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Author Topic: New Zealand/Australian Camaros And Firebirds  (Read 30645 times)
Jon Mello
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« Reply #105 on: October 24, 2012, 10:35:04 PM »

Steve, it sounds like when L22K19 was interested in buying it for a client, CAMS would not certify the car since not enough of the original car was left. Do you have any knowledge of why they changed their minds or is the Camaro not racing in CAMS-governed events?
« Last Edit: October 27, 2012, 12:25:37 AM by Jon Mello » Logged

Jon Mello
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« Reply #106 on: December 03, 2012, 05:54:56 AM »

I don't think it has been run in any racs since its "restoration", just display events. I have been able to see the car since it was done but would be very interesting comparing some of the "then" and "now"photos especially some of the more heavily modified areas. Still haven't found my file with the built sheet copy.
I was of the belief that Bryan bought it from a dealer in Shepparton and then converted it to a race car.
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Steve Holmes
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« Reply #107 on: May 21, 2013, 11:13:52 PM »

Thought it about time I added to this thread. I'm currently uploading a beautiful collection of New Zealand racing photos taken by Bill Pottinger during the late 1960s and early '70s to The Roaring Season: www.theroaringseason.com Bill was only a teenager when he began taking these, borrowing has fathers camera, and riding his push bike out to his local race track, Teretonga. He eventually moved north to Christchurch around 1972 to attend college, and so had to quit the photography. But by all accounts he was very talented, and taught himself to develop the photos so he could sell them back to the drivers.

Back at this time, the Tasman Series was at full strength, with visiting Formula 1 teams making their way 'down under' during the European winter. Bill also supplied New Zealand international motoring journalist Eoin Young with photos when Young visited NZ while reporting on the Tasman Series for British and US car magazines.

Aside from the Tasman Series races, Bill also photographed many of the sedan races that ran as support. This shot shows Paul Fahey in his Boss Mustang, which started life as a stolen/recovered 429 road car which he bought in LA. Chasing hard, getting all crossed up is Rod Coppins in his '67 Camaro.

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Jon Mello
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« Reply #108 on: May 22, 2013, 12:23:53 AM »

Very nice, Steve! Thanks for sharing it. I'll have to check out Bill's other photos when I get a chance. Is that Coppins car the one that was driven by Spinner Black later?
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #109 on: June 16, 2013, 02:51:08 PM »

Hi Jon, yes its the same car. Was raced by Spinner Black, then Coppins. Was raced by several drivers throughout the 1970s, and modified as such to remain competitive against more modern machinery with ever changing rules. New Zealand eventually adopted IMSA rules, hence there being a couple of DeKon Monza's race here, and a locally built Mustang II very similar to the car raced in the US by Charlie Kemp. So the Spinner Camaro was constantly being updated, just as many Trans-Am Camaro's in the US were through the mid/late-1970s. The Camaro was eventually retired in the early 1980s, and although now beautifully restored and raced quite regularly at historic events, its as it last raced in 1981, rather than how it appears in the photo above, as it was so heavily modified.
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Steve Holmes
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« Reply #110 on: July 02, 2013, 02:31:41 PM »

This is from a new collection of photos I've been sent to upload to The Roaring Season. The collection is by Allan Cameron, and centres upon racing events from the 1960s and early '70s, in the North Island of New Zealand.

This shot was taken at Bay Park, at the Christmas event in late 1972. This event featured one of the best sedan line-ups to date assembled in New Zealand. Bay Park were always big promoters of sedan racing, when most other New Zealand tracks were still pushing single seaters. This event featured four international teams, three of which are pictured here, with Canadian born Aussie Allan Moffat in his Kar-Kraft 1969 Mustang, leading the big Aussie driver Pete Geoghegan in the 'Super Falcon' (so named because of the sheer scale of the project by Ford Australia to build two very high-dollar Falcon race cars using the very best materials and workmanship. This car of Geoghegan's had 620hp by 1972, which was astounding at the time for a 351 motor). In behind Geoghegan is Frank Gardner in the SCA Freight Camaro. Gardner was very quick in this Camaro, which he sold when he later took the car to Australia.

Joe Chamberlain was also at this event, making his second visit to New Zealand in his 1969 Trans-Am Camaro.

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Jon Mello
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« Reply #111 on: July 02, 2013, 09:07:14 PM »

Steve, thanks for letting us know about the new collection of photos. I'll have to check them out. Those three cars in the photo you
posted are some heavy hitters in New Zealand/Australia motorsports history. Really nice action shot of them powering through that turn.
Many thanks for posting it here.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #112 on: July 02, 2013, 09:18:24 PM »

Thanks Jon, glad you like them. Here is another from Allan which I am so disappointed about, because it could have been such a fantastic photo, had that spectator not moved their head in the way of Allan's camera just as he was about to take this shot, partially blocking the view of the front car.

