The Expo Group
8 July 2010
Rare classic cars set to delight Speedshow fans
Among the extensive line-up of modern, performance and modified cars at this year’s Speedshow, numerous historic and
classic cars have their own special appeal to automotive fans.
Three very rare cars are sure to stand out – a 1925 Bugatti Type 35A, a Jaguar XJ220 and a Sunbeam V12 – when the doors
to Speedshow open at 9am on Saturday 24 July at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland.
Speedshow organiser Keith Sharp says the quality and number of fantastically rare and special historic cars in New
Zealand shows yet another dimension to Kiwis’ love of all things motoring-related.
“We have already had some amazing classics at Speedshow in our first three years and again in 2010 we have several very
special cars on show. In particular, the 1925 Bugatti which has a phenomenal history with New Zealand’s Roycroft family.
Then there’s the Jaguar XJ220 sports car – the only one of its kind in New Zealand – and the utterly unique Sunbeam
which was restored by renowned historic car enthusiast Wallace McNair of Hamilton, which I’m told was conceived in the
spirit of the Sunbeam land speed record cars from post WWI,” says Sharp.
The Bugatti Type 35 was the most successful of Bugatti’s racing models, winning over 1,000 races and the 1926 Grand Prix
World Championship. The example at Speedshow this year also has an extraordinary heritage having been bought to New
Zealand in 1950 by Ron Roycroft, one of the foremost Kiwi drivers of the 1950s.
“Ron created a ‘Bugatti special’, so the story goes,” says Sharp. “He fitted a straight-six Jaguar engine to the
mechanically-worn Bugatti and raced it in events like the Dunedin street race and the New Zealand GP. Now son Terry owns
this wonderful car which has been refitted with its original two-litre, straight-eight Bugatti engine, and we’re
fortunate to have the opportunity to see it at Speedshow.”
Only a few Kiwi motoring fans would ever have seen the sole Jaguar XJ220 residing on our shores.
“A mid-engine sports car produced by Jaguar in collaboration with Tom Walkinshaw Racing as Jaguar Sport between 1992 and
1994, the XJ220 is not only the fastest but the widest car Jaguar has ever built at nearly seven feet wide,” relates
Sharp. The XJ200 held the record for the highest top speed of a production car (350 km/h, 217 mph) until the arrival of
the McLaren F1 in 1994. Just 281 XJ220s were made and although it shares the same name ‘XJ’, it is unrelated with the
other Jaguar XJ models.
The Sunbeam was created by McNair using original Sunbeam components to build up the car coupled with a rare 1917 Maori
V12 aircraft engine. Around 1000 of the engines were built for use in such aircraft as the Handley Page O/400
twin-engined bombers with their 30 m wingspan – the largest aircraft used by Britain during WWI. The 12-litre Maori
engine has a 60-degree V12 aluminium crankcase with four cylinder blocks of cast iron, non-detachable heads, 48 valves,
quad cam. Only three of these engines are known to exist today including this one in McNair’s Sunbeam, which uses a 1924
Sunbeam chassis. Since going on the road in 1999, the Sunbeam has been used for hill climbs and extensive touring in New
Zealand and Tasmania.
“Adding to this year’s noteworthy classic car line-up is New Zealand’s oldest Grand Prix car, a Darracq which competed
in the 1906 French Grand Prix, and a Lotus 18 Grand Prix car from 1960 with this fabulous example notable for giving Jim
Clark his first Grand Prix start in 1960. It was later imported into New Zealand and campaigned successfully by Jim
Palmer. There’s also a McLaren M8A CanAm car raced by the infamous Kiwi duo Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme,” says Sharp.
Fans of historic racing cars can also visit the publishers of the Historic Racing Drivers Magazine at Speedshow to find
out more about this increasingly popular motorsport sector.
“With activities inside and out, a wide range of exhibitors with all kinds of automotive and motorcycle products and
services, and literally millions of dollars with of cars and bikes to see, sit in and enjoy, this year’s Speedshow is
set to be the best yet,” says Sharp.
Speedshow is open from 9am to 6pm on Saturday 24 July and 9am to 5pm on Sunday 25 July. News and details are updated on
the Speedshow website on a regular basis; see www.speedshow.co.nz.