ELLERSLIE CLASSIC CAR SHOW
A FULL REPORT ON NEW ZEALAND’S PREMIER CLASSIC CAR EVENT
IN FEBRUARY, SOME OF THE FINEST VEHICLES AND MOST PASSIONATE OWNERS OF NEW ZEALAND’ S CLASSIC CAR AND MOTORING SCENE MADE THEIR WAY TO ELLERSLIE RACECOURSE FOR THE ELLERSLIE CLASSIC CAR SHOW
While the name may have changed, the focus of the event remains the same — to bring together New Zealand’s cornerstone clubs, members, volunteers, cars, sponsors, and a good number of visitors to enjoy our shared passion. This year’s event was once again a great success and an event of which the organizers and everyone involved can be proud.
The 2018 Ellerslie Classic Car Show unofficially kicked off on the Saturday with the annual Meguiar’s Classic Car Tours d’elegance, hosted by the MG Car Club Auckland Centre, beginning at a number of locations in the greater Auckland region and ultimately converging on the Vellenoweth Green in Saint Heliers. Unfortunately, the adverse weather conditions played a major part in proceedings, with a number of cars being sat out of Saturday’s drive to ensure they were in top shape for Sunday’s big event.
Ellerslie Classic Car Show
The host club for the show, following an impressive win against tough competition in 2017, was the Auckland Jaguar Drivers’ Club. The club put together a brilliant and extensive display of its members’ own cars, and made sure all other clubs and cars were well catered to around the grounds of the Ellerslie Racecourse.
Organizers watched the forecast carefully in the days leading up to the event, with a storm warning being announced on the Wednesday, then a cyclone advisory coming into play shortly thereafter. Provision for a rain-soaked event were made and utilized as Auckland was subjected to the relentless rain we expect towards the end of summer. Despite the atrocious weather, hundreds of classic car owners, from a record 76 clubs, refused to allow the rain to dampen their enthusiasm and made the effort to get to Ellerslie so that their teams and cars could be on show; a number of commercial exhibitors did the same.
The variety of cars on display seems to get more diverse every year. When the event began in Cornwall Park in 1972, the world was a very different place. Many of the cars in the car park that year would now be well worthy of a spot in competition — while some, admittedly, would be welcome in the scrapheap. The landscape of what is deemed a ‘classic’ has changed significantly, with a noticeable lean towards a younger demographic than we’ve seen at the show before.
Every year, the Ellerslie Classic Car Show has a theme, and this year it celebrated Women and the Marque to reflect the influence of women on all facets of motoring for more than 100 years.
Way back when, Bertha Benz used her husband’s prototypes to ferry the kids to their grandmother; since then, women have become involved in designing, assembling,
maintaining, racing, and selling, as well as owning cars. In advertising and at shows, the practice of having glamorous women draped over cars has given way to a focus on attributes that reflect women’s tastes.
Taking pride of place in this year’s New Zealand Classic Car magazine display in the Newmarket Room were last month’s cover car and owner, Cathy Willemsen and her Moulin Rouge Cuda. Cathy comments on her experience of being a woman involved in what has traditionally been a man’s world that, “Women shouldn’t be perceived as Mini drivers. They’re as much a part of this as anyone. You’ve got to learn how to do it, and you’ve got to be confident enough to do it.”
The winner’s circle at Ellerslie Racecourse, with its manicured lawns, beautifully tended gardens, and abundance of shady trees, offers the perfect venue to showcase some of the country’s finest classics. It’s also in an ideal position for the viewing public to wander around the perimeter and get a closer look at the cars that are being judged in the Masters Class, Teams Event, and Survivors Class.
Very rarely does weather dampen this fine spectacle — in fact, we can only recall a couple of occasions over the past 20 years. Unfortunately for this year’s event, the organizing committee, along with the judging chairman, Stan Edwards, decided they needed to put Plan B into action. All of the competition cars were forced under cover to allow the judges — who included our editor, Ashley Webb — to scrutinize extensively each of the cars in competition. By far the busiest section of the event, the competition cars were impressive in number and quality. The judging began early in the day, with the final count being completed by 4pm in time for prize-giving.
“Women and the Marque: cars have evolved over the years, as have women, and their fashion!” — Beth Stemp, Classic Cover Insurance