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Corvette-powered NZ race cars '50s/'60s


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#51 thunder427

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 06:36

......when the 'chicken' was asked why he wanted to cross the road he said. 'so he could see his flat mate' !!!..Ray is right!... its also like..(and I ask Ray to throw some light on this subject)..Disc Brakes didn't show on American cars till the early 60's (63 !!)owing to an English company having a patent on the Design/concept...was it the 'Girlock or Bodenx British company...I'm close but quite pos. 'Miles' out, so I will put a 'stop' to this 'madness' !!!

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#52 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 06:48

I think the discs on Jaguar's early racing cars were Dunlops...

But that doesn't say anything about patents. I also know that Chrysler were experimenting with discs much earlier than '63.

#53 David McKinney

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 06:52

Originally posted by fredeuce
Can any of the Kiwi folk add any information about this Elfin ?
I understand it to be slightly longer than the others. Also is it correct that it had a 396 Chev big block engine?

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I don't know about its length, but it did have a 396 engine at this stage. The next owner ran it with a 302 however

#54 Peter Leversedge

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 08:09

The "diff" in the Stanton Corvette was a Ford V8 Flathead, saw it with my own eyes many times. They also had a slider device that could lock the left and right hand chain sprockets which gave the car a locked rear end which they used from time to time. this could only be engaged by a lever near the "diff" .The remainder of the rear end and suspension was "Stanton"

#55 thunder427

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 06:41

sooooooooo !!,Corvette powered NZ 50's/60's,...we've named a few,so where are they today ( so to speak !!),I know the Coppins Corvette(or a 'clone') was at Ruapuna a few years ago, I'm sure Niel Doyles Anglia/Corvette still 'lives'so !!keep them cards and letters flowing,.... I have a fantastic photo of Ron Slyvester standing beside 'old38' with John Britten in the back ground courtesy of the Christchurch Star (sorry to big to scan ) so photo's Gentlemen please..................
wasn't a Corvette but where's 'colour me gone' (sorry i have to say it !!) Gone !!!???

#56 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 08:33

Too big to scan?

Easy... digital photograph, try to get it nicely centred and square and it will be fine.

#57 David Shaw

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 09:01

Or do multiple scans of it, email it to me and I will compile them into a single image with Photoshop.

#58 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 12:05

A photo is a lot easier, David...

#59 David Shaw

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 12:17

Unless you don't have a digital camera.

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#60 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 12:57

Easy...

There are more cameras made by Nokia than any manufacturer in the world today. Digital cameras are everywhere!

#61 hatrat

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 18:27

Another interesting period NZ car was the Jennings Special. Fiat Topolino with a V8 (don't remember if it was a "Corvette"). I think it was for sale earlier this year so it must still be around. I have a photo somewhere of it in a "gaggle" of cars (with Rod Coppins "organ pipe" Zephyr in the lead with a Mk2 Jaguar) going into the corner onto the old section of the Pukekohe track.

#62 David McKinney

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 20:24

Pretty sure it was a Ford.
At least to start with.

#63 thunder427

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 00:02

Ron Slyvester restored his '38 chev/Corvette (with 6 carbs) to 'wow' condition prior to taking up his contract to the 'BIG race track in the sky',its on display at his Sydenham Chev Spares in christchurch ( which his son runs today (also been know to 'punt' the o'le38 at times !!) , ,to the younger Forum members outside of christchurch,Ron was larger than life,pasionate motor sport pioneer who owned and opperated a very succesful used car business and created Sydenham Chev Spares to cater for a grow 'Performance market, I feel privlaged to have called him 'my friend' (and mentor) a New Zealand 'Micky Thompson' character !!

#64 xbgs351

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 03:22

Originally posted by thunder427
xbgs351; trust you are young enough to bend down and look up a Corvette's 'skirt' and and you will see a rear end that looks very much like a 'Jag',now if you are in the USA and you looked up a Jags 'skirt' you may think it looks like a Corvette stlye rearend, Question; "which came first, the chicken or the egg !!??


