Early History of the Taranaki Mustang Club
(The following article is reprinted from the 1st Taranaki Club Magazine, Oct 1979)
THE HISTORY OF THE TARANAKI MUSTANG CLUB
to Oct 1979
by Roger Swetnam
this, our first magazine, it would seem appropriate that an outline of the
history of the TMC, with events leading up to its initial formation and beyond,
would be of interest to all club members in NZ, and especially so since many new
members keep coming onto the scene.
from the outset I would like to mention that the writer and wife, Gwendoline,
are the longest serving Mustang Club members in NZ and consequently the only
ones left who know the full story from the start. Non TMC Mustanger’s reading
this will have to forgive us if we seem to be blowing our own trumpet - or
should I say - airhorns, but as the story develops, readers will appreciate that
history is history. It will cover just the main events and is compiled from my
files, records, photos and our memories.
Mustang Club Formed
10 Mustangs were galloping around Taranaki by the beginning of 1975. Although
strangers at first, each one got to know at least 3 or 4 others, either by
stopping on the road for a chat or calling on an owner out of the blue simply
because he drove a Mustang. Introductions ran from "Gidday! What have you
got under the lid?" to "That's a funny looking car you're
driving". As a result of these periodic chats, it emerged that Patrick
Schicker, Michael Walker and myself had each put forward at different times the
suggestion that we should get all our cars together for a gathering.
word went out and it was decided the gathering place would be at Peter &
Jocelyn Brouwers’ at 75 Carrington Street, New Plymouth on Sunday, April 27 at
12 noon. Three cars from North Taranaki met three South Taranaki cars opposite
the Farmers' Co-op in Devon St, and escorted them to the meeting place.
the record, these six cars and owners were as follows:
of these original cars are still present in the TMC: (Oct 79)
a result of this first rally, it was decided to meet again two weeks later at
the Corbetts' farm, This was on Sunday May 11th 1975, and a club was formed -
The Taranaki Mustang Club. I had the honour to be elected the first President,
with Michael Walker Secretary/Treasurer. The caption in the Daily News photo of
Monday May 12th was entitled:
“Expensive Line-up” and, “... the 1st Mustang Owners' Club in NZ. ...”.
brother Dennis had also joined the club and later bought a Boss 302.
New Zealand Mustang Club
it was decided that we look into the possibility of setting up a NZ Mustang
Club. With his connections with Graeme Jones of Garry Keith Motors of Hamilton,
Michael Walker arranged a meeting to be held in the Gentlemen's Club in
Stratford. Graeme Jones & Trevor Hartley attended, arriving in a Ford Falcon
351 GTHO. We decided to meet in Hamilton for a week-end, and formally set it up.
the meantime the Waikato Mustang Club was set up, with Graeme Jones President,
Trevor Hartley Secretary and Peter Williams Club Captain.
rounded up the Waikato Mustangs and the late Len Walker rounded up the Auckland
cars and we all converged on Hamilton on June 21st. 1975. The meeting was held
in the evening in a Hamilton hotel after a quick day-run to Bay Park Raceway for
some quarter-mile runs.
meeting resulted in the TMC President and Secretary holding the same positions
in the newly-formed NZMC. The membership fee was $10.00 and I hold the first
receipt, issued as the first financial member.
Len Walker was elected President of the new Auckland Mustang Owners Club. With a
view to incorporating the NZMC, three TMC members went to Palmerston North to
recruit new members on Saturday July 19th. In response to our earlier
advertisements, we met four local Mustang owners at noon in The Square, and also
two others - one a Shelby - who drove up the 100 miles from Wellington to meet
my solicitor, I then had the name "The New Zealand Mustang Club Inc."
formally cleared for registration under the Inc. Societies Act of 1908. However
the TMC did not complete this registration as unfortunately the NZMC did not
flourish and it was decided to hand it over to the more central Waikato Club to
put it on a firmer footing.
a further meeting - again In Hamilton - on the 27th Sept 1975, similar problems
eventuated and the NZMC was allowed to lapse. It was found more practicable to
have each area with its own autonomous club, but with inter-club exchanges of
activities, newsletters, information, drag-meets, etc.
of the big gatherings the TMC attended was the Easter Meeting at Bay Park
Raceway on April 18th. 1976. This was organised by Len Walker. Led by Leo
Leonard in the official start car - also a Mustang - 47 Mustangs did 2 circuits
of the track in front of a large crowd. As I understand it, this was the largest
assembly of Mustangs in the Southern Hemisphere up to that time.
day-trip the TMC did with the AMOC was to the Waitomo caves. This was on 15th.
memorable gathering was the Benson & Hedges 1000 Meeting at Pukekohe
Racetrack on Sunday 12th. Sept. 1976. From Taranaki, Dennis Goble, Royce
Schrider and yours truly attended. In all, 46 Mustangs, led by Paul Fahy, did 2
circuits of the track and were then lined up in order of model year, and created
a tremendous amount of interest.
did not make myself available for re-election at the 1st. AGM, and stood down.
Michael Walker was elected President and Anna Schicker Secretary. Anna resigned
shortly after. It was about this time that four TMO members sold their cars over
a short period, as a result of business ventures and other reasons. Interest was
allowed to wane and formal activities of the TMC ceased. The last formal
gathering, was (appropriately?) a Xmas wind-up on the 22nd Dec 1976
at the Tariki Hotel.
the TMO was now dormant but Gwenda and I still received regular newsletters from
the WMC and the AMOC. We attended a drag meeting on Meremere on 13th
March 1977 and we won a bracket for the (nonexistent) TMC. By this time Gwenda
& I considered ourselves the only TMC members left. I well recall taking a
Monday off and driving the 100 miles round Mt Egmont visiting old members in an
attempt to re-kindle interest.
November 1976 I'd met my good friend Senior Traffic Officer David Walter who ran
a yellow 1971 351 Cougar 4- speed very quickly. We had similar interests. In
association with Peter & Jocelyn Rich, Brian & Wendy Quinlan, Dennis
& Eva Goble, David & Maryellen Walter and others, we took the plunge and
invited the two northern clubs down for a Get-together on Queen's Birthday Week-
end on June 4/5/6 1977. It was a great success.
interest was generated to reform the TMC, and the 1st meeting took place at the
Walter's at 99 Ngamotu Rd. One week later on June 11th 1977,
Gwenda & myself were elected Secretary & President respectively,
with David Walter Club Captain. Twelve members attended and with new enthusiasm
the club flourished. Correspondence with clubs in Australia was started.
the 1st AGM (1st July 1978) of the re-constituted TMC, I had intended standing
down, but somehow I ended up getting arm-twisted into another term. Maryellen
Walter was elected Secretary. Shortly after, the Walters were transferred to
Wellington and Peter Rich was elected Secretary.
The 1978 year highlight was the combined clubs 2nd meeting in New Plymouth with the NZ Cadillac Club and car show. There was much publicity and we even made the TV. Our overseas contacts continued to grow under the able penmanship of Secretary Peter.