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History New Zealand Road Racing Hot Rods

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Steve 38, Oct 26, 2013.

  1. Steve 38
    Joined: Jan 5, 2007
    Posts: 491

    Steve 38
    Member

    One of my passions is motor racing history. I run a motorsport history website and discussion forum called The Roaring Season www.theroaringseason.com in which I write articles related to historic cars or racing events, along with modern day historic racing events etc. Plus, people send me their old motorsport photos to post on the site.

    Much of the content is non-HAMB related, as a lot is post-1963, mostly from the late 1960s through '70s and '80s. However, there are a lot of New Zealand members on the site, and in NZ during the late 1950s through the 1960s, modified pre-war American coupes made for cheap and popular road-race cars.

    In New Zealand, American cars were predominant until WW2, when the British industry products became more readily available. By the late 1950s, pre-war US cars were cheap and plentiful. Many ended up in speedway, and for young guys buying their first car, late '30s Ford or Chevy coupes were an obvious choice. For those starting out in road-racing, these also made for a cheap way to be relatively competitive, as import laws made it hard to purchase more purpose built sporty cars.

    Although the guys who raced them at the time didn't really consider them to be hot rods, today most of these cars, if built now, are pretty similar to what we consider to be traditional hot rods.

    Anyway, I just thought I'd share some of the photos and cars that have been posted in various threads on the site, kicking off with this one supplied by Mark Quertier of his Dad Stewart, pounding up a gravel road during a hillclimb competition in the late 1960s in his '39 Deluxe coupe.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Steve 38
    Joined: Jan 5, 2007
    Posts: 491

    Steve 38
    Member

    Here is another shot of Stewart Quertier, about to start a sealed timed sprint.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Steve 38
    Joined: Jan 5, 2007
    Posts: 491

    Steve 38
    Member

    Red Dawson was a racer who began competing in speedway in the '50s, before making the switch to road-racing. He competed throughout the 1960s, eventually ending his career in 1976 in an IMSA Chevy DeKon Monza. In the early-mid 1960s he raced this Willys coupe. Dawson re-powered it with a small block Chevy, which made it pretty competitive. This photo was taken by Allan Cameron, at the small Levin track in late 1963, and shows Dawson lighting up the rear bags exiting the hairpin, just ahead of a Lotus Cortina.

    There were a few guys road-racing Willys coupes in the late '50s/early '60s, but Dawson's was the most competitive.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Steve 38
    Joined: Jan 5, 2007
    Posts: 491

    Steve 38
    Member

    A real mixed bag this one. Heading the field, and throwing his '38 Chevy coupe sideways into the corner is George Dixon. He road-raced several Chevy coupes, and was one of the first guys to put a small block Chevy V8 into one of these cars for racing.

    You can see here how popular the US cars were back then (late 50s/early 60s). Behind Dixon is another Chevy coupe, along with a '38 Ford Deluxe coupe, a '39 Ford Standard coupe, and further back looks like possibly a Hudson. Even though they were modified, many of these cars were driven to the track, raced, then driven home again.

    [​IMG]
     

  5. choptop4
    Joined: Feb 3, 2007
    Posts: 666

    choptop4
    Member

    Very neat photos, thanks.I am looking up your site .
     
  6. Jimbo17
    Joined: Aug 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,905

    Jimbo17
    Member

    Really nice action shots of some very interesting looking race cars.

    I had always heard about how beautiful New Zealand was and that one photo showing the country side proves it.

    Thanks for sharing the photo's.

    Best Regards Jimbo
     
  7. Great to see the old race cars, thanks! Post more if you have them.
     
  8. Great photos - cheers for that
     
  9. Phil Stevens
    Joined: Mar 24, 2002
    Posts: 392

    Phil Stevens
    Member

    thanks for posting those pix, the Willys coupe is great, is it still around?
    have bookmarked the web site for future, had a quick look, lots there
     
  10. My dad used to race at Levin in the 50s and early 60s , i went a couple of times in the early 60s as wee fella in a directors chair behind the seat in a 37 Chev coupe. Great pics and cheers for posting. JW
     
  11. colinsmithson
    Joined: Jan 27, 2013
    Posts: 383

    colinsmithson
    Member

    very cool thanks for the post
     
  12. I have a few pics somewhere of the old Rotorua hillclimb meets back in the '60's.
    Heaps of old coupes etc back then.