I noticed the inboard discs, 4 springs/shocks and lack of leaf spring. But as Ray said, this has been covered at the top of the page.

#65 thunder427

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 06:52

.....and moving right along !!!............................ Corvette powered "New Zealand' racing cars of the 50's/60's

#66 hiteknz

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 09:26

Originally posted by David McKinney
Pretty sure it was a Ford.
At least to start with.

The Jennings Special built early 1960,s originally had a SV V8 in it ,then fitted with , (to use Mark Jennings own words ) a Ford Lincoln V8 Y block of approx 6.5 litres,with a 3 speed Ford Gearbox and overdrive this was apparently the same type of engine that got used in a Pan American or similar road race
Mark also used this car at the dragstrip and can tell a story of when he won 200 cigarettes for the fastest time or similar !! Was featured I believe in NZ Hotrod Magazine back in the 90's

#67 thunder427

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 01:35

hiteknz,what 'light' can you throw on the 'morarrie',which if the memory serves me well was a 'lowlight' Morris Minor on a 'Ferrari' chassie..out of Wellington...some subgestion in recent times tha Graeme Mcrae was part of the build team...does it still exist??...I think I read some where that the 'Ferrari' was actually/being restored !!

#68 Peter Leversedge

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 05:38

I understand the " Morarrie" was one of the Super Squalo Ferraris that Reg Parnell or Peter Whitehead raced in NZ in 1957 with a Morris Minor body and a Chev V8 Engine fitted later . Am I correct? These cars stayed in NZ one being race by Tom Clark [ who recently passed away ] and the other by I think John Mc Millan

#69 David McKinney

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 06:58

"Search BB" shows that the Morrari has been mentioned in 15 previous threads, Thunder
Try it - I think you'll find plenty more to interest you in some of them :wave:

Yes Peter, you have the spec right
Clark and McMillan did indeed by the Whitehead and Parnell Ferraris. Both took them to Australia and both had accidents in them there. McMillan rebuilt his and promptly sold it (to Arnold Glass). The rebuild of the other took longer - and the driver needed comprehensive repairs as well - and its was this one that eventually formed the basis of the Morrari and, yes, it is now back to original and pops up in European historic races from time to time.

#70 hiteknz

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 07:39

[QUOTE]Originally posted by thunder427
[B]hiteknz,what 'light' can you throw on the 'morarrie'

Thunder ,as Dave says it is covered in previous threads under search BB ,what I can add was the Ferrari 555 was the ex Tom Clark car ,which eventually ended up with Bob Smith,it was in John Riley's yard in Otahuhu for some time where it sat engine less and out in the weather ,eventually ending up with Garth Souness I believe it ended up with the Morris body as it suited the Ferrari wheelbase ,Garth Souness and Glen Jones both drove it ,I did see it run at the Aka Aka flying quarter sprint back then . I don't have any times for it but from memory it recorded a fairly fast speed

#71 Ron B.

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 10:06

And like the creature from the black lagoon,i'll raise this from the dead.
The aforementioned Colin Lumsden was the son of a gentleman we bought a business from in Auckland decades ago and who also worked with one of my mates and was a brother in law of another,a fellow engineer in Auckland so I had the dubious pleasure of seeing Colins Corvette engine sitting on the floor of the shed. it was a genuine pre 1964 Corvette 283 with the Duntov 30/30 cam ( 30 thou intake.30 thou exhaust valve lash) and a the earlier dual quad intake with baby WCFB carbs. His all comer racer was a dodge.
The Garth Souness 32 is alive and well and very much changed since it's track days having been rodded,restored rodded and prodded over the last 40 years. There were at least 2 32 Ford Coupes racing in the allcomers series,one had a top chop . Given the 7 figure sums a real 32 Ford fetches today these would be significant cars in new Zealand racing history .
Because i was a stupid car crazy teen( read as "immortal") ,i was engaged to drive my mates Holden powered morris lolite on the Dirt track, it had the remains of the morrari body on it. . That was nearly 36 years ago so I doubt very much the body would be saved for anything.

