Buckler Cars were imported by Arthur Harris during the 1950’s. Some Chassis were built under licence . For more info please read Kelvin Brown’s great book

The famous Phil Kerr was actually company secretary of Bucklers (N.Z.) Ltd. Also of interest is that Buckler Cars H.Q., in England, made the first handful of Brabham chassis. for more info click herehttp://www.grandprix.com/gpe/cref-11902.html

 
Most of these cars still survive to this day and most are still being driven by their present owners.
These cars owe their existence to the enthusiastic trustees of this small piece of motoring history.


 

I have the Mk 6 Buckler in the NZ photos number 8.

It was the original one to come to NZ ,

It was the NZ Buckler works car of Arthur Harris with a number of drivers and then PHIL KERR of McLaren fame , then Jim Boyd and Jim Palmer two of New Zealand’s old racing entities .It was lost for years then are appeared thanks to Bruce Sutcliffe ( Mr Buckler NZ ) sat with a couple of people a few more years until I managed to get my hands on it a few years ago. Its been completely rebuilt and its as close to the 1953 build as possible ( I had Bruce Sutcliffe and Phil Kerr looking over my shoulder) . I am so fortunate to have acquired from a number of sources a wonderful collections photos , some every step of the original build others action shots of it in anger.

Its competition history of recent times has been limited due to my structural limitations ( spinal surgery) not its reliability. A couple of hill climbs and a few bent sprints as well as a few rapid country side escapades .

Tony Lowe. Dec 04

 

 


A history of Sports Cars by G.N.Georgano page 222

 


DD1 climax 1100 Built 1956 this pic taken Nov 1977 driver Bruce Sutcliffe


The DD type Bucklers were introduced after the Buckler 90’s success. The DD1 was a new space frame using a Coventry Climax engine and Aston Martin gearbox. The De Dion rear axle was specially designed to fit the new chassis. Unfortunately the engine and gearbox mated with the DeDion rear made the car rather expensive. Only one is known to exist at the moment. This is the famous car pictured. After a successful time spent in England the DD1 was shipped to New Zealand and raced very successfully, by drivers such as Ivy Stevenson. The car has been rebodied with a De Joux Mk1 type. 

It has been restored to a very high standard by Bruce Sutcliffe and still gets great results in classic racing.

Meanwhile back in Blighty… Due to the success of the new chassis, a further development of this idea was put into action, realising that the Climax option was out of the financial reach of the average customer The DD2 was designed, the customer chose the type of engine/ transmission that they would like and the frame would be modified to suit in the factory. 

The car would accept most of the new fibre glass bodies but Bucklers were the agents for the Microplas Mistral body. This was a very popular body in the UK but in New Zealand the De Joux body was used.
This beautifully shaped body was fitted to most of the Kiwi Bucklers.

Buckler Mk. XVII
 


Peter White’s Buckler in 2003 during it’s first race for many years

This car has been restored to a very high standard by Peter White. 

Extracts of emails from the owner, Peter White

I am nearing the end of restoring what was a Mk XV11 Buckler Chassis #X90974). Previous owners had started the restoration with the quality varying. I have started again from scratch with the restoration now near completion. About 1975, I believe, the vehicle was shortened by about 8 to 9 inches the existing front end was replaced by a DD2 front end fabricated by Dewar Thomas ( Bruce Mclarens chassis builder) with Bruce Sutcliffe’s help. The geometry appears to be very accurate. The original Ashley body was damaged and a locally made de Joux DD2 body was to be fitted but up until I bought the car had not been. I am interested in the DD2 rear axle you have for sale as I am building the car up primarily for classic motor racing. The vehicle is running tuned 1600cc Sunbeam Rapier motor and Rapier transmission/rear axle.



Subject: RE: Buckler Mk. XVII
Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2001 17:08:41 -0700

Malcolm. Kelvin Brown’s book “The Kiwi Connection; Buckler Sports Cars And Their Competition ….etc” probably has as much history as I know … although some detail isn’t quite as I understand it.

In brief the car is a Mark 17 the local motorsport log book has it as built in 1959 although the first owner was listed as D McDonald in 1958. It was originally a 2 plus 2 seater with an Ashley body on it.
I understand that it was built by an RAF engineer together with his apprentices in the UK, as a road car with MGA front suspension and motor. The owner immigrated to NZ. The car was in an accident in NZ … Bruce Sutcliffe found it in a sad state some years later and bought it off the Taxi Driver owner approx 20 years ago.. Dewar Thomas ( who built chassis’s
for Bruce Mclaren) shorten the car by about 200 mm and replaced the MGA suspension with DD2 front suspension. This was done on a DD2 jig that Bruce had access to… I have measured the front steering/suspension geometry it
it seems pretty good. . I am not sure whether Bruce owned the car at this stage or a later owner… Richard Anderson.. but I have pictures of these alterations being made to the chassis with Bruce in the photographs.

The Ashley body was removed and replaced with a locally made de Joux body which many local DD2’s have although this was never mounted on the car.

