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
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.
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