If you read the history of the corvette V8 deeply it soon becomes obvious that there really wasn't much difference between the basic 283 out of a truck and the dual quad duntov cammed powerhouse from a corvette. It wasn't until the 327 appeared in 1962 that the engine was developed with better heads,constant flow injection, a variety of cams and so on. There are two types of early corvette tappet covers,the early 265 style with offset bolt holes and the later 283 style with even bolt holes. Both were the best quality parts on any Chev engine being really nice diecastings.
Further bit of trivia,when Chrysler was designing it's famed Hemi in 1949 it is common knowledge that the engineer in charge had an Ardun head sitting on his desk. The overall shape similarity was no coincidence.
Duntov was working for Sydney Allard when he designed the heads and the initial use was for English garbage trucks which were found to be seriuosly underpowered with the Ford 85 horse flathead. Using Allard heads on a Ford was not the way to make power,lots of development work had to pioneered before they would unleash their power.
There even a small handful of 21 stud sets of Ardun heads made. today you can buy them new.$$$$$ .
Was it possible that Anglia also mentioned previuosly was Johnny Rileys? he had a 105E Anglia with an Olds V8 that he drove around otahuhu as his road car...






:D

#72 David McKinney

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 10:37

Lumsden's car was a DeSoto...

If your "mentioned previously" comment regarding the Anglia refers to Post 55 (appropriately :) ) - no, the Doyle and Riley cars were two different beasts - one dark green and based in the South Island and the other candy apple red and based in the North

#73 hatrat

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 11:13

Here are a couple of the cars mentioned above - the Morrari and Rod Coppins Zephyr Corvette:

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#74 hatrat

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 11:19

I remember the Colin Lumsden DeSoto as it was based just down the road (at a bakery in Medowbank from memory). It had wire front wheels and dual Dunlop C49s on each side at the rear.

It ran at Western Springs once and I think almost won it's race as it was so long that when Colin hung the tail out on the 1/4 mile oval no one could pass him - until he spun.

#75 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 11:48

As has been pointed out most of the 'Corvette' powered cars were probably small block Chevs of various parentage. Though a Vette engine was basically the same ofcourse.
It happened here in Oz too, particularly in speedway where all the Supermods [and the occasional stockcar] were Corvette powered ! Mostly by tank Chevy 2barrel engines with a mild cam and a 4 barrel , or later constant flow injection. Does it matter, ofcourse not, they were racing with a very efficient reliable modern engine.
I love those pics of the Morrari and Coppins Mk2. Love those pipes!

#76 David McKinney

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 13:08

Originally posted by Lee Nicolle
As has been pointed out most of the 'Corvette' powered cars were probably small block Chevs of various parentage

The Zephyr's engine was definitely a Corvette - from a Camoradi team car

#77 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 15:21

Originally posted by Ron B.
.....Further bit of trivia,when Chrysler was designing it's famed Hemi in 1949 it is common knowledge that the engineer in charge had an Ardun head sitting on his desk. The overall shape similarity was no coincidence.
Duntov was working for Sydney Allard when he designed the heads and the initial use was for English garbage trucks which were found to be seriuosly underpowered with the Ford 85 horse flathead. Using Allard heads on a Ford was not the way to make power,lots of development work had to pioneered before they would unleash their power.....


Reminding me that one thrust of the advertisement for the Roof 4-valve head for Model Ts (out of a 1919 publication) was for efficiency and power to pull big loads in T-model trucks!

But looking at the Chrysler comment... I've read that this wasn't true, and it's very believable that it wasn't. During the war and immediately afterwards, Chrysler did a lot of work on an aero engine with hemi combustion chambers created just as they had them in the early fifties V8s. They also built a test engine with them based on their flathead six block.

