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  1. #1

    Article: The Ian Algie Alfetta

    As some of you may know, I spent a large chunk of the past 18 months writing a book called Historic New Zealand Racing Cars. Its being published by David Bateman Publishing, and is due to hit the shops sometime in 2019.

    The book is approx 200 pages, hard cover, and features 18 cars that either have a New Zealand racing history, or have strong Kiwi ties. Word count is approx 70,000. The cars featured are from the late 1940s through 1980s, and include single seaters, sports cars, and sedans. Many people from The Roaring Season helped with the book in so many ways, from information to photos. So really, this was something of a team effort.

    I wanted to share one of the chapters with you, long before the book is available, just to give you a taster. I chose a particular favorite of mine; Ian Algie's wild Alfa Romeo Alfetta Sports Sedan. I've been fascinated by this car since I was a kid, when I first saw it race in its early guise. I phoned Ian Algie in the US and spoke to him about the car for well over an hour, which was exciting for me, as these old Sports Sedan racers were my heroes.

    I also have to thank John McKechnie, who was kind enough to spend time scanning some of the early photos from the Algie families own album, from when the car were merely a body shell, and also during its build phase.

    I've only included six photos here; the book has many more. Below is a copy of what I believe to be the completed cover.

    I hope you enjoy it.

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    There is a general acceptance that the golden era for New Zealand racing Specials was the late 1940s through late 1950s. This was a time in New Zealand history when stringent import laws forced Kiwis to become adept at creating and building for themselves if they wanted to go motor racing. Stifled as they were, however, for many, it was the personal challenge that came from designing and building their own car that proved the ultimate reward.

    As international racing gathered momentum during the 1950s, so New Zealand embraced its place in the world, and made full use of its Southern hemisphere summer racing season, which attracted racing teams and drivers from the Northern hemisphere. And with them arrived an abundance of modern European racing machinery. Indeed, even cars two or three years old were proving more than a match for the locally produced Specials. And inevitably, the Specials presence in New Zealand front-line racing combat faded as the 1950s drew to a close.

    The New Zealand Grand Prix was first contested in 1950. More than half the grid were New Zealand Specials. Furthermore, John McMillan’s Jackson-Ford, Hec Green’s RA-Wolseley, and Fordy Farland’s Singer-Buick were the first three to finish, and all were classic examples of locally produced ingenuity. Fast-forward ten years to the 1960 New Zealand Grand Prix, and Malcolm Gill’s famous Lycoming Special was the only locally built car in the field. Other than Ted Gray’s Tornado-Chevrolet from Australia, every other driver that formed the 24 car grid was mounted aboard a specialist European Grand Prix car. Times were changing.

    However, Kiwi ingenuity didn’t simply die out. Creative New Zealand racing car builders simply sought new horizons. During the 1960s, the growth in saloon car racing, and its relative freedom under Allcomer rules, attracted the same creative approach that was so prevalent during the Specials era. That creative flame was then doused when Motor Sport New Zealand dropped the Allcomer rules in favour of FIA Group 5 regulations for 1968. While it provided many positives in bringing saloon car racing back to its roots, Group 5 restricted the ingenuity that was so robust in Allcomers. However, the 1970s brought about constant regulation changes, and while the New Zealand Saloon Car Championship was stubbed out in 1977, such was the momentum for building radically modified saloon cars, a new club-based era of New Zealand Specials rose from the ashes, under the Australian adopted title of Sports Sedans.

    While Sports Sedan competition may have dawned a new era for Specials builders, this was strictly a North Island phenomenon. Ten years earlier, a similar category had been created in the South Island, and named the Open Saloon Car Association (OSCA). OSCA was the result of MANZ decision to scrap the Allcomer regulations from the New Zealand Saloon Car Championship, and replace it with Group 5. A Christchurch based group of Allcomer car owners wished to continue getting value from their machinery, and thus established a category in which to race them.

    Although OSCA tightened its rules during the 1970s, creative freedom was still at the core of its values. And while a small number of North Islanders ventured South and embraced OSCA, and OSCA even held races in the North Island, it wasn’t until the advent of the new Sports Sedan category that almost total creative freedom was restored in the North.

