Lawton - a competitor in his own right.
    His collection of photos and a brief report on the event from Motorman Magazine courtesy of Graham Woods in the next post.
    Event held 8th May 1965 -[ 55th Anniversary next week ! ]

    Frank Radisich Humber 80 was the Humber Zephyr, later to become the Humber Jaguar

    Name:  NSCC #321 1965 8 May Western Springs -Red Dawson Willys Corvette Jack Nazer Lotus Anglia Kevin M.jpg
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    Name:  NSCC #322 1965 8 May Western Springs Jack Nazer and Frank Radisich waiting for the flag J L Lawt.jpg
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    Name:  NSCC #323 1965 8 May Western Springs Colin Lumsden De Soto Richard Sisler Holden J L Lawton .jpg
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    Name:  NSCC #324 1965 8 May Western Springs sunstrike on start line. Monza Corvette  Ken Smith. probabl.jpg
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    Last edited by Roger Dowding; 05-02-2020 at 10:43 PM.

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    NSCC - Western Springs races 8th May 1965 continued

    John Larry Lawton photos and the Motorman article [ Graham Woods ]

    Name:  NSCC #325 1965 8 May Western Springs Jim Boyd in I think Cooper Holden J L Lawton .jpg
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    Name:  NSCC #326 1965 8 May Roger Smith in the Daimler Dart chasing Jamie Aislebie J L Lawton .jpg
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    Name:  NSCC #327 1865 8 May Western Springs Motorman Mag Graham Woods .jpg
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    'scuse the typo in the tile [ 1865 really !! ]

  8. #288
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    NSCC different event, different decade 1974

    1974 Woodhill Rally - an NSCC event organised by Tom Grace whose farm backed onto the Forest - his farm was used by the Club for Grass Sprints.
    Copies of the results if the 1974 event from John Coker - a Trials and Rally competitor over the years and a strong NSCC member.

    Name:  NSCC #185 1974 Woodhill Rally results P1, John Coker.jpg
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    Name:  NSCC #186 1974 Woodhill Rally results P2, John Coker.jpg
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    Name:  NSCC #187 1974 Woodhill Rally results P3, John Coker.jpg
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    Presume that stages with even numbers 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 were the Touring Sections [ confirmed by John Coker ] - quite short from memory as the Forest was not huge - Marshalled there a few times.
    Well remember Wayne Parkin flipping his car and landing on its roof,Wayne gets out and looks around seemed OK, poor Sue Parkin was upside down still in her harness for a few minutes.
    Last edited by Roger Dowding; 05-04-2020 at 02:25 AM.

  9. #289
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    NSCC some 1976 and 1977 events - results continued

    Some Trials results and details from the 1976 and 1977 prizegiving Speed and non-Speed events.

    2nd Trial
    Name:  NSCC #331 NSCC 2nd Trial 1976 results came 3rd J Rye driving Graham Woods .jpg
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    3rd Trial - invitation to Auckland University Car Club
    Name:  NSCC #332 NSCC 3rd Trial 1976 results 2nd NSCC entry 5th o'all J Rye driving Graham Woods .jpg
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    Trials Trophy winners 1977
    Name:  NSCC #337 NSCC 1977 Trials trophy winners Club Torque Graham Woods .jpg
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    Speed Trophy winners 1976
    Name:  NSCC #334 NSCC 1976 Speed Trophy winners Club Torque Graham Woods .jpg
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    Prizegiving 1976/77 season - published in Club Torque in February 1978 from the December 1977 ceremony.
    Got to walk up and collect a trophy.
    Actually won that " Philip Silich Cup " three times in four competition years
    Got this note from the Club Secretary back in 2016 when I asked about Trophies
    " Phil Silich Cup - this trophy has name appearing in 1975-76 1976-77 1978-79 ".

