Rebuilding Mustang muscle
Mike Small has been motor racing since 1977. His latest venture sees him behind the wheel of a classic although he's taking things a bit slower.
It's a replica of a famous racing car.
A 1967 Ford Mustang Notchback - based on Ian "Pete" Geoghegan's 1967 Mustang GTA.
Geoghegan was an Australian motoring racing legend who won numerous titles in the Mustang during the 60s and 70s.
The idea to build the replica was born in Sydney four years ago when Mike Small saw the original car on display at the V8 Supercar round.
And with the help of dozens of people, the idea became a reality.
The original car is owned by the Wall family in Sydney.
Mr Small says the late Des Wall and his team were helpful in allowing him to photograph and measure the original car to ensure the replica was as close to the original as possible.
The engine - a Ford 302 Cl V8 - with an estimated 500 horsepower.
"When we were in Sydney in 2009 we found it; I was so taken by it I said we had to build one. My mate and me were serious about it," Mr Small says.
It has been on the track several times and Mr Small plans to get it running in a new class - Mainland Muscle Cars.
"Our first official race is at Ruapuna. I'm hoping to get a race at Levels in January. I just love Mustangs, particularly this one because of the look of it and the history it had in Australia."
Mr Small has been a member of the South Canterbury Car Club since 1975.
"I started racing in 1977 with a Mark 1 Ford Escort. Started with a 1600 CC and put a Mazda RX 7 rotary in it. It was just like a rocket in those days."
The car featured in sprint rallies all over the South Island.
Mr Small then moved to the pre-1965 class with a Valiant AP5 Straight 6.
"I moved on from there to endurance racing."
He then moved on to a 1972 HQ Holden 202 and won the Holden series at the New Zealand championships in 1992. Then came two sons and a daughter and a break from racing before the Mitsubishi Evolution.
"We used to run it in sports saloons. I sold the Evo and bought the Nissan Skyline GTR R32 Godzilla."
The Skyline is still parked in the garage.
Mr Small says racing is in his blood. "My father was in the car club, he used to do hill climbs."
An engineer by trade, he says he enjoys making things. "I love it. Words can't describe it. I just like driving cars fast."
However, he says he is very well behaved on the road.
And the the idea behind the Mustang is to take it out and drive at a reasonably safe pace and take it home each time without having to do much work on it, he says.
"It doesn't really matter where you finish, as long as you go out and enjoy it. The Mustang has taken us four years to complete."
SOUTH CANTERBURY HERALD