    North Island Sports Sedan rules differed to those of South Island OSCA. However, the similarities were such that, by the early 1980s, regular events were contested where the two rival divisions faced off against one-another. But while Sports Sedans grew to become the most popular racing category in the North Island, it suffered numerous early growing pains.

    The Sports Sedan Association wished to pick up where the old ShellSport sponsored New Zealand Saloon Car Championship left off. But it was a difficult process. By 1977, the New Zealand championship suffered from small grids, and the cars had become expensive and extremely specialised. When the New Zealand championship was killed off, most of the cars were either broken up, or moth-balled. And tempting owners to dust them off and race them once more proved a challenging task. However, the likes of Graeme Addis, George Sheweiry, Warwick Gray, Brian Friend, and a small number of others, persevered.

    New Zealand motor racing was in poor health in the late 1970s and early 1980s. And as such, smaller club-run classes like the new Sports Sedan category were given a berth at national and international racing events. But the Sports Sedan ranks were light on numbers, and needed cars.

    Had the new Sports Sedan Association been over-subscribed with cars in its early years, this incredible V8 powered Alfa Romeo Alfetta might likely have never been among them. It was shrouded in controversy before it even entered its first race. It was owned by Ian Algie, and built and raced by Ian and his brother Barry. Indeed, much of the Algie family were involved. The Alfetta’s most prominent feature was the location of its engine. It was this which caused much controversy, and would ultimately bring about rule changes to the Sports Sedan division. But it was this feature that drew so much attention to the car, which in itself helped boost the popularity of Sports Sedan racing.

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    The Ian Algie Sports Sedan project began around 1978, when Ian and Barry took a trip to Italy, where they purchased a brand new Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT bodyshell. When Ian began planning the car, there wasn’t actually a class in which to race it. The New Zealand Saloon Car Championship was now defunct, and the Sports Sedan Association had yet to be formed. He simply pushed forward with the project working on the basis that, when finished, there would be somewhere in which it would be accepted.

    In addition to the body was also purchased various other Alfetta components, including standard Alfa Romeo suspension pieces, De-Dion, steering parts, and the famed Alfetta trans-axle which incorporated gearbox, clutch, differential, and rear brakes. Ian decided on an Alfetta after studying a motoring annual of new cars from around the world, in which were provided various details including overall weight, front-rear weight bias, wheelbase, width, length, and drag-coefficient. The Alfetta was the model which appeared to offer the best all-round package as the basis for a heavily modified racing sedan.

    Surprisingly, given the ambitious nature of the Alfetta, Algie had little prior racing background, other than Go-Karting. This would be the first car he built for himself. At the time he purchased the Alfetta, he and Barry were working in Canada, repairing trucks. Ian himself has a background in vehicle bodywork.

    While in Italy, the brothers visited Autodelta, Alfa Romeos competition department, and attempted to purchase a set of fibreglass Alfetta wheel flares, as used on the companies Group 2 rally cars. However, this process proved too difficult. Instead, they’d make their own molds and cast their own flares when they got back to New Zealand.

    They also went to England where other components were purchased, including magnesium Minilite wheels, measuring 13 inches in diameter, 10 inches wide for the front, and 13 inches for the rear. Then they purchased brake components from AP Racing Division.

    Getting the Alfetta body and parts back to New Zealand was an adventure in itself. Indeed, it was first shipped to Canada. While there, Ian spent time ageing the body, adding primer patches to make it appear used, in a bid to pay less import tax when it was entered into New Zealand. And, when it did eventually arrive, it had to be registered, as per regulations of the time, and given a licence plate number, even though there was never any plan to use it on the road.

    Ian originally planned to power the Alfetta with a turbocharged Porsche racing engine. Even in endurance spec, the twin turbocharged air-cooled flat-6 produced around 560 horsepower, but for shorter events, could easily reach 750 – 800 horsepower. In addition it was relatively lightweight, which fit perfectly with his plans for the car. However, despite an intensive search, none could be found. Indeed, even if he were to achieve this, the cost to import it into New Zealand would be prohibitive. Instead, Barry discovered the Halliday brothers Don and Rob had for sale a fuel-injected 5 litre Chaparral built small block Chevrolet V8 which had previously powered Ken Smith’s Lola T332 Formula 5000. This was purchased instead.