This is the pair of big block Camaro's of Aussies Terry Allan and Bryan Thomson, also at Bay Park, taken at the same corner as that above, but two years earlier. There were only three big block road race Camaro's that competed in period in Australasia, and two of them appeared at this event together. The noise must have been immense!

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Jon Mello
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« Reply #113 on: July 03, 2013, 12:01:23 AM »

Steve, yes that's too bad about the person's head blocking part of that shot. How come Bryan Thomson's #4 car is RHD but Terry Allan's is not,
even though both are from Australia?
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #114 on: July 03, 2013, 02:09:15 AM »

Jon, well spotted! To the best of my knowledge left hand drive cars didn't actually have to be converted to rhd when imported into Australia in period, its just that many owners chose to convert them to make driving them on the roads easier. Thomson's Camaro was a drag car before he purchased it, and I assume it was a road car in Aus before it was a drag car. In my opinion American cars just don't look right when they're converted to rhd, but each to their own I suppose.
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Steve Holmes
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« Reply #115 on: July 03, 2013, 02:23:13 AM »

Another of Allan's photos, again taken in the same spot at Bay Park, but this time in late 1973. Note the blue '69 Camaro back in 4th place. This is actually the old Joe Chamberlain Trans-Am Camaro that Joe brought with him on his first visit to New Zealand in 1970. It was a beautiful car when it first arrived, but after three hard seasons of racing, and getting a bit knocked about, it was looking pretty tired by the time this photo was taken. John Riley owned the Camaro by this stage. After this season was over, he had an 'expert' do some work building a new subframe which was said to have destroyed the cars handling. It really took a beating. Riley was a hard-charger, a former stockcar speedway racer, and he was always happy to rub fenders, but after the front-end changes, the cars handling became so poor I think it contributed to some of those crashes.

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« Reply #116 on: July 03, 2013, 03:55:11 AM »

To the best of my knowledge left hand drive cars didn't actually have to be converted to rhd when imported into Australia in period, its just that many owners chose to convert them to make driving them on the roads easier.
Steve, until (relatively) recently, all LHD cars imported to Australia had to be converted to RHD for road use, but only in certain States and Territories. I think at least Western Australia and the Northern Territory allowed LHD cars to be registered. The Eastern states were not as relaxed!
From around 1999 (at least in my home state), the laws were relaxed to allow vehicles 30 years old, or more, to remain LHD and still be eligible for registration. Hence the steady stream of personal imports of 60's and 70's cars into the country since then, as the previously-prohibitive cost of conversions could be avoided.
However, as far as I know, cars specifically imported for race purposes could remain in LHD configuration, unless they were also intended to be road-registered.
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Tim - 04A VN '69 z/28 69-69 715 ex-E/MP
Jon Mello
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« Reply #117 on: July 03, 2013, 02:57:28 PM »

Thanks guys for the extra information. I had thought that road registration might come into play with regard to the RHD.
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« Reply #118 on: July 08, 2013, 02:44:00 AM »

To the best of my knowledge left hand drive cars didn't actually have to be converted to rhd when imported into Australia in period, its just that many owners chose to convert them to make driving them on the roads easier.
Steve, until (relatively) recently, all LHD cars imported to Australia had to be converted to RHD for road use, but only in certain States and Territories. I think at least Western Australia and the Northern Territory allowed LHD cars to be registered. The Eastern states were not as relaxed!
From around 1999 (at least in my home state), the laws were relaxed to allow vehicles 30 years old, or more, to remain LHD and still be eligible for registration. Hence the steady stream of personal imports of 60's and 70's cars into the country since then, as the previously-prohibitive cost of conversions could be avoided.
However, as far as I know, cars specifically imported for race purposes could remain in LHD configuration, unless they were also intended to be road-registered.

Ahh, thanks for that explanation, that makes sense, and explains why the Terry Allan Camaro remained left hand drive, because it was imported in Australia as a race car. Incidentally, the Norm Beechey black '68 Camaro raced as a left hand drive car, but I've been told it later ended up as a road car. I wonder if this would have been converted to rhd?
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Steve Holmes
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« Reply #119 on: July 08, 2013, 02:53:01 AM »

I wanted to share this dramatic photo taken by Bill Pottinger, at the Lady Wigram Trophy event, in early 1970. The Wigram race track, near Christchurch in the South Island, is actually an air force base, at which the annual Lady Wigram Trophy event for single seaters was held from 1949 - 1994. The New Zealand Saloon Car Championship would hold one of its championship rounds at this event each year, being a high profile event which attracted a high number of international teams.

Anyway, this is from one of the three sedan races held at the 1970 event, and shows Rod Coppins in his '67 Camaro being harassed by Paul Fahey in his very quick Alan Mann Racing Escort. Fahey actually won all three races, despite this being a very fast track with lots of space to overtake. But he was sensational that day. But I wanted to post this photo here because Coppins is also trying very hard in the Camaro. Look closely, and you can see both of his back wheels are off the ground as he charges across one of the bumps!

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