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Photos from the New Zealand hills


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#1 David McKinney

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 08:19

It's been suggested that NZ and Australian photos might be welcomed in the 'Photos from the Hills' thread
Rather than alienate those whose interests are limited to UK events, I am starting this separate thread

Up until about 1958 or 1959, all the top NZ circuit men took part in at least some hillclimbs every year. But gradually, as more circuit-meetings became available, it developed into a specialist pursuit.

The national championship (Gold Star) had been introduced in 1957 but was a failure in that individual clubs were left to apply for dates, and there was never an even spread between the North Island and the South. Whichever region happened to host the most rounds in one year would produce the champion, for few competitors were prepared to travel hundreds of miles for glory alone. Think six rounds in SE England and three in Scotland one year, and the reverse the next.

As Peter Leversedge said earlier, the series was usually run over a mix of gravel and tarmac courses, few more than a mile in length.

My own area, Wellington, hosted a Gold Star qualifier at Houghton Bay every year, but sometimes there’d be no outside participants, sometimes only one. Ironically, in the days before the Gold Star, the venue would attract virtually every top racing-driver in the land.

The Houghton Bay course was within Wellington City limits, starting only yards away from houses.

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This picture, from 1962, shows the ex-Horace Gould Cooper-Bristol on the start-line. As can be seen, it had been converted to sportscar spec, whilst retaining the central seating position which would not be outlawed for another four or five years.

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#2 David McKinney

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 08:19

The Palmer Head course, also within Wellington City limits, was on army ground and, in contrast to Houghton Bay, was used several times every year, as road closures did not need to be applied for.

It was situated on a headland which borders the Rongotai international airport.

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The spectacular driving of Angus Cameron in a Chysler Valiant matches the spectacular backdrop of the harbour entrance beyond the headland

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One of many local one-off sportscar specials was the neat little JRM built by John Mines who I think was still in his teens at the time. A later JRM won the 1975 NZ Sportscar Championship

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The constructors of this one called it the Anti-Climax. A friend of mine remarked that it looked like a cross between a Ferrari Supersqualo and a Triumph Mayflower

#3 David McKinney

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 08:20

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Graham McRae cut his teeth in Wellington hillclimbs. Here he’s at the wheel of a Brabham in 1968, shattering the record for the Alexandra Road course on the slopes of the city landmark of Mount Victoria

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U2 driver Morrie Hogan was a Wellington hillclimb regular for a long time, and would race similar cars on the circuits for many, many years more

#4 David McKinney

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 08:20

The Mangaroa hillclimb was further out of the town, on the hills overlooking the upper Hutt Valley

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Peter Slocombe in a 1964 event in a car Peter L might recognise

#5 David McKinney

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 08:20

Best and most popular gravel hillclimb in the Wellington area was Judgeford, first used in 1943 and still going strong in the 1960s, when this was taken

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The late Lester Reader in his first Ford special, probably 105E-powered at this stage of its development

#6 David McKinney

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 08:21

The Wairarapa valley, over the mountains from Wellington, also had a gravel course, at Carrington

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Bruce Abernethy tries his ageing T41 Cooper-Climax on a surface for which it was not designed

#7 David McKinney

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 08:21

The principal Wairarapa venue was Admiral Road, another to host a Gold Star round most years

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The scene from halfway up the hill

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Roy Lyme twice won the Gold Star at the wheel of a Cooper Mk VII, uprated by the addition of a Porsche engine. He’s heading towards a tight, climbing left-hander where the brakes on a teenager’s single-seater special failed one year, sending it over the bank. Can’t have worried him too much, as he went on to become a Ferrari F1 driver

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The Mini-Max, built as a 500cc BSA-powered TQ speedway midget but quickly turned into a hillclimb winner. After further success in the hands of other owners it returned to the speedways, this time in the South Island, where it (along with other rear-engined cars) was eventually banned.
The Mini-Max was built by young Max Rutherford who then went to England with a bunch of mates (including Roger Hill) and worked as an F1 mechanic for Brabham and then Tyrrell. After returning to NZ he went into business as a bra-fitter. Someone has to do it...

#8 David McKinney

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 08:22

Further afield still, in Hawke’s Bay, where I was posted for a while in 1968. At that time Te Onepu Road was another regular on the Gold Star calendar.