    Ian’s focus for the Alfetta, from the outset, was to get weight towards the rear. Essentially, he was building a sedan version of a mid-engined single seater or Can-Am sports car. To that end, he decided to fit the Chevrolet V8 behind the firewall, where the front seats would normally be. His thinking was two-fold. He wanted all the weight between the front and rear wheels. But he also hated the thought of cutting up his brand new bodyshell. Most modified racing sedans, be they from the OSCA series, the extinct New Zealand Saloon Car Championship, or the upcoming Sports Sedan category, allowed for some movement of the engine for better weight distribution, but this was typically limited to around 12 inches. For most cars, this placed the rear part of the engine inside the passenger compartment, while the front was still in the engine bay. To achieve this required cutting a large hole in the firewall, and then building a shroud around the rear of the engine. However, Algie positioned his entire engine behind the firewall, inside the cabin. That meant he would need to drive the car positioned where the back seat would normally be.

    Other than the engine, most other heavy components were mounted between the front and rear wheels, including the fuel tank, which sat alongside the driver. Ian achieved his desired 40/60 front/rear weight bias.

    Safety equipment was minimal, with a simple aluminium rollcage fixed at four points from the B-Pillar back. Again, this was in a quest to keep weight down.

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    The Alfetta, as purchased, was left hand drive. With its driver sitting at the rear of the car, clipping the apex through right hand corners would be challenging, or at the very least, would take some practice. In 1979, there were three main North Island racing tracks in Pukekohe, Bay Park, and Manfield, and only Bay Park was anti-clockwise. But converting the car to right hand drive was never an option, as Ian’s right foot was already too close to the rear cylinder bank, and with a small block Chevy having the right cylinder bank positioned slightly further rearward, would bring the hot engine even closer to his foot.

    Other driving challenges would come from the Perspex shroud positioned over the top of the fuel-injection trumpets, which further minimised forward visibility.

    Ian retained the factory Alfetta trans-axle, which incorporated the gearbox, clutch, differential, and inboard rear brakes. When purchased, Alfa Romeo only offered a 4-cylinder version of the Alfetta, for which the trans-axle was designed. It wasn’t until 1980 the company released the GTV6, with its V6 engine which required a stronger trans-axle. But the Algie Alfetta was already built and racing by then, and Ian had already found ways to make his 4-cylinder trans-axle live with 500 horsepower being transmitted through it. His first inspection saw it stripped, thoroughly inspected, and then modified by drilling through it in various places and set up an oil system run by a pump driven off the input shaft. Initially, he tried using an electric pump, but this wasn’t a success, so he switched to the mechanical unit, which pumped oil through a cooler and a filter, and back into the box. Early in the cars racing life, the input shaft broke, and damaged the front of the box quite badly. Ian went to a local Alfa Romeo dealer, who informed him he was using an older style shaft, and told him Alfa Romeo had since produced an upgraded item with larger radius and bearing. These were included for the rebuild.

    Ian also installed a metalastic joint at the rear of the engine to try and reduce the shock being transmitted to the trans-axle by eliminating metal to metal contact. But it failed early on, so he replaced it with a CV joint. It also suffered half-shaft CV joint failures, until Ian was able to install V6 CV joints when Alfa Romeo released the GTV6.

    The engine set-back was such that the driveshaft linking the engine to the trans-axle was only 400mm long. The radiator was positioned lying flat in the boot, with a large duct exiting beneath the car at the rear. An attempt to feed cool air to the radiator came in the form of large scoops, which were positioned at the tail end of the rear side windows. Sometimes there was a scoop either side, sometimes there was just a single scoop on the drivers side. However, as Ian was to learn, air flow around the side windows is essentially dead air when moving at almost any speed, and the scoops never performed as expected.