    Might have been better posting this under "Traditional Discussion & Happenings"
     
  13. I really like the photos,,beautiful countryside! HRP
     
  14. Phil, I do believe the Willys coupe is around. It was found about 5 years back sitting outside and not in the best shape. Will try and find a shot of it. JW
     
  15. Steve 38
    Joined: Jan 5, 2007
    Posts: 491

    Steve 38
    Member

    Hey guys, glad you're enjoying 'em. I have plenty more yet. This is Glen Jones, in his '39 Deluxe, which he raced mostly in the upper North Island in the early '60s. I'm pretty sure this shot is from the Pukekohe track, just South of Auckland. Note how the Ford towers over the little Mini just in front of it.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Steve 38
    Joined: Jan 5, 2007
    Posts: 491

    Steve 38
    Member

    Another shot of Glen Jones, also at Pukekohe.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Steve 38
    Joined: Jan 5, 2007
    Posts: 491

    Steve 38
    Member

    The first two pics I posted of Stewart Quertier's '39 Deluxe are from the late 1960s. In around 1970 Stewart sold the coupe to purchase this little beauty. This is one of the Stuart Specials, built by Neil Stuart. Stuart built three such racers for road-racing, beach racing, hillclimbing etc.

    [​IMG]

    The first appeared around 1949, powered by a Mercury flathead. The second, this car, first appeared in 1955, also Merc flathead powered. Stuart used this car to win the New Zealand Beach Racing Championship three times, and the South Island Beach Racing Championship twice. He also notched up a bunch of other race wins. He sold it to Norm Smith who won two more NZ Beach Racing Championships with it, among other race wins, before repowering it with a Jaguar motor, and eventually selling it to Stewart Quertier. The Quertier family has owned it ever since.

    Its now beautifully restored, and runs a stout 286ci Ford flathead.
     
  18. Steve 38
    Joined: Jan 5, 2007
    Posts: 491

    Steve 38
    Member

    For anyone interested, here is a neat in-car video of the above posted Stuart Special, owned by the Quertier family, racing around the Teretonga race track at a historic/vintage racing event in 2011. Takes a couple of laps for the driver to get everything warmed up and in a rhythm, but then watch them saw away at the wheel, note the understeer, and how early they have to get off the throttle for each corner. Those bias-ply's and drum brakes require some respect! But man this thing can haul in a straight line!

    Turn up the sound and enjoy.

     
  19. Pukekohe circuit early 60s. JW
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Red Dawson in action. JW
    [​IMG]
     
  21. And as found in Chistchurch around 7-8 years ago. JW
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  22. OBFB HA/GR
    Joined: Jun 2, 2008
    Posts: 455

    OBFB HA/GR
    Member

    Man, watching Stu wrestle the car around Teretonga was unreal. It sent shivers up my spine. cooool.
     
  23. gkgeiger
    Joined: Nov 28, 2007
    Posts: 767

    gkgeiger
    Member

    Love them '39 Deluxe pics.
     
  24. toml24
    Joined: Sep 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,620

    toml24
    Member

    Your fellow New Zealander's come in groups to the United States for "automotive vacations" and visit all the car spots on the West coast. Just last week a New Zealander landed on Friday and early the next morning was at the Donut Derelicts Car Show in Huntington Beach, CA.
     
  25. Will Kimble
    Joined: Feb 12, 2007
    Posts: 400

    Will Kimble
    Member

    Great pictures, thanks!
     
  26. Firefly
    Joined: Sep 15, 2005
    Posts: 377

    Firefly
    Member

    Some of us New Zealanders even go to the anti-donut breakfast :eek:
     
  27. Steve 38
    Joined: Jan 5, 2007
    Posts: 491

    Steve 38
    Member

    This is Garry Pedersen giving it heaps at Pukekohe. Check out the body roll!

    [​IMG]
     
  28. n.z.rodder
    Joined: Nov 18, 2008
    Posts: 1,016

    n.z.rodder
    Member

    Those are some cool pics Steve, thanks for sharing them.

    Scotty
     
  29. Hellfish
    Joined: Jun 19, 2002
    Posts: 6,520

    Hellfish
    Member

    It's great seeing these cars run on the track!
     

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