On a roll with Royce

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By LINDSAY KERR

For three years, Rangiora’s Royce Bayer submerged himself in a time trap, toiling for countless hours in his garage.

When it came to an end recently, he opened the doors to let the sun into his garage, revealing something reminiscent of a much older era.

In a ceremony that would be a match for even the most exotic and modern car launch, Royce, in front of family and invited friends, pulled the covers off a very special creation – his own hand-created “Bello” single-seater racing car.

It was made to represent cars from the 1950s, when engines were still in front of the driver.

Rather than call the car by his own name, as might have been reasonably expected, the humble mechanic was delighted to use Bello – a name that is an Italian-Spanish surname from bello, meaning “handsome/beautiful”

In medieval Italy, the word was also used as a first name, which gave rise to a surname.

Many racing cars have come out of Italy since racing began in the early 1900s. Names include some of the great marques, such as Bugatti, Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Stanguellini. Now there is Bello, in Rangiora.

Royce, who has competed with a Mini and a Cortina in classic racing before turning his hand to Formula Fords, took two years off racing to focus his efforts on building his own car.

His aim now is to enter the vintage car category at local classic race meetings.

The 1725cc engine and gearbox are from a 1960s Hillman Super Minx, as is the grill. The chassis is built of steel tubular framing.

There is little doubt that, when the car goes on view for all too see, its name will be fully justified as one of the “handsome” ones.