    The Alfetta had its wheel arches radiused to clear the wide Minilite wheels and slick racing tyres. A set of fibreglass flares were made, modelled off those of Autodelta. Lexan windows were made and installed, with a round ventilation hole cut into the drivers side rear, to provide Ian some cool air, as he sat just behind the small block V8. Or, at the very least, it allowed hot air to exit the cockpit.

    By 1979, Ian was working in the United States. Fellow Kiwi Jim Stone arranged a job for him working in the racing industry, where he continues to work to this day. Initially, he worked for Tony Cicale, who raced a Ralt RT1-based sports car in the reinvented SCCA Can-Am series. The Sports Car Club of America established the hugely successful Can-Am series for Group 7 sports cars in 1966. By the early 1970s, they’d introduced various regulations to stifle progress, initially focusing on aerodynamics and downforce, and later when the combined might of Porsche and Team Penske entered the series in 1972 with their incredible turbocharged 917/10, they started introducing methods for limiting horsepower. McLaren withdrew at the end of 1972, and the series began towards an eventual demise. Penske’s brilliant driver/developer/engineer Mark Donohue, sought to build on the 917/10s 1972 successes, and produced a superior model called the 917/30, which destroyed even the numerous 917/10s in 1973. The Can-Am series survived just one more season, in 1974, and was dominated by Jackie Oliver’s Shadow team, which easily saw-off a dwindling field of older McLarens and Lolas after Penske and Porsche withdrew.

    The SCCA also ran the successful Formula A series, which expanded into other countries as Formula 5000. The category enjoyed worldwide success by the early 1970s. However, following the 1976 season, an attempt was made by the SCCA to rekindle the old Can-Am magic, but using Formula A/5000 single seat chassis’ and 5 litre engines with a full-clothed body draped over the top. And thus in 1977 began the second coming of the Can-Am series.

    Ian Algie’s time with Tony Cicale was relatively brief. He found himself overworked and frustrated, burning the midnight oil with little support. And so he quit. Cicale shared a workshop with the great Racing Team VDS, owned by Count Rudy Van der Straten, whose family established the Stella Artois brewing company in Belgium. The VDS cars traditionally wore a striking red with white and blue stripes colour scheme, and had contested everything from endurance sports car racing, Formula 5000, Interseries, and the second-coming Can-Am. Cicale, as well as building and racing his own cars, was the aerodynamicist for Racing Team VDS. As Ian was walking out the door, members from VDS stopped him, and he was offered a job building and preparing their Can-Am cars.

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    The Alfetta was completed and ready to be tested in early 1980. It featured no front or rear spoilers. Predictably, its first events highlighted numerous areas that needed development, most notably the suspension, and aerodynamics. The car was sprung too softly, it displayed lift in the front, and a lack of downforce in the rear. Ian had used as many original Alfetta parts in the suspension as he could, including standard springs. He also used the factory De-Dion, albeit, greatly strengthened. Still being new to racing, his understanding of suspension systems was relatively limited.

    Ian gave the Alfetta its first competition outing on the short Pukekohe club circuit. But when he advanced to the full Pukekohe layout, the lack of aero made the car extremely hard to drive. On the long back straight, the nose was developing so much lift the front wheels were barely touching the ground.

    Despite the early troubles, Ian was fortunate just to have somewhere to race the car. As it was being built, so its heavily set-back engine position was causing consternation within the new Sports Sedan Association. The Algie’s were warned that unless this was rectified, the car wouldn’t be welcome. But they pushed ahead regardless. Ian had a close confident in Red Dawson, long-time racer and winner of the 1970 New Zealand Saloon Car Championship. Dawson spoke with Ian on numerous occasions, and told the brothers to continue down the path they were on, as the Sports Sedan Association didn’t have the car numbers to turn them away. Ultimately, he turned out to be correct. Eventually, an agreement was met whereby cars fitted with an engine moved beyond the 12 inch limit from its standard position would have to carry additional weight.

