Although it drives better on grass tracks his 1955 V8 race car is not being put out to pasture, car enthusiast Stewart Quertier says.
”I fire it up . . . when the car clubs visit,” Mr Quertier said.
The car, named Henry after Henry Ford, had a long history behind it.
It was built by Neil Stuart in Christchurch 65 years ago.
”It’s a Stuart Special.
”It’s not off the assembly line.”
It had cost Mr Quertier $700 to buy Henry from a second owner in 1970.
”It was absolutely buggered, everything was worn out.”
Henry had already won several competitions under both previous owners by this time.
This included four wins at the New Zealand Beach Championship during the 1960s.
The car had undergone extensive rebuilding before being raced again by Mr Quertier.
”I rebuilt the motor and the gearbox.
”I raced it all over the South Island.
”I was South Island Grass and Beach Track champion in 1972.”
Driving on sand was a challenge at the time, as he had never done it before.
Grass was his preferred surface.
”It’s heavy with the steering, it’s not a hard track car.”
He had several other racing victories behind the wheel too.
This included driving the car to its eighth Nelson Beach Tahunanui lap record in 1972.
The car could reach 127mph (204kmh), he said.
”It’s exciting when you’re young and bulletproof.”
He retired the car from racing in 1981.
His favourite thing about Henry was the motor, which he had rebuilt again in the 1980s.
”This is art,” he said.
Rebuilding had not stopped there.
Gore’s Brian Dwyer made the new alloy body by hand with a hammer and dolly and Jared Leebody had painted it before the car was taken out of retirement for a period.
”My son Mark took over the driving in 2005.”
The car would stay in the family, he said.