    Name:  NSCC #336 NSCC 1976-77 Season Prizegiving list Club Torque Feb 1978 Graham Woods .jpg
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    Thanks to Graham Woods for these extract from NSCC " Club Torque " posted from Old New Zealand Motor racing Facebook page - Graham tagged me to make sure I saw them.

    the J Rye is John Rye who had at one stage a Mark 1 Triumph 2.5 PI, [ quite a rare car - believed to be the London Motor Show car ] and later a Fiat 125.
    I navigated for him and sometime on Interclub events was with John and Bob Hayman and or Jim and Grace Hack, Jim had a Saab 92 at one stage and Bob a Cortina and later a 3 litre Capri.
    My Barman partner at NSCC on a Saturday Night was a good competitor too, Bruce Hatrick - often with Rod Peat, but see John Crombie there too !!
    Last edited by Roger Dowding; 08-10-2020 at 12:05 AM. Reason: Philip Silich Cup ### 47

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    NSCC 1975

    Auckland Star clipping - 19th April 1975 - about Woodhill Rally - completed and the top seed entries for the ACC Rally at Maramarua.
    Photo : Blair Robson, Rally Specialist Escort.

    - other entrants Rod Millen Mazda RX3, Paul Adams with Sue Adams [ nee Woolf - Alan and Colleens daughter ] - Escort, Dave Simpson Jim Richards Escorts and others include Robbie Francevic Mazda RX3-
    Circuit Racers and Rally Drivers in the field.

    Name:  NSCC #399 Woodhill Maramarua article Star 19041975 Paul Adams Escort 19751510 (582x640) (2).jpg
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  11. #291
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    NSCC 1966 Club Circuit meeting. 22nd October 1966

    Graham Kyle comment " I was doing licence appraisal that day, l think my comment was`Over driving `. And when he bought the Escort and raced on the full circuit, some else remarked the same. I can`t remember if he was ever approved to race..."

    Dave Simpson replied " Yes of course he was approved. He raced his Escort numerous times before ceding the drive to Jim R." [ Jim Richards ].

    Comment from Bruce Blacklock " I recall an ACCC [ ACC ! ]club meeting when Jim came thundering past me at the other end of the circuit. My first thought was he is going so fast he won't make it, sure enough he lost the back end and clipped the rear guard of Tim Holt's Simca 1000. The thing I remember most was the three big bangs as the three tail lights hit the Simca and exploded like a clay pigeon shoot. "

    Other comments on the " Jim " - this by James Donald " He raced a 1275 Cooper S too on the Club Circuit along with his lady Mary Donald. "



    Italics - mine

    The comments were about this photo from John [ Larry ] Lawton..

    Name:  NSCC #121 NSCC club circuit 22nd Oct 1966. Jim Carney in his Impala. J L Lawton .jpg
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    The Driver Jim Carney -

    Have also " borrowed "some photos from Rod Duff - taken at Baypark in 1975 - will put on the [ Lost Tracks ] thread soon.

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    The Supercharged Austin Seven - known as " Rubber Duck "

    More of the story - History of the Car [ Cars ].
    Photos posted of the Car under George Sellars ownership / as driver -posted before;

    Thanks for the comments by Trevor Sheffield and the Photos from Duncan Fox - as a result have gone back through some books I have ;
    Scott Thompson book " Up to Speed - The Roycroft years in New Zealand motor racing " - published in 2006

    New Zealand Classic Car - Limited Collector' Series Volume 2 " -" Classic Kiwi Motorsport " - section entitiled The Roycroft Chronicles - editor Allan Walton -[ now with NZ Classic Driver ]

    New Zealand Classic Driver - The Best of Classic Driver - A Dashboard View - Collector Edition celebrating the First 10 Years - published in 2012 - editor Tony Haycock - Story - The Return of the Rubber Duck by Geoff Anders

    Graham Vercoe books -
    - " Historic Racing Cars of New Zealand " - published in 1991
    - " The Golden Era of New Zealand Motor Racing " published in 1993

    From these have gathered a number of photographs and also the story on the Car [ or Cars ] The article tells of three cars being built by Austin
    - one of which " was sent here where men like George Smith and Ron Roycroft made it a superstar. "
    The car " disappeared "but came back from Australia to New Zealand with Grant Cowie.

    Will gather the photos and add to the story - for the moment a photo from the McLaren Trust archives and the group of photos previously posted ;

    Photo from the McLaren Trust archives - published in the NZ Classic Car Limited Collector' series Vol 2.