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Steve Boreham in his Cooper was a series regular, fnishing Gold Star runner-up four times in a row in the late 1960s and then winning the title in each of the next five years

#9 Alan Cox

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 08:34

Thanks for starting this thread, David. Fascinating subjects and histories - you never read about these in the club pages of Autosport! I look forward to more.

#10 Catalina Park

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 09:44

Fantastic work David. (and thanks to all the drivers and constructors as well!)

#11 Peter Leversedge

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 09:45

David I remember competeing at a final of the "Gold Star" Hill Climb Series in the early ' 70s in the Wellington area. I don't remember the name of the Hill Climb but I think it may have been near a sports ground and a hospital. It was tarmac and I competed the series in a "Super Modified" which was very unsuitable for racing on tarmac and only managed 15th fast time but the result gave me 9th place overall in the Gold Star points and 3rd in the South Island part of the series. That year had been a bit of a revival in the Gold Star series as it was run with six separate events in the North and South Island. You had to go to the final in Wellington and compete for your points to count in which ever Island part of the series you had competed in

#12 Vicuna

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 10:13

Bloody brilliant stuff.

John Mines is still racing that car having bought it back from Bob Hyslop!

#13 Lola5000

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 10:15

wonderful shots,what a hillside.

#14 Alan Cox

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 10:46

The JRM of John Mines is an exceedingly stylish home-build.

I love the way Angus Cameron is searching to see whether an apex exists somewhere in the undergrowth.

#15 275 GTB-4

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 11:00

Terrific...can't wait until you get to New Plymouth :)

#16 David McKinney

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 11:11

Originally posted by Vicuna
John Mines is still racing that car having bought it back from Bob Hyslop!

Thanks Vic
You might care to read the caption again :)

#17 O Volante

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 11:17

Wonderful pictures, indeed :clap:
Thank you!

#18 Terry Marshall

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 11:41

Great old memories there David. I recall going to the Houghton Bay, Mt Vic. Palmer Head events with Mike Nidd many publications ago.

As a lad I used to attend the hill climbs around the Waikato where all the up-coming young chargers would learn the craft. David Oxton, Dennis Marwood, Bryan Innes to name just 3.

Would I be right in recalling that G.P.McRae or Jack Oakley ran the original McRae T/C at Houghton Bay or Mt Vic, probably 69/70 era.

#19 Peter Leversedge

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 12:03

David Could it have been Mt Victoria I was at?

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#20 David McKinney

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 13:14

That would have been Houghton Bay, Peter, where the Final was held in 1975
It was the first year of the new format, which was actually very fair. The idea was that instead of a single series there would be one event, held in the middle of the country to minimise travelling costs. Qualifiers would be those who had done best in events in two separate series, one in the North Island, one in the South. Points from the qualfying rounds would be averaged out and carried forward to the final, which would attract points on the same basis. North Island competitors therefore had to divide their points totals by eight before the Final, and southerners by 11.
Some time in the early ’80s the system was modified to provide two finals, always in the same area IIRC, one on gravel and the other on tarmac.

#21 David McKinney

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 13:17

Originally posted by Terry Marshall
Great old memories there David. I recall going to the Houghton Bay, Mt Vic. Palmer Head events with Mike Nidd many publications ago.

As a lad I used to attend the hill climbs around the Waikato where all the up-coming young chargers would learn the craft. David Oxton, Dennis Marwood, Bryan Innes to name just 3.

Would I be right in recalling that G.P.McRae or Jack Oakley ran the original McRae T/C at Houghton Bay or Mt Vic, probably 69/70 era.

So where are your Horahora photos, Terry?

Tom Clark, Ross Jensen, Bruce McLaren, Jim Boyd etc etc - all used to run there. Clark won one year in his Supersqualo Ferrari, Gavin Quirk in a 250F on another occasion

I don't think McRae ran a McRae at Houghton Bay, but Oakley did. Won too, I think

Are you still in touch with Michael J Nidd?

#22 Terry Marshall

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 07:13

Mate, Horahora days were just a social event for me, with a packed lunch from Mummy.

Wellington days were still just a social event with a lunch I packed myself, consisting of a dozen beers.

Last time I saw Michael was about 10 years ago, he was well and still in the Borthwicks game.

#23 Vicuna

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 09:24

Originally posted by David McKinney

Thanks Vic
You might care to read the caption again :)


I just did!

So there were more than one ;)

#24 Stephen W

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 11:04

Excellent thread. I will be a regular visitor.