Also, if you look at the plug locations of the Ardun heads, you'll see they're not in the centre of the cylinders as they are the Chrysler Hemis. So it can even be seen from the outside of the engines that this claim isn't true.

Regarding Corvette engines, I asked Lou Abrahams about the engine in the Tornado and it was definitely Corvette. There were claims that the Maybach had a 'factory experimental' 327 Corvette engine, but that was balderdash, the engine being used in that car coming years before the SBC went to 327 cubes.

All the same, it was undoubtedly very easy to stick any old 283 in there with some hot bits and call it a Corvette. One likely contender for that is the Ray Wamsley Alfa Tipo B, which was run on a much smaller budget than the Tornado and the Maybach.

Also, David, what's likely to be in that homely Consul behind the '37 Chev? For that matter, I daresay the Chev isn't a Stovebolt 6?

#78 David McKinney

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 15:40

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Also, David, what's likely to be in that homely Consul behind the '37 Chev? For that matter, I daresay the Chev isn't a Stovebolt 6?

I can't put my hands on the relevant programme, and don't recognise the Chev in question. At that time several raced with Corvette engines (so-called) but some of the more impecunious enthusiasts ran sixes
The Consul had a fairly standard 3.4 Jaguar, which had previously been in the owner's 6CM Maserati
And while we're at it, the Humber 80 (NZ Hillman Minx) had run a very hot Zephyr the previous season - I burned my hand picking up one of its con-rods from the Matamata circuit - but this year had a Jag. The driver's son was later twice World Touring Car Champion...

#79 hatrat

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 18:23

The Consul was the Ivan Cranch car that had, as David says, a Jaguar 3.4 engine. However the engine was well set back in the car to the extent that the driving position was very offset and cramped. Ivan still runs a Lotus 6 in local hillclimbs and sprints.

Here is Rod Coppins and those pipes:

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#80 bradbury west

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 20:51

Originally posted by Martin Roessler
Hi,found a few pics of the Stanton Corvette from this year at Phillip Island...

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cheers Marty


Is there any chance of re posting the pictures?
Roger Lund

#81 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 21:14

Originally posted by hatrat
The Consul was the Ivan Cranch car that had, as David says, a Jaguar 3.4 engine. However the engine was well set back in the car to the extent that the driving position was very offset and cramped. Ivan still runs a Lotus 6 in local hillclimbs and sprints.

Here is Rod Coppins and those pipes:

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I hope the Consul used something stronger than a Mk1 diff and axles. They used to break with std Mk1 Zephyr power very regularly.
With the Coppins car the exhausts all seem different lengths, seem weird.

#82 hatrat

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 00:44

Originally posted by hatrat
The Consul was the Ivan Cranch car that had, as David says, a Jaguar 3.4 engine. However the engine was well set back in the car to the extent that the driving position was very offset and cramped. Ivan still runs a Lotus 6 in local hillclimbs and sprints.

Here is Rod Coppins and those pipes:

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Note the "Sabrina" headlight pods on the Anglia and the attentive pit crew .....

#83 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 02:00

Now I know I am getting old!! I saw the healights but not the best scenery!

#84 David McKinney

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 08:03

Posted on behalf of hiteknz
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#85 David McKinney

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 08:12

Originally posted by hatrat
Here are a couple of the cars mentioned above - the Morrari and Rod Coppins Zephyr Corvette:
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hiteknz has also identified the Chev coupé as Barry Pointon's
IIRC it ran a Corvette engine, Humber Super Snipe gearbox and LSD
"Barry had a panel shop in Penrose and his cars were always well presented and painted.
"Can you imagine them letting you sit on the grass there like that today?"

#86 hatrat

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 09:17

Great entry list hiteknz and David, that brings back memories when I was a youngster hanging around the Pukekohe pits.

Here is an "after" photo of the previous shot of the first lefthander at Puke. Alwyn Marshall in the Cortina is still spun, Ivan Cranch in the Consul Jaguar seems to be trying to find a gear in his compressed driver's compartment and Colin Lumsden is taking avoiding action in the DeSoto.


