Author Topic: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds  (Read 47736 times)

Shadow Ahead

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Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds
« Reply #165 on: July 31, 2015, 05:14:52 AM »
Thanks.

Steve

Steve Holmes

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Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds
« Reply #166 on: December 15, 2015, 06:59:45 AM »
Time for a couple of new posts. This photo was taken at Calder Park, in Melbourne, Australia, a race track owned by tire and car dealer tycoon Bob Jane.

The Camaro is over from New Zealand, and driven by Dennis Marwood. It was owned by Ian Rorison. Its a former SCCA A/Sedan and Trans-Am car built and raced by Joe Chamberlain in 1969 and 1970 before he took it down-under to NZ where it was sold to Rorison after Chamberlain had run a couple of NZ sedan events.

This shot was taken in 1972, and you can see the butt-ugly fender flare treatment done to cover the big tires. This car ended up with 13" rear wheels.

Photo by Perry Drury.


Steve Holmes

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Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds
« Reply #167 on: December 15, 2015, 07:08:17 AM »
Here is Bob Jane in his genuine 1969 ZL1 Camaro which he purchased in 1970 as a new but unsold car and shipped to Australia where it was built into a road race car. Australian rules allowed for Jane to run the 7 litre alloy motor, which was his main reason for buying the car.

This photo is from 1971, his first season racing the Camaro, and he won the Australian Touring Car Championship just narrowly from Allan Moffat in a Kar-Kraft 1969 Mustang.

Following the 1971 season, the Australian motorsport governing body changed the rules, introducing a 6 litre engine limit, so Jane was forced to run the Camaro with a small block 350 in 1972, although he went on to win the ATCC that year too.

Incidentally, Jane sold the alloy ZL1 motor to Frank Gardner, who was based in the UK and in the process of building a 2nd generation Camaro to contest the British Saloon Car Championship. The Camaro was run by Adrian Chambers under SCA Freight.

Bob Jane also bought a second ZL1 Camaro when he purchased this car, which also went to Australia and which he had built as a drag car. He owned a couple of race tracks, including Calder Park where this photo was taken. Calders front straight also doubled as a drag strip.

Photo by Perry Drury.


Steve Holmes

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Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds
« Reply #168 on: December 15, 2015, 07:16:46 AM »
This is the same car as in the previous post, the former Bob Jane ZL1 Camaro, but with its next owner Jim Smith, who repainted it in Camel Filters colors.

The Australian sedan rules were changed after the 1972 season, and this car was forced to race as a Sports Sedan, a category for heavily modified cars in which V8 motors could be fitted into cars that didn't have them as standard, and where motors could be moved back (or forward) within the bodywork for better weight distribution etc.

The Camaro was never really competitive again, but looked pretty cool in this color scheme.

Incidentally, Jim Smith had previously raced a British Rover P6, a special prototype built by British Leyland to content the British Saloon Car Championship. It was powered by a Traco built Rover V8 stretched out to about 4.5 litres. I think there was only one or two built, so its interesting that one ended up down in Australia. But he offloaded that to buy the Camaro, clearly considering this to be a better car.

Photo by Perry Drury.




Steve Holmes

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Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds
« Reply #169 on: December 15, 2015, 07:21:41 AM »
This is the Indy Speed Shop Camaro which I posted a couple of pics of a few weeks back on this thread. A cool looking car with wild paint scheme, but it only arrived on the scene in Australia around 1974, and built from a road car, so was never really competitive with the top cars. This photo would be slightly later, probably 1975 or so.

Photo by Perry Drury.


Steve Holmes

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Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds
« Reply #170 on: December 15, 2015, 07:29:11 AM »
This is Bryan Thomson's 1968 big block Camaro, which actually first started its racing career in Australia as a drag car. Thomson reasoned that around his local Calder Park track, which featured a fairly simplistic design with a couple of long straights and only four corners, its power would help make it competitive as a road racing sedan. So he bought it and converted it into a road racer.

He began racing it in 1968 with 396 motor, but then went bigger and more powerful and ran a 427. It had the 427 in this photo, which was taken around 1969/70. At the time, it was said to be putting out 620hp, which would have probably made it the most powerful road race sedan in Australia.

The curious mustard color is actually and Alfa Romeo color. Thomson owned an Alfa Romeo dealership at the time. Note its also right hand drive. Australian road rules at the time required this, so the car must have briefly been used on the road before it became a race car.

Photo by Perry Drury.


satman

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Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds
« Reply #171 on: December 16, 2015, 02:00:14 AM »

   Great stuff Steve,
           
   Your pictures bring back a lot of fond memories of my visit to Kiwi Land many many years ago........ To plagiarize  a quote from a famous American " never have so many done so much with so few resources" Back in the day while I was wrenching there it almost took an act of Parliament to import a race engine from the US.
Keep em coming

       AL

Steve Holmes

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Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds
« Reply #172 on: December 16, 2015, 02:56:51 AM »

   Great stuff Steve,
           
   Your pictures bring back a lot of fond memories of my visit to Kiwi Land many many years ago........ To plagiarize  a quote from a famous American " never have so many done so much with so few resources" Back in the day while I was wrenching there it almost took an act of Parliament to import a race engine from the US.
Keep em coming

       AL

You're so right Al! The New Zealand government certainly made it very difficult to import cars back in the 1960s and '70s. The very first Mustang imported into New Zealand was owned by a young guy called Ivan Segedin, who had to arrange for an NZ car dealership called Fleetwood Motors to source and purchase a car in the US for him. A new 1965 Mustang GT road car was bought, and a trip to Shelbys workshop was included to buy all the racing parts required to convert it to a race car once it arrived back in NZ.

