While you probably haven’t heard of the Hulme CanAm supercar, you should have heard of the New Zealand born car racer legend Denis (Denny) Hulme.
You’re looking at the first and only Formula One World Champion from New Zealand, who in his day wasn’t the sort of guy who wanted behind you, in a car race.
Denny Hulme was one tough customer. The son of World War Two VC winner Alfred Clive Hulme, Denny did not have an easy start in his quest to win the Formula One World Championship.
After driving trucks for his father’s carting company, he was able to buy a used Formula 2 Cooper Climax, which was still highly competitive in his home country of New Zealand.
He and his closest rival, promising driver George Lawton impressed racing officials enough to be sent to Europe on a sponsorship program, which had also been responsible for sending Bruce McLaren to England.
Tragically, the fast charging 21-year old Lawton was killed in a Grand Prix race in Denmark in 1960, when he lost control through some S-bends and the car flipped. He died in Denny’s arms on the side of the Roskilde Ring.
In 1961 he drove at Le Mans for the Abarth team, which lead to an invite by Ken Tyrell to drive for his Formula 2 team, where he had some impressive wins.
But Hulme would soon be back working for Brabham, but this time, not as a mechanic but as the number two-driver behind Jack Brabham himself. He and Brabham dominated the championship, between them, winning almost every race that season.
He made his Formula One debut at Monaco in 1965 and scored his first championship points at the dangerous Charade Circuit (aka Clermont Ferrand) in France, with a fourth place finish.
By 1966, Hulme has started to shine as a driver. He scored a third place at Reims in France, a second at Brands Hatch behind Brabham and the fastest lap at the Zandvoort circuit in the Netherlands.
But 1967 was to be Hulme’s year, and despite some aggressive driving from the likes of Jim Clark in the Lotus 49 and Graham Hill, Hulme took out the championship with wins at Monte Carlo and the Nurburgring and a string of podium finishes.
He also had success in the CanAm Series, and in his second season, placed second in the championship behind Bruce McLaren.
Hulme would go to on and win the CanAm Series in 1968 and again in 1970, after Bruce McLaren died at Goodwood testing the team’s new M8D car.
After a period of restless retirement, Denny Hulme came back into racing, and in particular, one of his favourite events, the Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama, in Australia.
While racing a semi works backed BMW M3 in the 1992 race, Hulme suffered a massive heart attack while driving at close to 230km/h down Con Rod straight and yet miraculously, guided the car off the track and out of harms way, to rest it against the Armco in a relatively safe spot.
So it is entirely fitting that this New Zealand born racing legend has lent his name to world’s latest supercar, the ‘Hulme CanAm’.
Powered by a massive 7-litre V8, which produces a ferocious 600 HP (447kW) and 600 Nm, this 980-kilogram mid-engine roadster will most likely have no trouble finding all of just 20 keen buyers.
That’s correct, Auckland based Hulme Supercars, will build just 20 examples of this stunning car, which doubles as an exotic roadster and track day weapon.
Each car will be built to specific customer order, but only after a £10,000 (against £295,000) deposit is paid (fully refundable if the option to buy is not converted into an order) and your ‘private viewing and driving experience of the car at or before the 2011 Goodwood Festival of Speed”.
Those quick enough and lucky enough to proceed with the purchase are said to be in for an “experience as unique as the Hulme CanAm itself. Having determined the specification of their car, Hulme customers will enjoy two ‘Air New Zealand Business Premiere (fully flat bed) return tickets to New Zealand, with one week luxury accommodation, for their final fitting in the car and further road and circuit driving, before the car is shipped to their final destination.”
All cars will be numbered and owners will receive a certificate of authenticity along with a 1/8th scale detailed replica of their car with the same livery as the road going version.
It’s enough to make me want to rapidly downsize and place an order, and that’s without first taking a drive in the car on track.
More on the Hulme CanAm in due course, and the best of luck to Jock Freemantle and his team at Hulme Supercars with the order book. Great to hear that Greeta Hulme is delighted with your efforts.