The car passed through several hands after Bruce, including Richard Anderson who installed a Sunbeam Rapier drive train. It was then on sold to Ian Hallet in Auckland and then Colin Barnett of Geraldine.

I bought the car off Colin late in 1999 as a rolling chassis with the body shell sitting on it. Because the vehicle had sat for so long being “rebuilt” virtually everything needed revisiting + some of the workmanship was not to my standard. The front suspension was in good order except I had to play around with shockie mounts and fabricate an anti-sway bar. I rebuilt the rear suspension with new coil-over-shockies, trailing arms and panhard rod all now rose jointed). I rebuilt/renewed, the brakes system, the motor and gearbox, and ancillaries including profiling the head to Holbay specs and rebuilding /rejetting the Webber carbs/ altering the inlet manifold and designing building an exhaust system that hopefully will add horse power. I have fabricated aluminium bulkheads, inner guards, inner body work, dashboard and seats etc and I am in the process of bonding the body to the aluminium sub-structure. Aside from that…. the vehicle needs wiring and painting. As I believe I said in an earlier e-mail I have been distracted by building up a Peugeot 205 Gti as a rally car for the Targa NZ later this year… but I am now managing to get a little more time on the Buckler. Hope
to have the Buckler racing in historical events this Summer.

Regards

Peter White

GHT 866 DD2
                          

This car had an interesting history. It was photographed for a number of Buckler advertisements and also used by the Mistral company for advertising purposes

was imported from the UK some time in the 90’s.

It is owned by Grant Bowring in New Zealand

Letter from Malcolm Buckler

Enclosed are photos of the first Buckler I ever owned. The one that broke my toe before I drove it….remember?

Built by Twemlow at Fodens in very de luxe trim with 1172 engine and normal live axle. When the son had got his test they decided to convert it for motor sport. The rear was converted to De Dion and the engine converted to a Climax 1100. Twin tanks were fitted, one for methanol mixture and wire wheels were fitted and later, an aero screen. The car was raced and hillclimbed.

I bought it blind . The previous owner had “thrown away” the clapped out Coventry Climax. Cut off the entire front of the chassis and grafted on a heavy ladder chassis front with Healey 3000 suspension and steering and fitted a Jag 3.4 engine (also clapped out I was to find). However he was an engineering graduate and apart from the weight it handled VERY well indeed. The De Dion and the weight of the engine must have been a major factor.

I put a BMC 1500 in it because I could not afford to have the Jag sorted and got Carole’s father (ex Works Crowthorne ) to convert the front back to a space frame. There was difficulty keeping it under cover as I had no garage and after having done a tremendous amount of work on it, I was persuaded to sell it locally. That chap left it in a field for all my work to rust away but then sold her, blind to NZ.

Around that time I bought PMO528, which was shipped to the island in a container for a bottle of gin.

I built a garage and bought the Backbone and the rest is history…

You had better put these pics and this text into the existing file GHT.

Malc.

The TOE

Briefly. Went to Stafford to collect car. Should have been ready but on arrival found it in a local garage in the middle of MOT test. They had gone for lunch leaving the Buckler up on a lift. I had not seen any Buckler since I was a kid let alone the one I had bought.

The office girl left the phone and came and pushed the down button for the electric car lift then returned to her office. As the car reached the ground, I lent over it to see the cockpit and soon found my foot trapped between the concrete floor and the lift, which was still slowly winching itself down (they are supposed to stop with 4 inches ground clearance).

My shouts brought the girl back but instead of stopping the lift she ‘helpfully’ said “try pulling”. Finally she pressed the off button, which was on the far side of the lift. By that time one of my toes was almost chopped off and another broken.

The garage also did Taxi hire but we got a driver who slowed down 100 yards before every set of traffic lights, waiting for them to go red. Finally I arrived at Accident Dept of Royal Staffs Infirmary. They said with a chopped off toe I would have to wait but if it was a chopped off leg they could get me quicker service! I feel bad now just remembering how toe nails were cut and pulled out from my toes with no anaesthetic whatsoever but by a really nice nurse, who had no other options available to her.

Nature supplied some natural numbness, thank God, but that night was the most painful time of my life and a double dose of the painkillers supplied had no effect at all and a doc had to be called to get me something stronger. By then I was in plaster with crutches.

My pal Joe saved the day by driving the DD2 up the motorway to the ferry at Liverpool. He said it had no brakes at all. At the other side Joe Frances helped out. He was World Speedway Champion before the war. I told him “It has no brakes at all and drive it very very slowly”. We followed him round a couple of bends. Next thing was smoke from the tyres and he shot away like I have never seen, no way could we keep up or even see where the car had gone.

Yes I could have sued the garage and their installation would have been condemned also, but then I would have not got my illegal but most essential M.O.T. certificate and the Buckler, at that time, came before all else in my life, maybe even life itself. Totally crazy and I am reminded every time I put my socks on. Cutting my big toe nail now, means a trip to the garage and a major engineering job with hacksaw, files and emery paper. I even tried an angle grinder once but it was too painful.

Hope you enjoyed my “brief account”…..file under GHT