    Name:  NSCC #518 Austin 7 Roycroft NZCC Spl P38 CCI11052020_0010 (564x800) (2).jpg
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    Car in the hands of George Sellars [ Who was he ? - he owned the car after George Smith and Jack Mackay - before it went to Ron Roycroft ] here with light - white body / paintwork

    Name:  NSCC #466 S C Austin 7 George Sellars Muriwai Beach March 1946  Duncan Fox  (800x598) (3).jpg
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    The car at Orewa in 1946 with dark paintwork

    Name:  NSCC #474 Orewa Beach July 1946 George Sellars S-C Austin 7 set of 6 photos Duncan Fox  (800x598.jpg
Views: 136
Size:  112.8 KB

    More to come on the story ;

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    Austin Seven special - More details

    Quick comment on the Austin Seven - according to Graham Vercoe [ yes I know some of his information was incorrect ] the car was purchased by C and R Racing [ Harry Chatteris and Ron Roycroft ] the now blue single-seater from George and Jack Sellars of Wellsford.
    Both drove it regularly from 1948.
    This indicates that the colour of the car did change under the Sellars ownership - was light / white with George Smith and as seen at Muriwai with George Sellars. then later dark at Orewa in 1946

    The car was repainted by Ron and Harry by the 1949 Wigram Races. Poster from the event.

    Name:  NSCC #509 Austin 7 Roycroft Wigram Poster UTS P98 CCI11052020_0002 (479x800) (2).jpg
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    a continuing saga that needs additions and corrections. - more work to do.
    Any " inputs " appreciated as Ken H would say.
    .
    We now know the car was a Pale Green [ Lettuce Green ] originally and has now been restored in the 2000's and painted that Pale Green
    Last edited by Roger Dowding; 06-12-2020 at 05:37 AM. Reason: Pale Green ###47

  14. #294
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    NSCC Hillclimb Birdwood Road Massey 1965

    Photos from John Larry Lawton, taken at Birdwood

    Results and the article from Club Torque from Graham Woods to follow;

    Rod Coppins
    Name:  NSCC 1965 #11 Birdwood Road (Massey) hillclimb 14 Mar 1965 Rod Coppins J L Lawton.jpg
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    Jack Nazer
    Name:  NSCC 1965 #12 Birdwood Road (Massey) hillclimb 14 Mar 1965 Jack Nazer  J L Lawton.jpg
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    Barry Munro
    Name:  NSCC 1965 #13 Birdwood Road (Massey) hillclimb 14 Mar 1965 Barry Munro VW special  J L Lawton.jpg
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    Jamie Aislabie
    Name:  NSCC 1965 #14 Birdwood Road (Massey) hillclimb 14 Mar 1965 Jamie Aislabie J L Lawton.jpg
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    The Results

    Name:  NSCC 1965 #16 Birdwood Road (Massey) hillclimb 14 Mar 1965 results Graham Woods .jpg
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    Article in next post 2 pages.

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    NSCC Birdwood Hill Climb March 1965 - results and story and a bonus photo

    Results again [ to keep in one post ]

    Name:  NSCC 1965 #16 Birdwood Road (Massey) hillclimb 14 Mar 1965 results Graham Woods .jpg
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    The article from NSCC " Club Torque ".
    Trevor Sheffield gets a mention for his good work in setting up the timing equipment- thanks Trevor

    Name:  NSCC 1965 #15 Birdwood Road (Massey) hillclimb 14 Mar 1965 report P1 Club Torque Graham Woods  (.jpg
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    Name:  NSCC 1965 #18 Birdwood Road (Massey) hillclimb 14 Mar 1965 report P2 Club Torque Graham Woods.jpg
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    Not Birdwood but a regular NSCC Competitor - the great Rob Williams in his V8 Coupe at a Club Circuit meeting at Pukekohe. Photo by Kevin Lancaster, so may have been an ACC meeting. Kevin was an executive member of ACC and also Rally New Zealand at some stage [ pun intended ].

    Photo around 1970.

    Name:  Pukekohe 1970 #25 Club Circuit Rob Williams Kevin Lancaster .jpg
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    Last edited by Roger Dowding; 05-13-2020 at 04:04 AM.