    The Alfetta contested its first racing season still wearing its primer coat, off-set by the orange gelcoat of the Autodelta lookalike flares. It was painted red for the 1981 season, and it was during this season front and rear spoilers were added. Ian built and installed a deep front spoiler at first, which finally stopped the lift. However, the lack of rear downforce was worsened as a result. By the early 1980s, aerodynamics on racing sedans were something of an unknown science. Although single seaters and sports cars had been fitted with aero devices for years, few people considered their place in sedan racing. Most sedans during this time were fitted with a front spoiler, and what was essentially a tall Gurney-flap affixed to the boot lid. These were larger on some cars than others, and, for the most part, had a mostly positive effect. But few really understood how placing a single seater-style wing (whereby air passes beneath it to pull the wing towards the ground) up in the clean air at the rear of the car could aid its handling. Not only did these wings produce excellent downforce when shaped and angled correctly, compared to the body mounted flaps many cars used, also produced less drag.

    The first time Ian drove the Alfetta at Pukekohe with the front spoiler installed, he was launched into a violent spin when he pressed the brake pedal at the end of the straight. The shape of the Alfetta’s standard rear bodywork was creating massive lift, which increased the faster it travelled. By adding the front spoiler, the rear lift worsened with the lack of rear downforce. Following its spin, Ian returned to the pit, loaded the car, and took it home. There he built a large rear wing which sat at just above roof height, and extending rearward of the bodywork. It was affixed using two large side plates. By now, Ian had been working at Racing Team VDS for some time, and had developed a greater understanding of aerodynamics. Indeed, this wing would generate more controversy, as Sports Sedan regulations stipulated it must be no wider than the vehicles roof. But rather than fit within the roof dimensions, it was as wide as the Alfettas standard bodywork.

    Over the next couple of seasons, Ian tested and raced the Alfetta regularly, and continued its development. As with many Sports Sedan and OSCA entrants of the 1980s, Algie’s Alfetta became something of a science project, undergoing constant evolution as new ideas were brought to life and trialled. Ian’s growing understanding of aerodynamics aided the cars progress. Eligibility issues were perhaps overlooked for a time, because he was one of the few to be a regular starter, while Sports Sedans still struggled for car numbers. The grids were boosted with the arrival at some of the larger meetings with cars from the South Island OSCA series, and these hotly contested competitions became a huge drawcard throughout the decade. They also helped Sports Sedans make the step onto the international calendar, as part of the New Zealand Grand Prix meeting, as well as the Bay Park and Manfeild rounds that made up the Formula Pacific series. Dubbed the ‘big-bangers’, the Sports Sedans and OSCA cars quickly became a crowd favourite. They were loud and hugely spectacular. Each car was different, each the result of its inventors wildest imagination. They often broke, and did so spectacularly, and some were to dub them ‘hand-grenades’. But their crowd-pulling antics were unrivalled throughout the decade.

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    For the 1985 season, Ian built a new 5 litre motor, using an aluminium Milodon engine block and Brodix heads. The new engine produced 550 horsepower, but offered a significant weight saving over the old Chaparral iron V8. The weight saving also allowed for a further redesign of the Alfettas layout. Thus the radiator was now moved into to the engine bay, between the front wheels, where it was fed gulps of cool air through the nose, which was then ducted out through the top of the bonnet. The large scoops in the rear side windows never provided the level of cooling needed. Luckily, Sports Sedan races were short in their duration. So the car never overheated. But the new layout proved far more effective. In addition, by ducting the spent radiator air up through the top of the bonnet further improved front downforce.

    Algie used fluid to test the effectiveness of the Alfettas aerodynamics. In addition he added a Magnahelic gauge to the instrument cluster which was attached to pressure taps mounted in various places beneath the car. This allowed him to learn how much low pressure was being made underneath the car. This was another trick he’d learned in Can-Am. By clicking through the gauge he could read the low pressure at the various tap points, and adjust the ride height to suit. He’d moved from Racing Team VDS to Jim Trueman’s Truesport Racing Team, in Ohio. Truesport competed initially in the Can-Am series before switching to the Indycar series, with driver Bobby Rahal. Ian worked under aerodynamicist Lee Dykstra, a veteran race car designer who’d worked for numerous factory teams for many years. It was Dykstra who schooled Algie on the Magnahelic system. Dykstra also taught Algie about working the air flowing beneath the car, and how to help hold it to the ground at speed. Dykstra suggested fitting an aluminium panel under the car, starting at the nose and ending at the firewall, to help with downforce. He gave Ian the correct angle with which to fit the sheet. These were the same systems being used on the Truesport Indycars.

