Sunday, August 18, 2013

R.I.P Colin "Shady" Lane.








We lost a real character from the Hot Rod and drag racing community recently. Colin “Shady” Lane was a regular at the Blowout and Nostalgia drags and the big part of the scene for more than half a century. Last time I spoke to him was at the nostalgia drags a few years ago and after chatting for a few minutes he casually enquired if I might be leaving the track anytime soon and if so could I pick him up a bottle of bourbon!

I snapped these shots of Shady leaving the Blowout a few years ago, manoeuvring his unmistakable Y block powered "Tom Slick” drag car out of the joint. Shady will certainly be missed. A couple of years back he kindly sent us a short history of the Port Rd Drags which we never got round to printing. I think he originally wrote this for the Lower Hut Rod Club and it may have been printed elsewhere since but regardless, it’s a great piece of history. Check it out.

Although it’s over 40 years since the first Port Rd Drags, the story really starts back in 1962. A group of us Hot Rodders that worked at Todd Motors formed the first Hot Rod Club in Wellington called the Charioteers. Meetings were held at Beachcombers Coffee Bar in Oriental Bay with the18 members. We had no funds and no way of getting road closure for Drag meets; such things were frowned upon by the general public. I wanted to do more with my Coupe, so joined the Hutt Valley Motoring Club. They ran flying ¼ & standing ¼ mile racing at Battersea Rd & Temarie Rd in the Waiarapa and had no trouble getting road closure. They also held sprints & racing at Levin race track. The HVMC had 550 members at the time.

In 1966 HVMC decided to run a paired sprint at Port Rd, Seaview – just like they did in the States, but really a Drag race. I heard about it 3 weeks before the event, so decided to build a sort of Dragster. The Evening Post 26/03/66 had a picture of the car from the first Port Rd drags. Help was supplied on the day by the late Keith Whiting, a Charioteer member, and Alan Hare an early Rodder.

The HVMC decided after the first event that it was too hard to run the event by themselves so in late 1966 the Wellington Hot Rod Club was formed with the help of Alan Larson of Auckland & also D.R.Britton of Valvoline fame. In 1967 the Wellington Hot Rod Club supplied bails of hay to go down the centre of the track to separate the cars. Many Hot Rods ran that day, Keith Whitings 34 Hilborn Injected Ford Coupe, Alan Hares 34 Ford Coupe, Graeme Sutherlands 34 Coupe, Dave Chungs Pink Panther Roadster, Alex Wilsons 283 Chev powered 100E, a Bristol powered Vauxhall Victor and a Jag powered Stuebaker

So with many Hot Rodders past and present helping, Port Rd as we know it was born and then the tradition was handed on to Cam County
.”

aaron@onepercentmag.com

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