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    Austin Seven special - supercharged - more information and photos.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Dowding View Post
    More of the story - History of the Car [ Cars ].
    Photos posted of the Car under George Sellars ownership / as driver -posted before;

    Thanks for the comments by Trevor Sheffield and the Photos from Duncan Fox - as a result have gone back through some books I have ;
    Scott Thompson book " Up to Speed - The Roycroft years in New Zealand motor racing " - published in 2006

    New Zealand Classic Car - Limited Collector' Series Volume 2 " -" Classic Kiwi Motorsport " - section entitiled The Roycroft Chronicles - editor Allan Walton -[ now with NZ Classic Driver ]

    New Zealand Classic Driver - The Best of Classic Driver - A Dashboard View - Collector Edition celebrating the First 10 Years - published in 2012 - editor Tony Haycock - Story - The Return of the Rubber Duck by Geoff Anders

    Graham Vercoe books -
    - " Historic Racing Cars of New Zealand " - published in 1991
    - " The Golden Era of New Zealand Motor Racing " published in 1993

    From these have gathered a number of photographs and also the story on the Car [ or Cars ] The article tells of three cars being built by Austin
    - one of which " was sent here where men like George Smith and Ron Roycroft made it a superstar. "
    The car " disappeared "but came back from Australia to New Zealand with Grant Cowie.

    Will gather the photos and add to the story - for the moment a photo from the McLaren Trust archives and the group of photos previously posted ;

    Photo from the McLaren Trust archives - published in the NZ Classic Car Limited Collector' series Vol 2.

    Name:  NSCC #518 Austin 7 Roycroft NZCC Spl P38 CCI11052020_0010 (564x800) (2).jpg
Views: 132
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    Car in the hands of George Sellars [ Who was he ? - he owned the car after George Smith and Jack Mackay - before it went to Ron Roycroft ] here with light - white body / paintwork

    Name:  NSCC #466 S C Austin 7 George Sellars Muriwai Beach March 1946  Duncan Fox  (800x598) (3).jpg
Views: 138
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    The car at Orewa in 1946 with dark paintwork

    Name:  NSCC #474 Orewa Beach July 1946 George Sellars S-C Austin 7 set of 6 photos Duncan Fox  (800x598.jpg
Views: 136
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    More to come on the story ;
    The Austin Seven ;
    From my " research " into the Austin Seven supercharged factory racing car - built in 1931 - one of three [ or four according to some sources ] the one that came to New Zealand was apparently painted a pale green.
    Grant Cowie, owns the car as at 2012. He took to Australia in 1990, restored over the next 12 years, and bought it back to New Zealand. It is featured in the NZ Classic Driver -" The Best of Classic Driver - A Dashboard View ", the collectors Edition celebrating the First 10 Years [ 2012 ] here are a couple of photos.
    Through the various publications now have a time line of the car and who owned and / or drove it in New Zealand from 1935 when it first arrived, until 2012.

    Name:  NSCC #670 Austin 7 Rubber Duck NZCD crop Ruapuna P120 CCI14052020 (2) (700x551).jpg
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    Name:  NSCC #673 Austin 7 Rubber Duck NZCD crop Ruapuna P123 CCI14052020_0003 (2) (640x604).jpg
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    Photos from the NZ CD article with captions

    The story continues ;
    Last edited by Roger Dowding; 05-16-2020 at 12:51 AM. Reason: grammar ###47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milan Fistonic View Post
    Some more ancient history from the NSCC's Club Torque - February, July and October 1963.

    Attachment 43365

    Attachment 43366

    Attachment 43367
    Just re-reading these articles from Club Torque in 1963 that are articles from events in 1943 - 44 and on to 1946.
    With the recent posting of the Arthur Siddall photos the article provide more information on events, such as the Gymkhana at Point England - Racing at Orewa Beach which seems to have been first used in 1944.

    Thanks again Milan.
    Last edited by Roger Dowding; 06-12-2020 at 05:38 AM.