    In addition to the constantly evolving aero appendages, the Algie’s also built new flares, upgrading and improving upon the original Autodelta-style items by squaring off and opening the tail ends. This allowed hot air from the brakes and other components to be relieved. The rear wing was also narrowed to the width of the roof, as required by the rules.

    During the 1980s, most Sports Sedan races featured a standing start. With 550 horsepower and 13 inch wide slick tyres, immense stresses were put through the Alfetta trans-axle. However, once the bugs were ironed out, it rarely faltered. In addition, Ian was always careful to dribble the car off the line, making sure he was rolling before really pouring in the power. Even still, the Alfetta was usually first to the first turn.

    By the mid-1980s, the Sports Sedan ranks were bolstered with a raft of new machinery, including Bob Homewood’s impressive lightweight Ford Escort, the beautifully constructed Chevrolet V8 powered Commodore of Brett Willis, Ralph Mossman’s V8 powered Viva, among others. In addition, Graeme Addis, whose incredible V8 Valiant Charger had been a main rival to Algie from the outset, completely rebuilt the car, by moving the engine behind the driver, and developing ground-effects and a driver adjustable rear wing. This put the Charger on an equal footing with the Alfetta. Meanwhile, others, such as Wayne Huxford’s very fast V8 Capri also provided a threat whenever the Wellington driver ventured North. And Ian’s brother Barry also entered the fray with a newly built Holden Monaro.

    In addition, each season had race promoters organising North-South grudge matches, featuring the very best from the South Island OSCA series, including Trevor Crowe (Oldsmobile V8 powered Toyota Starlet), John Osborne (Chevrolet V8 powered Mazda RX7), Avon Hyde (Chevrolet V8 powered Holden Commodore), Don Grindley (Mazda RX7), Rob Kennard (Ford V8 Cortina) among others. Their popularity throughout the 1980s saw the Sports Sedan and OSCA ranks bolstered with a constant barrage of new and exciting machinery. But the Alfetta remained a consistent contender for race wins throughout.

    1988 was the last season Ian Algie raced the Alfetta. He’d built the car from the outset to be as he wanted it, rather than conforming strictly to a set of regulations. This was proving an increasingly difficult fit. 1988 was also the first year Motorsport Association of New Zealand finally recognized the significance of big-banger modified sedan racing, and awarded the category national status. The very first New Zealand Sports Sedan Championship was won by Rodger Freeth, who’d purchased the second of the Oldsmobile V8 powered Toyota Starlets built by Trevor Crowe the previous year. Ian Algie contested only a limited campaign, just running selected North Island races. He then retired the Alfetta from active competition.

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    By the late 1980s, Ian Algie had a busy race program in the United States. He never considered selling the Alfetta. It was a car that had played such a big role in his life for the past ten years. It went into storage. However, the engine was sold to Steve James to power his Vauxhall Viva. The Sports Sedan Championship continued into the early 1990s before it was replaced by a new set of regulations based on the American Trans-Am series for 5 litre space-frame cars with fibreglass Mustang or Camaro silhouette bodies draped over the top. Although fast, the Trans-Am (named TraNZam in New Zealand), never captured the publics imagination as the old Sports Sedans of the 1980s did.

    In 2005, Alfa Romeo and historic racing enthusiast Gordon Burr bumped into one of Ian Algie’s sisters at an RV trade show. Gordon remembered the Alfetta fondly from the 1980s, and asked if it still existed. He was given a contact number for Ian in the US, phoned him, and after chatting about the car, a deal was done for him to purchase it.

    Since taking ownership of the Alfetta, Burr has managed to track down several parts of the Milodon engine, which was damaged when owned by Mossman. The block no longer exists, but the heads and fuel-injection system survived, and have since been rebuilt, and fitted to a new block with new internals. The engine fitted to the car now is a correct 5 litre unit. Burr also had a new rollcage installed. Otherwise, the Alfetta is as last raced by Ian Algie in 1988, right down to the white paint it wore during its last two seasons after Mobil came on board as a sponsor, as well as the original primer as applied to the body when it was new. Burr hopes to have the car repainted red, as it is most fondly remembered.