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#87 Ron B.

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 10:01

Originally posted by hatrat
I remember the Colin Lumsden DeSoto as it was based just down the road (at a bakery in Medowbank from memory). It had wire front wheels and dual Dunlop C49s on each side at the rear.

It ran at Western Springs once and I think almost won it's race as it was so long that when Colin hung the tail out on the 1/4 mile oval no one could pass him - until he spun.

On the corner of Remuera road. We owned the building and before I left school I often worked there on Friday nights till dawn,and some wondered where I got money for cars from.... :D What was called a Desoto in New Zealand was in actual fact a Plymouth in it's home market. Desoto was a high end car in it's day where as Plymouth was the bottom of the ladder.

#88 Ron B.

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 10:05

Originally posted by David McKinney
Lumsden's car was a DeSoto...

If your "mentioned previously" comment regarding the Anglia refers to Post 55 (appropriately :) ) - no, the Doyle and Riley cars were two different beasts - one dark green and based in the South Island and the other candy apple red and based in the North

I don't remember Rileys' 105E ever being red,it was green and white when I used to see it. May have been painted afterwards but it was a very ordinary car even in those days. there quite few Zephyr 6 and V6 anglias about in those days and with mate I repowered a couple of E93A Anglia's with Chevies. :)

#89 David McKinney

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 11:01

Originally posted by Ron B.
What was called a Desoto in New Zealand was in actual fact a Plymouth in it's home market. Desoto was a high end car in it's day where as Plymouth was the bottom of the ladder.

Yes and no
NZ at one time imported the lot - Chrysler, Plymouth, Dodge, DeSoto and even the odd Imperial
But by the time I was working for the NZ importers in the early '60s it was down to two lines - damned if I remember which. I would have thought Dodge and DeSoto but I have a nasty feeling it might have been Plymouth and Dodge

And I'm sure I remember Riley's Anglia-Olds being the same candy apple red as his Lotus. Maybe it was green before or after :)

#90 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 11:14

The last true De Soto was built in 1960... a 1961 model...

Chrysler killed off the marque before they sold the first thousand of the '61 models. There were a few oddities world wide, however. A '62 Dodge Dart could be bought with De Soto badges in some African countries and I seem to recall seeing somewhere a pic of a mid-sixties pickup in Turkey or somewhere in that region with De Soto badges.

That car appears to be a Plymouth, however. Those tail fins adorned only Plymouths ex-USA plants. Canada, on the other hand, fitted a Dodge 'front clip' to them and so the otherwise totally-Plymouth cars were sold as Dodges in that country. Alongside Plymouths, of course.

Quite a handful to take road racing, I must say. Did he do anything about the horribly skinny 11" front drum brakes?

#91 David McKinney

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 11:18

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Quite a handful to take road racing, I must say. Did he do anything about the horribly skinny 11" front drum brakes?

ISTR he ran discs
And the suspension was Jaguar

#92 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 11:22

Sounds like he might have stuffed a Mk 9 front end under it...

What engine did it run?

#93 Ron B.

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 12:13

Ray, he had the engine sitting on the floor of his shed in West Auckland ( might have been his brother in laws ) and the numbers added up to an early Corvette 283.. Most chevies can be dated and identified by both stamped numbers on the front right and the cast ID numbers on the rear left. At that time he hadn't raced for years and was driving a Meat delivery truck at night with my flatmate. Auckland was very small place in those days... :D :D
Todd Motors were the importers/assemblers of most of the mopar products.