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    NSCC and some Specials built by Club Members

    Mention has been made some time ago of the GBS - built by Gordon Brown and more recently of the " Fordie " or Jock Aitken Special, built Jock who was a Mechanic and Engineer, he ran a small garage / workshop in Grafton Gully, nera where the motorway is now - this was in the 1940's through to the 1960's from memory it was just a small garage with a ramp and pit beside it. My first car used to get serviced there back in 1967

    This photo of the GBS and the Fordie was posted recently, and I have found another photo of a car which looks the same as the Fordie from Ohakea in 1952.

    Photos from the Arthur Siddall collection from Duncan Fox.
    Name:  NSCC 1949 #559 Brown and Aitken the Specials Brown GBS Aitken Fordie Duncan Fox  (800x598) (3).jpg
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    Note an A Cowper behind Jock Aitken's Fordie left photo at top.


    Ohakea 1952 - middle left car driven by A Cowper - I am sure that is the Jock Aitken car.
    Extract from the 1953 Ohakea Programme from Mark Coulthard
    Name:  Motor Racing Ohakea #17 1952 article and Sports cars photo M Coulthard archives  (2).jpg
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    C H Chatteris - Harry Chatteris who was in C and R Racing with Ron Roycroft.
    George Smith in the Allard that is now with Rob Boult in Queenstown
    A story on another Special bult by an NSCC member is coming soon.
    Last edited by Roger Dowding; 05-20-2020 at 01:56 AM. Reason: more notes ###47

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    Vintage Fiat 509 Special - a story - Part One.

    Preamble ; " Having seen the " Ford Ten special built by Gordon Brown. His efforts encouraged Jock Aitken and others to follow on with the theme he introduced. He was certainly way ahead of Collin Chapman. LOL

    A magazine article covering the car inspired me to build a special in order to take up motor sport, and I too used a modified Ruckstell rear axle from a Beauty Model T Ford, in order to overcome the disadvantage of a wide ratio three speed gear box. The article mentioned Gordon fitting a makeshift grader blade to the front of the car in order to level his newly acquired house section.

    In those days we were all short of money and few could afford more than one car. When first built the car was used for general purposes as well as motor sport. It had weather protection and as you can see proper doors. At the time import controls meant that there were just a couple of new MG TD in the club and the Ford Ten light weight specials showed them the way at less than half the cost.
    "
    " I was around at the time and was particularly interested in Gordon Brown’s Ford Ten special as I also utilised a Ruckstell rear end in my Fiat Special "

    The story of the Fiat 509 Special.

    A photo of an Original Car. a Fiat 509 Tourer.

    Name:  Fiat 509 #23  Advert photo Trevor Sheffield .jpg (800x512).jpg
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    The story Part One ;

    " Shortly after WW2, having secured a drivers license at the age of 15 years, an absolutely burning desire to own a sports car and to do some motor racing became an obsession. My sport had been competitive cycle racing and prior to school I was well into a Meccano sets and later building radios and electrical stuff. Sport and technology therefore ran hand in hand.

    A bike ride out to an amateur motor race meeting held at a disused wartime airfield, really set my brain on fire. By hook or by crook I would acquire a suitable car. I could feel the wind in my hair and the feel of an engine in place of handlebars and peddles. It was rather odd that motorcycles never tickled my fancy.

    I had picked up a book “Specials” by john Bolster of “Bloody Mary” fame and also a sports car magazine had appeared describing an interesting Ford Ten Special, cheaply built close by. Cycle racing was out and racing sports cars was in.

    The theme in those days involving a special was dictated by an absolute scarcity of funds and the lack of obtainable new components. Of necessity, things had to be kept simple. Personally my tool kit was meagre not even a socket set. Only tube spanners scrounged from car tool kits and only a single Crescent and old right angle shifters were on hand. A power tool was a dream. I swapped a record playing amplifier which I had built, for a few extra hand tools and this helped a bit. What I did have, was an eggbeater hand drill, a carpenters brace and a few drill bits, plus a hacksaw.

    A couple of specials had been built locally using a suitable available chassis fitted with a Ford Ten engine and these were leaving the only sports cars then on hand for dust. The pre-war models, including the MG brigade were well and truly out gunned on a power to weight basis. After selling a couple of racing push bikes I had one hundred pounds odd. My head and heart were pounding, but what could I do?

