The New Zealand motorsport community mourn the death of Clyde Herbert Frederick Collins who passed away at his home in Akaroa earlier this week.
Collins was a legendary figure not only in the Canterbury motorsport community but also well known throughout New Zealand.
His early years were the most formative full of passion, drive and determination that resulted in a life both on and around the track.
In 1956, while in the fifth form (Year 11) at St Andrew’s College, Christchurch, he built a quarter midget and eventually left school to take on an apprenticeship with Franklyn and Airey, a local panel beater.
Several go-karts were eventually built and he became a South Island grass track champion while still in his teens.
While having spent many years at the Aranui Speedway, he eventually turned his attention to circuit racing and in the early days of the Ruapuna racetrack (now the Mike Pero Motorsport Park), built a Morris Minor with a ‘hot’ engine. It was the remnants of two damaged cars that became known as the Mowog.
Next came the 1966 Fowog, another Morris Minor but this time with a more reliable Ford Cortina engine.
The Fordina, an A40 Farina with a hot 1700 Cortina engine appeared for the 1967 season. A replica was to be built much later in Collin’s life which is still raced today.
This lead to several more cars being built that competed throughout both the North and South Island’s in the All-comers class of which the South Island OSCA (Open Saloon Car Association) grew out of.
His Ford Cortina 5.0 litre V8 was to win the 1974 OSCA title before both business and family interests and priorities took over.
This didn’t stop his continuing involvement with a number of Canterbury motorsport identities, particularly Avon Hyde and the likes of Grant Sylvester, Peter Sturgeon, Peter Knight, son Adam Collins and grandson Tomas Collins in OSCA, Trans-Am, the Wellington Street Race and truck racing.
Collins’ funeral service will take place on Monday afternoon 4 July, in Christchurch.
Words: Benjamin Carrell