I too am impressed by the 'low-line' JRM of John Mines - a very pretty sports-racer indeed.

As for the Anti-Climax :rotfl:

#25 David McKinney

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 11:20

A switch to the South Island, and the Gebbies Pass round (near Christchurch) in November 1974
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TNF's own Peter Leversedge in his self-built "Super Modified" powered by Chevrolet V8

#26 David McKinney

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 20:38

And at last - one from Auckland, the Chamberlain's Road course that was used almost monthly for many years

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Jim Boyd, triple Gold Star winner, in the famous Lycoming Special
Hatrat Archive Photo

#27 bradbury west

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 21:42

A brilliant thread, David, and such evocative shots in b/w. What sort of length were these hillclimbs? Did the same protagonists do North and South Island? It seems a long way to go. I look forward to similar shots from the Australian contingent.
Should we ask Peter L to mention the DVD of NZ beach racing spls? I enjoyed it.
http://forums.autosp...&threadid=97917
Roger Lund

#28 David McKinney

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 22:02

Originally posted by bradbury west
What sort of length were these hillclimbs?

See my opening post ;)

Did the same protagonists do North and South Island? It seems a long way to go

See my opening post ;)

#29 sterling49

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 22:43

Originally posted by David McKinney
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The spectacular driving of Angus Cameron in a Chysler Valiant matches the spectacular backdrop of the harbour entrance beyond the headland


What a fantastic photo, Angus is obviously trying very hard :up:

#30 hatrat

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 02:29

Not at a hillclimb but some more photos of the Cooper Bristol in post #1:

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#31 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 03:56

This is from the Anderson Farm hillclimb run by the Auckland Universtity Car Club. The course was unusual in that there was as much downhill as there was uphill. It was situated just north of Auckland, somewhere near the Paremoremo Prison if I remember correctly.

The property was own by the Andersons who campaigned Ford Falcons and Mustangs in the early Group A days.

The car is the Katipo MJ70A, a F5000 car built by Mark Petch and John Ohlsen and based on a Matich SR4 chassis. Dennis Phillips is the driver.


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#32 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 04:13

Mike Boyle driving the ex-Peter Levet Hillman Imp up Chamberlain Road in 1973.

I did my first rally as co-driver in this car.

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A bit further up the hill.

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Edited by Milan Fistonic, 30 May 2009 - 09:27.


#33 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 04:33

Doug Cross on Chamberlain Road with his MER. This was the second car built by Alan Pepper of Matamata Engineering and at this stage was powered by a 1293cc Mini engine.


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#34 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 04:45

Ken Flashman in the ex-Peter Bruin Cooper-Vinvent.


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#35 sterling49

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 04:56

Milan, great phots, I see the Imp has the correct colour roof and symbol to make it superfast, a great Team :up:

#36 mctshirt

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 06:51

Previously identified by David as Houghton Bay hillclimb - #8 Graham McRae Masarrari (Humber 90 engine)

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And same car again at Levin

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And a link to a Wairarapa Times Age feature on The Admiral Rd hillclimb:http://www.wairarapa...ly/admiral.html

#37 Stephen W

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 09:21

Originally posted by Milan Fistonic
Mike Boyle driving the ex-Peter Levett Hillman Imp up Chamberlain Road in 1973.

I did my first rally as co-driver in this car.

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A bit further up the hill.

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Who was the Scot in the team? I'm guessing the car is Dark Blue with a White cross on the roof.

:wave:

#38 bradbury west

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 09:34

I always recall a picture in the Autocar from the early '60s of a 2-doorless Minor 1000 with wire wheels being hillclimbed in NZ by a woman. Unless the memory is fading/failing. Other than mainstream events ,not much was reported over here from down there then , so that is why I recall it. I am sure it was not the Morrari
Roger Lund

#39 sterling49

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 10:13

Originally posted by Stephen W


Who was the Scot in the team? I'm guessing the car is Dark Blue with a White cross on the roof.

:wave:


Stephen, I guessed that it was a compliment to the Alan Fraser Racing team of Imps that were so impressivei from the early '60s, as Glyn Parham amazed me recently, when he informed me, that they were run by AF from Hildenborough in Kent, not very far from where I live.

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#40 wenoopy

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 10:56

Re : Hillclimb Venues around Auckland.