    I had read all the classic stuff about overhead cams, hemispherical combustion chambers, inlet and exhaust systems etc. A Ford Ten engine was beyond my pocket and what's more did not appeal. Kept searching the papers. Fiat 509, 1927, two seat tourer, not running, unregistered, good for parts, NZ 65 pounds.

    Looked up the specs. Overhead cam, close to the 1,100 cc class limit. Very pretty little engine with not an external drive in sight. The generator was driven from the front of the crankshaft and the fan directly from the single overhead camshaft. I was a gonna. Could not hold myself back.

    Dragged it home. Dad’s car remained outside for a few days while I tore off the body an sent it to the tip. Dad complained, found space at a friends house. His dad complained. Moved it to my grandmothers small garage some mile and a bit from home. Discovered that the wheels were for beaded edge tyres, bugger. Cycled there and back at every opportunity.

    Pulled the old girl to pieces, stood and looked at the bits rather soulfully, but never the less hopefully. What had I done? Ouch! No power to the shed but at home I had a length of telephone cable from a war assets radio I had acquired. Naughty but practical. No bench or vice. First off I cleaned and painted the chassis, all the time with grandiose thoughts propelling me forwards. Would have liked to shorten the wheelbase, but that was not on.
    My head spun and my thoughts full-time were devoted to my racing sports car. I frequented a wreckers yard operated by quite a character “Merv. Hardy” and his helper “Gerry Matherson”. These guys had raced cars prior to the war and became my stalwart advisers. Merv. had a Ford T Frontenac racing car in his yard and Gerry was restoring it when time allowed. Gerry had owned and raced locally a quite famous classic Indianapolis Miller. His advice ---- “cam and com is the way to go”.

    Cam grinding was out of the question but what the hell. The old 509 had the single central OHC operating the valves via short rockers. I had the rounded ends built up lengthened and ground flat, Bingo.

    Merv. rented an extensive old building, no longer existing. The roof leaked and parts were simply strewn about as cars became dismantled. Merv. --- “over there in the corner, under all that crap you will find a Fiat 509 engine”. He had no book of inventory, but with his vibrant old brain none was needed. “Yeh know they used to race those things” he said. “Bloody great little engine, getting them breathing was a problem”. After some digging I found the engine and it tuned out to be from a 1926 Fiat 509, whereas I had identified mine as being a year later 509A, and this turned out to be very significant.

    I discovered that the earlier model had the single carburettor located low down on the inlet side of the block, with the inlet passage cast within the block and siamised to exit the block and enter the head as two passages. Here these were again siamised towards the four inlet valves. I became exited. The later model which I possessed had the carburettor shifted to the hot side of the engine with a separate inlet manifold combined with the exhaust. This fed into two passages arranged within the head, so as to connect with the as previously arranged siamised ports.

    This change had obviously been made due to problems experienced during cold weather and a sad blunder it would appear. However this suited Trevor. He put the earlier head on his engine which did not have the upward passages in the block, leaving the two passage junctions remaining within the head blanked off. These acted as plenums to be opened up so as to directly fit a pair of carburettors on the cold side of the engine. As a result he very happy to have the sort after classic set up. "

    Photo - line drawing of the Engine of a Fiat 509

    Name:  Fiat 509 #29 Special Engine Trevor Sheffield (640x627) .jpg
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    The Car with the body removed ;

    Name:  Fiat 509 #24 Special Body off Trevor Sheffield .jpg (2).jpg
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    Part two to follow;
    Last edited by Roger Dowding; 05-20-2020 at 03:40 AM. Reason: 1,100 cc ###47

  20. #300
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    Vintage Fiat 509 Special - a story - Part Two.

    The story continues ;

    " The design of the engine overall was quite interesting. The crankshaft included three bearings, but arranged in a quite novel way. The camshaft was driven from the rear via a chain drive which included an interim sprocket on an intermediate shaff witch drove a magneto. This protruded into the cockpit, very Bugatti like and quite a feature. A crankshaft bearing was located on each sides of the crankshaft sprocket, with the third bearing at the front end. Not a bad set up when one takes into account the cantilevered stiffness this provides. The engine proved reliable when regularly run to 6,000 RPM.

