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Motoring legend dies

JENNY LING
Last updated 05:00 10/01/2014
Segedin

PROUD FAMILY: Stefan, Frana and Ivan Jr with their father’s prized 1939 Chevrolet and numerous trophies.

Segedin
MOTOTRING MUSTANG: Ivan Segedin racing his famed Fleetwood Ford Mustang at Renwick, Blenheim, in 1965.

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Ivan Segedin was one of the country's most respected and well-known race car drivers of his time, and a gentleman both on and off the race-track.

He was as famous for his modest Mt Eden auto shop Segedins Auto Spares as he was for his successful driving career in the late 50s to early 70s, which involved racing the legendary 1965 Fleetwood Ford Mustang - the first Mustang to race in New Zealand.

He died on December 30 aged 75, and his funeral was held on January 4 at St Patrick's Cathedral on Wyndham St.

His three children - Ivan Segedin Jr, Frana Becker and Stefan Segedin - say their dad was a true gentleman with old-school values.

"He took everyone on their word or a handshake," Stefan says. "People were brought up differently in those days. Everyone was very honest."

"He had old school values that you don't see any more," Frana says. "He trusted everyone."

Mr Segedin was born in Cambridge in 1938 and became passionate about cars through his father.

"His dad used to drive a truck and all he wanted was to be with his dad," Frana says.

"The teacher said, ‘there's no point you being here because all you do is stare out the window looking for your dad's truck'."

Ivan began racing cars in his early 20s, driving Ford Zephyrs and Anglias at his hometown tracks in Hamilton and Levin.

His successes earned him "boxes of trophies" and took him all over New Zealand and Australia.

He "blitzed" his competition in the Touring Cars Over 1600cc race around Napier streets in 1961, and in 1966 won the group 2 Saloon Cars championship at Wigram, Christchurch.

In 1965 he brought a Ford Mustang from the US to New Zealand.

Known as the "Segedin Mustang", the rowdy V8 was sponsored by Fleetwood Motors and became a crowd favourite.

Website New Zealand Historic Muscle Cars says the car "marked the arrival of muscle cars in New Zealand motor racing, and should be considered one of the most significant cars in New Zealand motorsport history".

Because of the dangerous nature of car racing, Mr Segedin stopped racing when he had children.

He moved to Auckland in 1971, and initially ran a petrol station on Dominion Rd, then opened Segedins Auto Spares next door a few years later.

"He loved cars, but he got to the point where he thought, ‘what else can you do?'," Stefan says. "He got to continue that passion with his work . . . he loved it."

"People used to come to Segedins to talk to Dad and talk about their passions," Frana says. "That place has become a bit of an establishment for car enthusiasts."

Segedins Auto Spares director Shane Johnson worked with Mr Segedin, a Herne Bay resident, for 35 years. He was devastated to lose his boss.

"He was like a father to me," Mr Johnson says. "He treated everybody, whether it was a taxi driver or a trillionaire, the same - with respect."

Long-term customer and friend Ken Caurt frequented Segedins for 30 years.

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"He was a very upmarket man," Mr Caurt says. "He was a nice gentleman, kind and helpful."

- Central Leader

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