I had not made the connection between Anderson's Farm hill at Paremoremo and Bruce and Wayne Anderson of Pinepac Whenuapai - and the next generation Andrew Anderson in the V8's. Incidentally this venue is marked on a Lands and Survey map as "car club hill climb" (on NZMS 260 1:50000 Sheet R10 Whangaparaoa) at about 36 deg 45 min Sth 174 deg 40 min East.

Chamberlain Road Bombay was a popular spectating hill. I remember arriving there with my brother (on 12 March 1961 it turns out) quite late in the day and emerging from the car park to see a long black single seater coming round the top bend at the finish. It was Johnny Mansel in the Tec-Mec and he had apparently hung the tail out too far on an earlier corner and damaged the oil tank on the bank. We hadn't actually seen the car before that as it turned up too late for the GP at Ardmore. (Mansel raced anything anywhere sometimes and there is a photo out there in somebody's book or magazine of the TecMec and another car supposedly at Levin, but it's actually on the cinder track at Western Springs!). Jim Boyd won the hillclimb that day in the old HWM; in later years he ran in Jack Malcolm's Cooper-Holden and then the Lycoming, generally winning in whatever he drove!

Nobody has yet mentioned Ostrich Farm Road Pukekohe (or Patumahoe or Paerata, whatever) the Northern Sports Car Club venue of the time. I think I was there on the day Bruce McLaren won the 1959 United States GP - the news must have come through in the morning. This hill seemed quite straight and flattish in the lower part and then climbed through a series of bends where John Riley came to grief one time, coming round the last bend sideways and taking out the timing apparatus but recording fastest time first.

Apart from Mansel's TecMec appearance, mainstream circuit racing cars were rarely seen at Auckland hillclimbs. In fact this only seems to have been a Wellington phenomenon after about 1957. Visiting "firemen" had run at Horahora and I think at Wairamarama in Ron Roycroft's backyard in 1954?

Sorry I haven't photos to support this - still working on that.

#41 275 GTB-4

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 11:43

Originally posted by Stephen W


Who was the Scot in the team? I'm guessing the car is Dark Blue with a White cross on the roof.

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:wave:


To the uninitiated...we are in the Bombay Hills well south of Auckland just off the main road south :up:

#42 David McKinney

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 13:01

Originally posted by sterling49
Stephen, I guessed that it was a compliment to the Alan Fraser Racing team of Imps

I believe it was an actual ex-Fraser Imp :)

#43 David McKinney

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 13:08

Some more Chamberlain’s Road picture from the Hatrat Collection

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A general view of part of the course

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I don’t know if this corner was called the Karussel, but it looks as if it should have been. An A40 Special circa 1964

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The Paddock (literally). The car’s labelled as a Cooper-JAP but I can’t see much Cooper about it...

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The Lycoming, stripped of road equipment, getting its breath back between runs. This seems to be from the pre-Boyd era, possibly during Forrest Cardon’s ownership

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The pre-war coupés were always very much a part of the Chamberlain’s Road scene. This one seems to be Red Dawson’s Ford, equipped with full-race V8 Corvette engine, and a saloon record-holder in its day

#44 Stephen W

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 15:00

Originally posted by David McKinney

I believe it was an actual ex-Fraser Imp :)


That would explain it. :wave:

#45 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 02:15

Ron Roycroft in his P3 Alfa Romeo about to start the Muriwai hillclimb.


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#46 Doug Nye

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 08:43

What a wonderful thread this is...

DCN

#47 Stephen W

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 10:28

Originally posted by Doug Nye
What a wonderful thread this is...

DCN


Seconded!

:clap:

#48 hatrat

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 11:07

Some more Chamberlain’s Road photos from around the mid 1960s;

In the paddock. John Curtis in the A40 Special (Chris Amon's first race car) with the Barden to one side. Curtis recorded a 43.9.

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Jim Boyd in the Lycoming Special. He recorded a 40.9.

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Bill Stone in what appears to be a Cooper 500. He did a 41.6.

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#49 wenoopy

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 11:26

Bill (A.G.) Stone entered a 500cc car as "The Beast" at local hillclimbs. Was this it?

From late 1964 he raced the ex Hollier/Levis etc Cooper FJ before going on to faster stuff.

#50 David McKinney

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 12:24

No, The Beast was a different car
The one in the picture is the MkIX Cooper that became between that and the Cooper Junior