    The arrangement of the accessories provided torsional damping for the crankshaft, camshaft and the intermediate chain sprocket. Not silly for sure, given that no supple belts were included in the drives. The cover and head were hand filed out behind the camshaft sprocket so as to provide mounting for a bearing assembly and flexible drive to a tachometer. This was made up by converting suitable discarded speedometer.

    I had joined the Northern Sports Car Club and made a few friends including Ralph Watson who was developing his renowned BSA Special. He knew all about Amal carburettors and they were available very cheaply so that the choice became obvious.

    A wide ratio three speed gearbox presented a serious disadvantage. However in the back of my mind remained details of the first locally built Ford Ten special which incorporated a Ford Model T Ruckstell two speed back axle, suitably modified. Again the choice became obvious. When in the presence of anyone not in the know, two reverse speeds provided entertainment. It also fun to become expert at handling two levers while double de clutching and blipping the throttle in neutral in order to make clean changes. There certainly was no synchromesh available in 1927.

    I was lucky to be able to borrow for a short time, a gas welding set and constructed a body frame using electrical conduit taken from rewired houses. Everything was brazed rather than welded for good reason. Rounded sections on the basis of cost were beyond consideration and the frame was fitted with flat steel panels. Here is where the design fell somewhat outside of a modern clubman, as doors were included. The rear was finished off with a discarded tank of suitable shape, together with the spare wheel. All very pukka and in the British tradition, but also more importantly, a very cheap option. Painted with a brush in a light grey without any conception of a flash job, but never the less it was neat and tidy.

    The radiator finished off the frontal aspect and was OK using the original radiator which was of a squared shape very much like a Rolls Royce. No problems with that ! Simple thermo syphon cooling was retained but the header tank was extended using sheet brass and solder.

    A set of side and headlamps was spotted advertised in the daily paper at a cheap price and these turned out to be from an classic early Vauxhall tourer, a sort of poor mans Bentley. These Lucas “King of the Road lights”, were quite outstanding in both performance, quality and appearance. I used the quite large matching side lamps as secondary lights, which meant that dipping headlights were not required.

    Strangely a stock of new Morris Eight wheels appeared on the market at a very cheap price, therefore a set was purchased and the hubs altered to suit. ( I think these may have been war assets and a story within itself.) Good second hand tyres were fitted. The original car had four wheel internal expanding rod operated mechanical brakes and these had to be accepted in order to minimise costs.

    The first event entered was a road race over partly unsealed roads which were closed due to the area being set aside for new housing. Dust was a problem. Run as a charity event the bureaucrats were somehow circumvented. Huge spectator interest but never to be repeated. Not surprisingly the untried car disappointed but completed several races without failing.

    Next came a National, hill climb championship with several brand new cars competing. I won the 1,100 c.c. class with time to spare. Just a home-made roadster, but up against some brand new stuff, it performed quite well. The nice spread of gear ratios was a bonus.

    I did not have the car for long. An early marriage and a baby daughter intervened. Arranging weather protection was out of the question. The subsequent owner became a car racing friend. Equally short of cash at the time, to my surprise he drove my little Fiat Special on a very long trip down country without any problems. Sadly a photo of the car does not exist. [ Note ; photo's of the car have been found and attached - my comment ]

    A Singer Le Mans requiring a lot of restoration took the place of the Fiat Special and as our one and only car. My wife also drove the Singer in competitive events and as a tiny tot daughter Jennifer was transported to and from events in the extended space behind the seats. To this day I am unable to understand and how we all put up with the rock hard suspension.

    Them certainly were the days. LOL

    T. R. Sheffield.

    Photo notes would have shown the car was built and the story written by Trevor Sheffield - which he kindly sent to me for publication here. Thanks Trevor.

    Photos of the completed car ;

    Name:  Fiat 509 #25 Special revised body 3-4 view Trevor Sheffield .jpg (2).jpg
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    Name:  Fiat 509 #26 Special side view Trevor Sheffield .jpg (2).jpg
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    Name:  Fiat 509 #27 Special front view Trevor Sheffield .jpg (2).jpg
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    The Montage of photos that Trevor sent with the article.

    Name:  Fiat 509 #22 group Trevor Sheffield  1 (2) (500x800).jpg
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