    It took some years before the Alfetta was up and mobile again, and while initially it was only used for demonstrations, its since contested selected events with the Historic Sports Sedan group.

    In addition to returning this great race car to the track, Burr also played an important role in getting Barry Algie and his Monaro back racing once more. Barry played such an important role in the creation and development of the Alfetta. But his incredible talents, particularly for fabricating parts from scratch, should also be celebrated. Gordon Burr has a table in his home on which several beautifully created wooden bucks, made by Barry Algie for casting wheel centres, trans-axle parts, suspension parts, among other components, are proudly displayed, and make impressive art pieces in their own right. Barry always preferred the method of making things himself, rather than buying them. This is an increasingly rare skill in motorsport. Barry Algie passed away in 2016.

    The 1980s Sports Sedan and OSCA era was one of the last in which Kiwi ingenuity was allowed to blossom on the national stage. It produced some of the most exciting, creative racing cars in New Zealand racing history. The racing itself wasn’t always sparkling, but, much like the original Group 7 Can-Am era of 1966 – 1974, somehow the charisma of the cars themselves made up for the lack of regular door to door action. Its taken many years, but these cars are now being celebrated for the important role they played in New Zealand racing history. And few more so than the Algie Alfetta.


  8. #8
    World Champion
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Thanks for sharing that Steve - I'll be lining up for the book for sure

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by bry3500 View Post
    Thanks for sharing that Steve - I'll be lining up for the book for sure
    Thanks Bry, much appreciated.

  10. #10
    Great article Steve, I look forward to buying the book. A great era in New Zealand motor racing. The later car of Kieran Wills RX8 was my favourite. If you ever do vintage dragsters I have a heap of info on Hombre which I restored and own.

  11. #11
    Great article, as usual, Steve. Thanks.

  12. #12
    Semi-Pro Racer Spgeti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Feilding NZ
    I look forward to the new book. Great article on a car that deserves its story told. To me it is one of our famous Alfa’s even if it is Chev powered.

  13. #13
    Ahhhh, but would it have been our most loved/ revered if it had had the planned hairdryer Porsche motor fitted to it.............?

  14. #14
    Semi-Pro Racer kiwi285's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Papamoa Beach
    It is hard to imagine what that car would have been like if the Porsche engine was available at the time. Still it will always hold a special place in NZ motorsport. Looking forward to the book Steve and getting your signature in it.

  15. #15
    Semi-Pro Racer
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Toodyay Western Australia
    Great car - great article. When's the book coming out, Steve?

  16. #16
    Thanks folks. Glad you enjoyed the story. I don't know for sure when the book comes out. I'll ask the publishers.

  17. #17
    Great article Steve and I know there are a heap of South Islanders looking forward to seeing in the flesh the Alfetta at our OSCA 50th & Sport Sedan celebrations February 2020, cheers

  18. #18
    Semi-Pro Racer Spgeti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Feilding NZ
    Quote Originally Posted by Munty View Post
    Great article Steve and I know there are a heap of South Islanders looking forward to seeing in the flesh the Alfetta at our OSCA 50th & Sport Sedan celebrations February 2020, cheers
    Hi Munty,
    Great to hear your celebrating this but do you have your dates sorted so it does not clash with the events HSS are planning for early next year.
    A lot of dates are being thrown around re this and this is causing confusion with our planning up here.
    HSS is an integral part of our historic grids and it would a shame to see reduced grids due to date clashes.


  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Spgeti View Post
    Hi Munty,
    Great to hear your celebrating this but do you have your dates sorted so it does not clash with the events HSS are planning for early next year.
    A lot of dates are being thrown around re this and this is causing confusion with our planning up here.
    HSS is an integral part of our historic grids and it would a shame to see reduced grids due to date clashes.


    The date for the 50th celebration has been down for about 3 years. Scope being the main 1st up.

  20. #20
    Is there a list of dates for HSS events for next season please?

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