Gassers return to Meremere for the Nostelgia Drags
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The excitement of Wild Bunch racing is returning to the drag strip.
One of quarter-mile racing’s most popular and spectacular categories is the feature attraction at the Bethlehem Coachlines Nostalgia Drags at Meremere Dragway tomorrow.
The annual Bay Rodders Inc. Nostalgia Drags has a different theme each year and recent events have celebrated Fuel Altereds, Gassers, Front Engine Dragsters and Nitro Funny Car match racing.
Wild Bunch cars including the `64 Ford Falcon XM Coupe of Te Awamutu's Bobby Owens are the feature attraction at the 2019 Nostalgia Drags. PHOTO / COLIN SMITH
This year it’s the turn of the Wild Bunch — the sedan and coupe "door cars’’ that were drag racing’s big 1990s attraction with supercharged V8 engines and unpredictable performance.
The original steel body Wild Bunch cars were the forerunners of modern era Top Doorslammer racers which have evolved into full tube-frame chassis race cars with lightweight composite body panels.
The Bay Rodders has assembled a field of 8-10 cars for the Auto Checker Wild Bunch Challenge including several iconic Kiwi racers.
The ‘64 XM Falcon Coupe of Te Awamutu’s Bobby Owens will be back on track for the first time in three years and the Tynan family returns with David Tyan racing the `65 Chev Impala formerly raced by Trevor Tynan.
Edgecumbe’s Tom Richardson has rebuilt his `57 Chev and Tauranga’s Mike Reid will be out in one of New Zealand’s best-known Wild Bunch machines, the `55 Chev campaigned for many years by Chris Tynan.
The field is also boosted by several currently active cars that fit the Wild Bunch theme including Michael Franklin’s `66 Pontiac GTO and the `41 Willys Coupe of Palmerston North’s Mark Gapp.
Other Nostalgia Drags attractions include nitro match racing between Invercargill funny car racer Karl Boniface (‘76 Chevrolet Vega) and the `34 Ford Coupe Fuel Altered of Te Puke’s Dave Gauld.
The programme also features the annual Front Engine Dragster Challenge, Pre-72 American Muscle Cars and Pre-48 Hot Rod classes along with a Flat Head V8 and Four Banger categories.
The class which featured at last year’s Nostalgia Drags was the Gassers. Inspired by the success of that event racing enthusiasts have formed the New Zealand Vintage Gas Association and have raced regularly this summer. The recent Vintage Gas Reunion at Tokoroa saw a 16-car field in action and a strong Gasser turnout is expected at Meremere tomorrow.
On Sunday the action continues with the NZ Hot Rod Magazine Club Champs, a long-established interclub drag racing challenge for street legal hot rods and street machines.