2015 - First showing for Tauranga hot rod at Speedshow

A Tauranga couple’s very recently completed orange and silver 1956 Chevrolet 210 hot rod will have his first everpublic showing at the CRC Speedshow, the country’s largest motorsport event, later this month.

2015 - A Tauranga couple’s very recently completed orange and silver 1956 Chevrolet 210 hot rod will have his first everpublic showing at the CRC Speedshow, the country’s largest motorsport event, later this month.

For Steve and Leanne Milne of Welcome Bay, the car is a testament to the contribution of many talented individuals from Tauranga, Rotorua and Napier and will feature with this country’s best hot rods on the 18th and 19th of July in the Teng Tools Grand National Rod & Custom Show, a feature of the CRC Speedshow this year.

The extravaganza will attract tens of thousands of fans, and the special celebration of all things ‘hot rod’, the Teng Tools Grand National Rod & Custom Show, offers a hand-picked selection of around 40 of New Zealand’s best hot rods and custom made motorbikes.

Milne says he’s been involved with cars for more than 20 years, and almost four years ago, decided to have a go at building a street car. 

The 46-year-old wryly admits, “After 14 years building and racing drag cars, we decided to have a change and build a street car. There goes years of our life and a really big hole in our bank account!”

“I’ve never entered a big show before but I decided that the level of care, cost and commitment that this car was created by, it would be justified exposure for those who turned it into what people can see now,” he says.

Milne’s own love of cars started with helping out a friend. When he was 17, he says a friend asked him to lend a hand chute packing [a parachute to slow down a car from high speed] at the end of the track at Meremere Dragway.

“After seeing drag cars coming straight at me, getting close to 200 mph, I was hooked.”

He’s mostly done drag racing, starting out with an entry level ‘top door slammer’, a 1969 Camaro shell with a highly modified chassis and a 427 cubic inch supercharged Chevy engine running on methanol.

The 1956 Chevrolet 210 going on show at CRC Speedshow was an original vehicle from the USA.  The car was bought sight unseen as a running project in brown primer paint on recommendation from friend, John Key of Trans America Shipping, Tauranga.

“John knew what I was looking for. He’d considered a couple of other cars, then remembered one he’d seen on an earlier trip to the USA. The owner was contacted and a deal was done, and then the vehicle was then shipped to New Zealand,” he says.

Creation of the car has been a total team effort. Jason Sellar of JS Engineering also in Tauranga did most of the engineering, making it a stand out vehicle which drives beautifully, Milne says.

Rotorua men, Bruce Ericksen built the 383 engine and Chuck Mann did the transmission with “both ensuring it could handle everything we could throw at it,” he says.

Milne and a group of mates from Bay Rodders bolted it all together. Finally, the chassis and running gear was painted in matching colours to the body by Joel Kamo of Air Art, Tauranga. Shawn Horwood of Action Canvas in Mt Maunganui turned several hides of leather and fabric into a stunning interior, says Milne.

A friend, Wayne Hirini from Napier, travelled many weekends to completely wire the car, while at the same time making his fine work invisible, so all his hard work goes unnoticed to the untrained eye.

Milne admits that the best parts of an entire building process is hanging out with good mates, working on the car and seeing everybody’s pride and satisfaction when it was fired up for the first time. Those who had contributed so much, witnessed the first turn of the key; a truly great moment, he says.

Milne is manager of Container Recyclers, is member of Bay Rodders and BOP Drag Racing Club, which is working towards building a drag strip in the Tauranga area.

Ross Prevette, managing director of CRC Speedshow says: “this car is a real testament to the people and businesses in Tauranga who build quality cars and motorcycles. Steve’s car is an incredible example of a top-quality car and we’re really excited to have it at the show.”

The ninth annual CRC Speedshow takes place at Auckland’s ASB Showgrounds over the weekend of 18 and 19 July 2015.  Tickets are available at the gate and from the show website www.speedshow.co.nz which has the latest news, competitions and show activities to entertain the whole family.