HENRY FORD BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
Sunday, 29 July dawned with showers and some nervousness among members of the Nelson Classic Ford Car Club, but the clouds cleared and the sun shone down on a new venue for their annual celebration of the birthday of Henry Ford. Once again, longserving club member / birthday-cake baker Pat Rainbow baked a large tasty birthday cake (her 22nd no less!) for the event, while the club-cornerstone Rainbow family turned out in force again with three well-presented classic Fords. Following the cutting of the cake, pieces were distributed among onlookers by Pat’s young helpers, grandchildren Jaxon and Ella.
I counted 110 classic Fords present, but I suspect that others arrived after the count. There was the usual wide variety — from two ‘brass’ Model Ts (1911 and 1913) to two Thunderbirds (1959 hardtop and 1961 convertible). In between, were all the usual favourites, such as Zephyrs (including a Mk4), Cortinas, Escorts, Australian Fords, a wide selection of Mustangs from 1965 through to brand new, and some lovely pre-war V8s. Sadly, I didn’t see a Popular, Prefect, or Anglia in any form. But where would we be without the Model A? Whatever your Model A preference, it was there — coupé, roadster, sedan, tourer, roadster pick-up — all beautiful examples, thanks to the Nelson Model A Ford Club.
On the subject of Model As, an unusual and eye-catching exhibit was Roger Humphries’ Model A engine, with an original propeller attached that was made in Westport to fit the original Model A– engined pre–world War II Pietenpol Air Camper light aircraft, which came to grief at Westport before the war. The aircraft was imported from the US as a kitset by then–westport Ford dealer John Kilkenny. The engine is trailer-mounted and capable of running in suitable surroundings.
Event major sponsor and local Ford dealership MS Ford had a presence too, with a marquee full of the newest Fords on offer. MS Ford, along with many other generous Nelson businesses, pitched in with prizes for the day. The new venue came courtesy of the Tahuna Beach Holiday Park, which kindly lent a portion of its grounds for the event. This meant that, in addition to the usual facilities available, stall holders were presented with food, coffee, accessories, etc. Also, nearby are accommodation; cafes; bars; and, of course, Tahuna Beach itself. Hopefully, this new venue will attract greater numbers and an even-wider variety of classic Fords in years to come.
All-in-all, it was a successful day for the Nelson Classic Ford Car Club and benefactor charity, the Nelson Hospice. Committee and club members had put in a lot of hard work leading up to the event, as well as from the early hours of the day itself, and are to be congratulated. Any volunteers for peeling the onions for next year’s sausage sizzle would be gratefully accepted.