Round 30: Featuring the stars of New Zealand: Garth
Hogan and Grahame Berry's Capri, Guy Lim's Komotion Capri, Maurice Hipperson's
Shady Lady II Capri, Max Baker's Maverick, Brett Wilson's Cobra II Capri/Mustang II, the Phillips & Lumb
Panic Mustang, Gene Beaver's LA Hooker Mustang II, and Chris Lane's Phoenix Camaro
(both on tour from America).
Garth Hogan is no doubt the best known racer in New Zealand history. He broke
many barriers in New Zealand such as the 200 M.P.H. barrier, and the seven and
five-second barriers. In the 1970s Hogan and his partner Grahame Berry built the
first AA/FC in New Zealand. Berry built the chassis based on a Revell model. The
Capri body was also made by the duo. They raced the car in Top Eliminator
against dragsters and altereds.
Hogan and Berry raced a 392 Chrysler at first and later a 426 Chrysler in
the Capri. Best times on the slick New Zealand tracks were a 7.18 at 200
with the 426 Chrysler. The Capri was raced through the ‘79 season. Hogan
said the small 990 Enderle fuel pump held performances back.
A newer chassis was built in 1980 with the Condit Bros. Arrow body and a
Donovan Hemi. Later in the decade, Hogan broke into the fives in Bill
Carter's last dragster. Hogan now runs Pioneer Aero, a company that
restores vintage airplanes. (Photo and info courtesy of Alan Ashton
Photography; additional info courtesy of Garth Hogan)
is famous in New Zealand drag racing history. Lim raced the first
true funny car in New Zealand. The "Komotion" Capri featured a Ford
engine for power with carbs on top. It raced in the Comp altered classes.
New Zealand did not have any classes for funny cars at that time. In 1979,
Lim teamed with Roger Murray to run the "Half Breed" Capri funny
car. Roger Murray had New Zealand's fastest T- Bucket prior to this
car. The car was said to have a Boss 429 Hemi for power. The team ran the
Capri as a BB/FC on alcohol in Top Eliminator. Guy Lim was the driver and
Murray tuned. The "Half Breed" funny car only raced for one season
in 1979. (Photo and info from Alan Ashton Photography)
Maurice Hipperson was the owner and driver of the
"Shady Lady II"
Capri funny car. The self-sponsored Hipperson ran an injected Chrysler
Hemi in the Capri. The "Shady Lady II" was classified as a BB/FC. The
car usually ran on gas or alcohol, but was said to run a nitro "load"
every once in a while. The car on nitro was still at a disadvantage
because of weight issues. It was not able to compete against the lighter
dragsters or more powerful funny cars. Hipperson raced this car into the
early eighties. (Photo and info courtesy of Alan Ashton Photography)
The late Max Baker was New Zealand's teenage phenom in the 1970s. The
young racer was only 19 when he won the 1973 New Zealand Nationals in Top
Eliminator. The win came in this 1970 Maverick funny car. The car was the
first funny car to be imported from the United States. Spencer Black
imported the car. The Maverick featured a big block Chevy on alcohol for
power. This was enough power for the slick New Zealand tracks for most of
the seventies. The Paton & Black Maverick raced until the end of the
decade. (Photo and info courtesy of Alan Ashton Photography: additional
info courtesy of Garth Hogan)
Brett Wilson joined the nitro funny car ranks in 1979 with the
II," a Capri bodied car reconfigured to look like a Mustang II.
Wilson bought the car from Garth Hogan. Wilson was such a Ford fanatic he
used the permanent number 428. But Brett chose a Chrysler Hemi to power
the "Cobra II" instead of a Ford. Wilson's funny car career was
marked by frequent breakage. A new "Cobra III" Mustang (later renamed
the "Sprit of New Zealand") was built to replace the Capri in 1981.
Wilson was the first to break into sixes with a funny car in New Zealand.
(Photo and info courtesy of Alan Ashton Photography; additional info from
The Australian team of Phillips & Lumb brought the
to New Zealand in the 1970s. "Nitro" Nick Harmon had raced the Mustang
in the United States as the "California Shaker." Harmon sold the car
to Graeme Cowin; it was Cowin's first funny car. Graeme sold the car to
Bruce Phillips and John Lumb. It was reported that Lumb did a few burnouts
in New Zealand without making any full passes. (Photo and info from Alan
The "LA Hooker" and the
"Phoenix" were the first American funny
cars to visit New Zealand. Jim White drove the "LA Hooker" of Gene
Beaver. Chris Lane drove the Joe Pierce tuned "Phoenix." The pair
raced in Australia and at Champion Dragway in New Zealand. The high
powered American cars had trouble hooking up on the track. Note the lack
of concrete and build up of rubber. (Photo & info from Alan Ashton)
The "Phoenix" Camaro traveled far and wide. Chris Lane raced the car
in United States, Australia, and New Zealand. The car was sold to
Australian racer Bob Dunn after Lane's tour. Dunn got the car into the
sixes. The car passed through several hands over the next twenty years.
Les Ireland bought the car and brought it back to New Zealand. Ireland has
repainted the car to its original "Phoenix" colors. (Photo & info
courtesy of Alan Ashton)
Gene Beaver owned the LA Hooker Mustang II. Beaver had split with his
cousins the Condit Bros. at this time. He used several people to drive
during this time. Jim White of Tulsa, Oklahoma was the driver for one tour
of Australia and New Zealand. In early 1978, Dale Pulde drove the car --
the ex Shady Glenn machine -- on tour in Australia and New Zealand.
Dale ran the first six second runs in Australia, three 6.50s, and ran
some 6.60s in New Zealand. The car was sold in to an Australian
racer and became the "Syndicate." (Photo & info courtesy of Alan
Ashton and Dale Pulde)
Danny White, Alan
Ashton, and Garth Hogan
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