In addition, an import bond was required, and Segedin wasn't able to attain an import license, as he was not an importer. So BP Oils put up the bond. When the car eventually hit the track for the first time it had Fleetwood Motors and BP Oil signage on it, not because these companies gave him sponsorship money, but because they did the work in getting the car into the country.

On top of that, many imported race cars then had to be exported once each year and then imported back in again to avoid the various taxes. So what most did was simply send their cars to Australia, raced them there, then shipped them back to NZ.

This is one of the reasons so many race car drivers in NZ during this time were also car dealers. They were of the few who had the right licenses to import and export cars.

An arduous process, as you say Al. You really had to be a racing enthusiast to want to do this back then.

Jon Mello

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Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds
« Reply #173 on: December 16, 2015, 03:57:43 AM »
Thanks, Steve. We always appreciate seeing and learning more about the Camaros over in your part of the world. That is an odd rear bumper on the orange Dennis Marwood car. It is similar to an original '69 bumper but not quite, and the mounting bolts are not where they normally would be.

Interesting that the Indy Speed Shop Camaro still has early '70s California license plates on it. The license frame says Harry Mann Chevrolet and Los Angeles on it. Those are worth a lot of bucks to Corvette collectors these days. I wonder what that car's history was before it went to Australia.
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Steve Holmes

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Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds
« Reply #174 on: December 16, 2015, 10:29:40 PM »
Wow Jon, you are eagle-eyed! I hadn't picked up on the rear bumper on the Marwood Camaro, probably because the entire rear end of the car is so badly deformed the bumper is barely noticeable to the untrained eye. My guess would be its not a 1969 Camaro bumper, but rather something else grafted on there thats more or less close enough.

These cars took a beating, just as they did in the US, but unlike the US, replacement parts were much harder to come by, and looking at the lower left rear corner, its had some dodgy repair work done, likely from an on-track clash.

As for the license plate on the Indy Speed Shop Camaro, its my understanding this car was imported into Australia as a road car, and converted into a race car. It was raced by Peter Finch and John Kay in this form, and I'm sure I read somewhere they were the ones who imported and built it. I can't find any evidence of it having raced prior to around 1973, so they likely picked it up in the US for cheap as a 5 year old road car, and shipped it back to Aus.


Jon Mello

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Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds
« Reply #175 on: December 17, 2015, 02:45:00 PM »
Steve, I wonder if that bumper on the back of Marwood's Camaro might be a front bumper off an Aussie car such as a Holden. It seems to bow outward slightly like you might expect for a front bumper.
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Steve Holmes

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Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds
« Reply #176 on: December 26, 2015, 08:28:45 PM »
Hi Jon, yes I think you are right. I thought it might have been a Holden HK - HG model bumper from the late 1960s, but it doesn't quite seem to match, but it would definitely have been something more common in NZ than a '69 Camaro bumper, which would have been rare as hens teeth back then.

Steve Holmes

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Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds
« Reply #177 on: January 03, 2016, 08:45:35 PM »
Cool photo here from 1971 at Bay Park in New Zealand. This was shot at the hairpin, and captures Dennis Marwood in the (ex-Joe Chamberlain) Camaro and Paul Fahey in the Alan Mann Racing Escort FVC cranking on some opposite lock. And people think drifting is a new sport!


Jon Mello

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Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds
« Reply #178 on: January 05, 2016, 01:12:36 AM »
That's really a great shot, Steve. Thanks for sharing it. The Camaro sure does look similar to Bob Jane's car with the orange paint and the blacked out grille with the Chevy bowtie in the middle.
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Steve Holmes

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Re: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds
« Reply #179 on: January 11, 2016, 06:32:08 AM »
Neat little home made video here from the 1971 New Zealand International Grand Prix event at Pukekohe, showing the Unlimited Capacity Sedan race. It shows Australian driver Norm Beechey across from Australia in his very fast Holden Monaro, as well as American visitor Joe Chamberlain in his first Camaro, which is the car that stayed in NZ after this race.

Also shown is Kiwi driver Paul Fahey in his newly built '70 Mustang which started life as a stolen/recovered Boss 429, which he fitted with the parts from the Shelby workshops when he went through there in 1970.

Plus all the top Kiwi drivers in the different class cars etc. No sound unfortunately but still cool to see. Check it out here: http://www.theroaringseason.com/showthread.php?1938-Video-Of-The-Day-1971-NZIGP-Saloon-Car-Race