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Mathers / Hoffman Shelby Replica

The following history and photos were contributed by Dale Mathers.

This car was built by myself in my Coastline Automotive workshop in Tauranga.  This is the second Mustang racecar I have built from scratch and after building the first one I learned a lot which made this one just that much better.  

This car is a genuine A-code Fastback that I purchased from a person in Tawa near Wellington in August 1998. This person had purchased the car "sight unseen" from the USA, and the motor was seized.  I purchased it as it had an extremely good body shell and I didn't require the running gear. 

Once back in my workshop I spent almost the next year building this car from scratch.  I fitted it with 6-pot Grand National Wilwood front brake calipers, a full floating Nascar diff with 4-pot calipers, Total Control front suspension arms, Wilwood pedal box, Mitsubishi Sigma power steering box, Shelby steel framed fibreglass bonnet, fibreglass boot lid, end caps, front headlight surrounds.  It was fitted with a 350 hp 302 Windsor engine.  

Just about all of the construction work was done in my workshop with the help of Geoff and Kevin Nicholson of Tauranga and by Neil Hodgson now of Taupo.

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Neil Hogkinson

The body was prepared and painted by Roy Buckridge Panel and Paint and once back from him, I began the slow process to completely assemble the car. 

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Its first outing was at the Wairoa Road Bent Sprint run by the Tauranga Car Club at the end of July 1999. I had a few problems with the engine and had to remove and repair it to remedy the faults.  The car was then dynoed at Dave Mills Road & Track Performance, Pukekohe where it made 245 hp at the rear wheels. 

Hoff02.jpg (88529 bytes) Hoff04.jpg (85627 bytes) car and trailer.jpg (158615 bytes)  

The next outing, which was its first on an actual race track, was at the Corvette Car Club meeting at Taupo in August 1999.  Being just a club day this allowed me to test and set the car up correctly for track use.  My next outing and its first competition race meeting was a TACCOC race meeting early October 1999 where I won my very first race that I competitively entered in!!  

The next outing for the car was the October Labour Weekend National Race Meeting at Taupo 1999 where I qualified the car on poll and won the next three races in a row. Then on the Sunday in a reverse grid handicap race starting from last place on the grid out of about 22 cars I came third.  

The next meeting and unbeknown to me my final race meeting in this car, was the Whittakers Classic at Manfeild 1999.  It was one of those meetings where you got "4 seasons in 1 day" but racing the car fitted with RA1 Toyos made little difference between my wet and dry times. 

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In my very first race, starting from last on the grid, and also my first-ever race on the Manfeild track, I came through and won by passing the second-placed car on the last corner. The next day in the Lighting Direct Challenge Race which was 8 laps on the longer 4.5km track, I started 27th on the grid out of 57 cars. Unbeknown to me while in this race, my other competitors were either breaking down, or falling off the track and I came in third, much to the pleasure of the crowd!

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Little did I know that in the crowd, I was being watched by one PHILIP HOFFMAN, who immediately came over to me after the race and purchased the car from me even though I did not have it for sale. He paid what was, at the time, top dollar for a Classic Mustang Racecar and amazed those standing around. 

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Since then I have become good friends with Philip Hoffman and he has gone on to race this car with very much success. He has now fitted a larger engine with 4 IDA webber carburettors - but other than that, the car still stands today as he purchased it off me.

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Probably his most notable race was "crashing" it on live TV at the 2002 V8 Supercar Meeting at Pukekohe.  Philip was the innocent victim of a hit from another car, but the Mustang is now fully repaired. 

Hoffman dinged.JPG (43856 bytes)        The other car.JPG (56209 bytes)
Hit and damaged at Pukekohe            and             The "other" car