HENRY FORD BIRTH­DAY CEL­E­BRA­TION

New Zealand Classic Car - - Contents - Words and pho­tos: Rob Brown

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.

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