i learnt quite a bit about Wizard Smith because ninety mile beach is my spiritual home (grandfathers grandfather is buried on the top of the mountain at Ahipara) and when i lived in Doubtless bay at mangonui ,one of my Customers was Former Wheels Editor Steve Simpson . Steve had retired to live the 'good life ' in New Zealand's Oruru Valley in the far north back in the 70's .
Steve had met Wizard Smith in Sydney in 1958 and commissioned renowned motoring journalist Pedr Davis to write a two part history of Smith, (Wheels, March and April 1958) .
What Steve and Davis noted,and Alan Gibbons ,another wheels writer who Steve sent to interview Smith, was that Wizard Smith was very reluctant to discuss any part of the Adventures in New Zealand.
So when he retired to live in NZ and suffering fqailing eye sight,Steve Decide the time was right to find people who may have known Wizard Smith and had first hand knowledge of the attempts ( two different cars at two different times) . The Up shot was, Steve Discovered thast there is a love of history in NZ and that the locals were only too happy to show him where the car was based and many photos etc were discovered ( I found a previously unknown pic [press photo] on Ebay a couple of years ago in the US, the seller had o idea what so ever of the subject..LOL) .
With his obvious skills and new found knowledge Steve Wrote a very good book on Smith ," the real Story of Wizard Smith "
by Steve Simpson, published by Murray book distributors, Oct 1977 ISBN 85566 356 1
I have my first copy still , but i have seen copies on Amazon though.
it fills in a lot of the Speed trials in Australia ,not only Wizards attempts in New Zealand.
I must say though,that having driven on Ninety Beach a lot back when i lived in NZ ,it's a dangerous place to Drive and totally unsuited for speeds above 60KMH. Wet spots appear in odd places and more than a few people have been killed on motorbikes when they hit these invisible quicksand patches at speed.
There is also a tank under the sand close to Where Smiths base was,a WW2 army tank which was lost when doing some exercises during the war.
In the 1930's there was car club which ran races from Mangonui to Ninety mile beach ,a short drive today but back then it was real adventure . The race cars were mostly model T Ford Chassis, AKA 'Speedsters' .
i am not sure if Steve is still with us, I last spoke with him 32 years ago...
But ,if Don gets a copy of the book,he will recognise a lot of the places in the book ,mainly because things never changed much in the north for decades.