Jim Bennett, of Dunedin, talks to Shawn McAvinue about his half-scale replica Morgan three-wheeler toy car and supercharged Impulse racing car.
What is the toy car?
A half-scale replica Morgan three-wheeler car from the 1930s. I built it in a couple of months in the mid-1990s for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren – my oldest grandson Campbell was the first to drive it.
How is it powered?
It had a mobility scooter motor in the back of it. A chain drive on the back wheel was powered by two batteries. If you pushed the accelerator halfway, you got 12 volts of power, if you pushed it all the way you got 24 volts and a top speed of 8kmh.
Does it still go?
It broke after Campbell drove it in the rough at a golf course in Roxburgh and damaged the motor, and I haven’t got around to fixing it. I push it now when my great-grandchildren want a ride in it.
What’s on the front of it?
It is an imitation water-cooled V-twin Morgan engine. It was a challenge to build half-scale and to make it look right.
What did the seat and steering wheel come off?
I made them both.
Where are the front wheels salvaged from?
A golf trundler.
What’s the history of your racing car?
I built it and put a highly-modified 1965 supercharged 1000cc Hillman Imp engine in it. I’ve called it an Impulse because of its engine and I built it on impulse. It took me about a year to build and it was my project before the 3-wheeler.
How often do you race it?
During the latest season of vintage class racing – for cars up to the mid-1960s – I raced it at five meetings and it started and finished 18 races and only missed out on a top three placing in two of the races.
Where was the last race of the season?
At Levels [Timaru International Motor Raceway] in April. I entered three races and won them all.
Why is it so fast?
It’s light – about 400kg.
How fast can it travel?
About 170kmh – I ran it at the drags at Oamaru earlier in the year and it did a quarter-mile in 14.01 seconds.