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The Cooper Car

The following history on this car was sent in by Dale Mather's.

This Mustang was a standard 2 barrel c-code coupe that was imported into NZ near new.

When I knew of the car in the mid 80's it was owned by Arthur Jamieson from Matamata. He drag raced the car at the Auckland Mustang Club meets, and at other drag race events though out the 1980's.

Around the late 1980's to early 90's the car was for sale in Colin Reed's car sales in Matamata and was then purchased by Rick Cooper, a Car Dealer from Taupo. Rick proceeded to turn it into a race car. It was fitted with a chrome-moly roll cage and had a very powerful engine built by Craig Pullman of Auckland. Most of the work was done on this car in Coopers own workshop in Taupo by Pat Westbury.

Cooper raced the car all over the country in the early 1990's, such as Baypark, Pukekohe, Taupo, even one off entry in the old Wellington Street race events. One off his most notable races was at the Hamilton Street Race where he finished 3rd behind two lightning direct Porshe's in the long distance enduro race.

Cooper was very hard on his car and was constantly blowing up engines.

In the mid 1990's the car was sold to Mark Ross also from Taupo. One of Mark Ross's first events in this car was at the closing meeting off Baypark Raceway, Mt Maunganui in 1995. He then proceeded to develop the mustang with a dry sump Tony Marsh engine, adding a rear wing and spoilers, better suspension, brakes, and slick tyres. He won the Super GT class several times and was always a top finisher at Taupo national meetings and set track records for the class several times.

During the later 1990's and early 2000's the car became more removed from it's original classic look, modified with fibreglass panels, plexi-glass windows, etc. Ross decided to sell the car in early 2002 and it was advertised in the NZ Autotrader magazine for $37,000, a bargain at this price. It was purchased by Richard Gatwick from Dannevirke.

Richard has added his personal touches and has raced at several Manfield club race meetings and recently at the Whittakers Classic, 16/17 November 2002.

Update: Richard Gatward won the GDM Group Central Muscle Cars series recently (2006).  There are some photos of it on  www.centralmusclecars.co.nz