#94 thunder427

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 13:16

Event 8, in the programe,(when you squint/strain the 'Eyes') hosts two imports of the time, Ian Geoghegan/Lotus Cortina and a certain, Bob Jane/ Jaguar,over from Australia,I counted at least 5 genuine Lotus Cortina's,the visitors must have thought they were in a Sydney traffic jam considering the 'Gaggle' of manufacturers on the Grid,the list of NZ drivers were the 'WHO'S WHO' of our Motorsport in the 60's in 'the Land of the Long White Cloud'.............regards427

#95 Peter Leversedge

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 20:06

And there was the Stuart Corvette

#96 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 21:08

Originally posted by Ron B.

On the corner of Remuera road. We owned the building and before I left school I often worked there on Friday nights till dawn,and some wondered where I got money for cars from.... :D What was called a Desoto in New Zealand was in actual fact a Plymouth in it's home market. Desoto was a high end car in it's day where as Plymouth was the bottom of the ladder.

That basic body in 2 door, 4 door, pillarles etc was marketed as Desoto, Plymouth, Dodge and Chrysler with everything from 6 cyl [Q?] to 426 hemi. It would have been fairly exciting as a racecar !!! heaps of grunt, average brakes and handling with very slow steering with no road feel power steer. I would suggest it was probably raced without the P/S belt.

#97 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 04:46

Not really...

Chryslers had different wheelbases, the chassis for most Dodges, Plymouths and De Sotos were shared though. The Chrysler had a different body to the Dodge and Plymouth, but shared major sections with De Soto in that era.

And the 426 Hemi didn't arrive until 1964.

#98 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 06:02

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Not really...

Chryslers had different wheelbases, the chassis for most Dodges, Plymouths and De Sotos were shared though. The Chrysler had a different body to the Dodge and Plymouth, but shared major sections with De Soto in that era.

And the 426 Hemi didn't arrive until 1964.

I know about the wheelbases, that is why i said basic body, and different markets with different sheetmetal confuses the issue.Similar deal with Cudas and Challengers. If not 426 they defenitly had Hemis, have seen several original hemi big cars.

#99 Ron B.

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 08:51

Although they all designed by Virgil Exner and refered to as the forward look ,there is little interchangebility between them,body wise..

And yes mopar brakes before 1964 can only be described as effing lethal! BUT they did have disc brakes on the Imperial in 1952. the mention of the 426 Hemi should be seen in the light that it wasn't raced anywhere before 1964.
The original Hemi was raced from the beginning with Chrysler supporting Kirkhaefers Mercury Outboard team with the Flock brothers driving. My intake manifold on my race engine was off Fonty Flocks car,I sold it for $6000. :) .Dodge' s baby Hemi was represented at indy with a Tony Capana modified engine in Al Dean's lovely roadster in 1955 and again in 1958 with a Desoto,again by Tony Capanna. and the Cunningham effort was powered with early 331 cu inch long block Chryslers.None of the three different Hemi's share any major parts. :| :)
Hemi's were first on the market in 1950and the last Chrysler was the 1957 392 cu inch. There are too many different ones to list here but an old mate,Bob Walker, in the US has a very good site with all the info you ever wanted on the early Hemi.
http://www.powerplayhemi.com/

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#100 Ron B.

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 09:08

Originally posted by Lee Nicolle

That basic body in 2 door, 4 door, pillarles etc was marketed as Desoto, Plymouth, Dodge and Chrysler with everything from 6 cyl [Q?] to 426 hemi. It would have been fairly exciting as a racecar !!! heaps of grunt, average brakes and handling with very slow steering with no road feel power steer. I would suggest it was probably raced without the P/S belt.

Lee,the US Mopar cars have very nice steering even without power steer ,which was very rare in New Zealand. The V8 in NZ was the plymouth poly head 313 ,sold only in Australasia and Canada. Bristol bought bought some for their cars,which are erroniously described as Hemi's. The right hand steering box as fitted to OZ cars is pig set up with way to many turns,in fact i think it's actually a Ford item. The six cylinder cars n new Zealand were flatheads!!,where the US cars had the slant six after 1957.
Another mate owned the only Dodge hardtop in New Zealand,a 1958 LHD 318 powered car which had belonged to the governor of Georgia.