PETROL­HEADS’ DE­LIGHT

WELLINGTONIANS WERE SPOILT FOR CHOICE WITH THE NUM­BER OF THINGS TO DO ON FA­THER’S DAY, BUT THERE WAS NO BET­TER PLACE TO BE THAN THE PETROL­HEADS @PORIRUA HOT ROD SHOW

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PETROL­HEADS @ PORIRUA

Hav­ing hosted the event for near on a decade, sit­ing it in the Porirua Ken­nel Club build­ing for the past few years, the team at West­ern Bays Street Rod­ders (WBSR) know that the show is now firmly marked on the calendar of most Welling­ton car lovers. Fa­ther’s Day is a dou­ble-edged sword for event pro­mot­ers. On one hand, you’ve got the peo­ple who be­lieve that, since it’s Dad’s spe­cial day, he can do what­ever he wants. On the other hand, you’ve got the peo­ple who be­lieve that it means that dads need to spend the day eat­ing badly cooked home­made break­fasts and can’t es­cape. WBSR mem­bers fall into the for­mer cat­e­gory: the group that be­lieves car-lov­ing blokes will drag the kids along to a car show on Fa­ther’s Day, and this year they were right. Open to all types of ve­hi­cles but based on hot rods, street ma­chines, and clas­sic cruis­ers, the Petrol­heads @ Porirua Hot Rod Show has some­thing for ev­ery kind of car lover. Be­ing the only an­nual in­door show in the cap­i­tal adds to the event’s al­ready con­sid­er­able ap­peal. Main event spon­sor Burg­erFuel showed that it was more than just a fi­nan­cial spon­sor, with a trio of its pur­ple pow­er­houses among the cars that greeted visi­tors en­ter­ing the show. The small en­try hall was just a teaser for the visual as­sault show­go­ers ex­pe­ri­enced as they turned the cor­ner into the venue’s main hall. A sea of cars, bikes, and even a V8-powered jet­sprint boat was wait­ing to be checked out, and we chal­lenge any­one to say they were dis­ap­pointed. WBSR club mem­bers and the event com­mit­tee did a great job; not only did the show have amaz­ing

visual im­pact, but it was also easy to get around and see all of the ve­hi­cles. When the crowds came rolling through, the aisles were packed with pun­ters from near and far. While most own­ers were happy to show their pride and joy with­out a dis­play, the ef­fort some ve­hi­cle own­ers went to was ap­pre­ci­ated by the crowds. Den­nis Tar­rant’s huge col­lec­tion of Hot Wheels amazed the kids, while the side-by-side barn­find-style dis­plays of Brent Collins (FJ Holden) and Don Mack­ley (Ford F100), com­plete with in­flat­able pigs and banjo mu­sic, re­ceived plenty of laughs. Thanks to lo­cal res­i­dent Alan Ea­gar, fans of late-model cars had not only the usual mus­cle to see but also an As­ton Martin and a sel­dom-seen Chev SSR hard­top con­vert­ible pickup. The com­pe­ti­tion divi­sion saw the pub­lic de­but of Barry Smith’s HT Holden ute. The an­swer to the many ques­tions asked was: no, this is not the ute pre­vi­ously cam­paigned by Mark Thomas but an all-new ma­chine set to de­but this sea­son with a tough nat­u­rally as­pi­rated small block engine combo. Alan Mar­shall’s equally se­ri­ous, ni­trous-in­hal­ing two-door Fal­con re­ceived plenty of at­ten­tion and ac­co­lades for its build qual­ity, while those in­ter­ested in speed­way cars also had plenty to look at. The Hot Rod class had it all — from T-buck­ets, new and old, to the freshly com­pleted, scratch-built 1934 de­liv­ery of Lance John­ston. The car

was al­most en­tirely owner built, apart from a few things, such as the flaw­less paint­work by Si­mon at Sk8Dog Cus­toms. While most own­ers are un­der­stand­ably pre­cious about their cars, West­ern Bays club mem­ber Hamish Nash was the op­po­site, with a sign en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to hop into his 392 Hemi–powered 1932 road­ster pickup for a photo — an of­fer that was taken up by hun­dreds of peo­ple. The Ja­panese car con­tin­gent has taken a while to em­brace the show, but this year, thanks to a solid show­ing from the guys and girls at Sky­lines Dow­nun­der, some tough ve­hi­cles were on dis­play. How­ever, the big-power Sky­lines couldn’t match the level of mod­i­fi­ca­tion on the 300- plus kilo­watt KE20 Corolla of Kasey Boxer-John­son, who de­servedly took home the Top Im­port tro­phy. Half of the mo­tor­bikes on dis­play came from the im­pres­sive col­lec­tion of Den­nis Fitch­ett, each one ap­pear­ing to be in con­cours con­di­tion. The rest of the bikes ranged from a V8 trike through to var­i­ous cus­tom Har­leys, chop­pers, and bag­gers — the paint­work and de­tail on the bikes ev­ery bit as good as that on the top cars on dis­play. While the main ac­tion, in­clud­ing a pop-up Burg­erFuel store and pop­u­lar bouncy cas­tle, took place inside, out­side saw the show grow to a dif­fer­ent level, with a fleet of big rigs on dis­play. The amount of time and ef­fort in­volved in just clean­ing these things was im­pres­sive, yet a hand­ful

on dis­play — such as the 1962 Ley­land Oc­to­pus and 1964 Ley­land Hippo be­long­ing to lo­cal earth-mov­ing con­trac­tor, Vic Draper — had been lov­ingly nut-and-bolt re­stored to bet­ter-than-new con­di­tion. The ever-pop­u­lar ‘Miss Coven­try’ race boat’s beau­ti­ful Hemi was fired up to sup­ple­ment the noise made by the big rigs. The car park played host to an ever-chang­ing dis­play of cars, many of which could have taken home tro­phies had they been en­tered — hope­fully they will be next time. Peo­ple’s Choice vot­ing slips were handed out at the door, and vot­ers re­ally were spoilt for choice. The sheer num­ber of votes took plenty of count­ing by the WBSR team. In the end, the tro­phy went to Kym and Todd Wylie’s ’56 Cadil­lac, a car that man­aged to haul three out of the 10 avail­able awards. Full credit must go to the team be­hind Petrol­heads @ Porirua, who put on a hell of a show that re­ally has ce­mented it­self as a must-at­tend event — not just on the Welling­ton petrol­head calendar but for the whole lower North Is­land. Here’s hop­ing the suc­cess con­tin­ues to in­crease, and that not just the dads but whole fam­i­lies keep on com­ing through the door.

Den­nis Tar­rant 1965 Shelby Co­bra replica It wasn’t so much WBSR club mem­ber Den­nis Tar­rant’s Co­bra that was the talk­ing point as it was his dis­play of Hot Wheels cars. The cab­i­net­maker is keen on mak­ing cus­tom pieces, so knock­ing up the cus­tom tyre-tread de­sign that out­lined the dis­play was just his thing. All up, Den­nis had 498 cars on dis­play — just a frac­tion of his col­lec­tion!

Lo­cal icon Reon Ling­man has been be­hind the wheel of his Com­modore for the past 16 years, and plenty of peo­ple knew the car from days gone by. Although he pur­chased the car with the bodykit mostly fit­ted, Reon’s con­tin­ued to add his own per­sonal touches to it over the years, in­clud­ing fit­ting a man­ual gear­box. Hav­ing owned it for so long, Reon’s now vowed never to sell it, say­ing he likes the fact that it looks near stock, de­spite hav­ing had plenty of cos­metic changes. 1989 Holden Com­modore Reon Ling­man

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