Vin­tage car club trips a great ride

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By NI­COLA STE­WART ni­cola.ste­

Howard Por­te­ous’ old­est son learnt to count to six on the spark plugs of a vin­tage Chevro­let his dad was work­ing on.

Howard learnt to drive in a 1937 Chevy truck and has since built or re­stored eight or nine of the Amer­i­can cars, some from noth­ing more than a few parts.

A dairy farmer by trade, he spent hours work­ing on cars from a young age, teach­ing him­self as he went.

‘‘If I wanted to know how to do some­thing, I’d go find the best me­chanic, who I knew could do it, and pick his brains,’’ Howard said.

‘‘ I al­ways found they were pretty will­ing to help.’’

His good friend Gra­ham Pate said Howard could be com­pared to to­day’s boy rac­ers.

Ex­cept, for Howard, never about speed.

Gra­ham and Howard are mem­bers of the Waikato Vet­eran and Vin­tage Car Club and both seem to be in it for the tin­ker­ing.

‘‘I love mak­ing things go,’’ said Howard.

‘‘ It’s al­ways a chal­lenge to restore a car from a pile of bits and pieces, right up to a run­ning car.’’

Gra­ham, an en­gi­neer, is work­ing on his first restora­tion, a 1935 Austin 18-6, to add to his fin­ished 1928 Chevro­let Tourer and 1968


was MGB. ‘‘I sup­pose tin­ker­ing with old ma­chin­ery has al­ways been a hobby,’’ he said.

Gra­ham is pres­i­dent


the Waikato club and has been a mem­ber since mov­ing to Mata­mata from Tau­ranga in 2000. Howard is in charge of the parts depart­ment at the Cam­bridge clu­b­rooms and has been a mem­ber for about 38 years.

Both are look­ing for­ward to com­pet­ing in this week­end’s Waikato Vet­eran and Vin­tage Car Club An­nual Dou­ble 50 Rally.

The rally is a com­pet­i­tive event in which en­trants have to nav­i­gate to an un­known spot 50 miles away, and then with a fresh set of in­struc­tions, nav­i­gate 50 miles back to a marked lo­ca­tion.

Judged against a per­fect score of 100 per cent, teams lose points if they make a wrong turn or miss a check­point.

Gra­ham and Howard, along with their wives Mar­cia and Dianne, have com­peted in hun­dreds of ral­lies across New Zealand.

‘‘You get to drive lots of back roads that no­body has even thought about,’’ said Gra­ham.

‘‘You meet all sorts of peo­ple and go lots of dif­fer­ent places – it’s a lot of fun.’’

Vin­tage cars al­ways at­tracted a lot of at­ten­tion, said Howard.

‘‘ It never takes long be­fore some­one re­alises all th­ese old cars are com­ing past and the kids come run­ning to stand on the road and wave,’’ he said.

‘‘If you can’t fig­ure out the di­rec­tions, they’re all point­ing, ‘they’re go­ing that way!’’’

Howard and Dianne are also mem­bers of the Chevro­let Club of Amer­ica and have com­peted in ral­lies in the United States five or six times.

They were in Flint, Michi­gan last year to cel­e­brate 100 years since the first Chevy was built there.

Waikato has more than 420 Vin­tage and Vet­eran mem­bers from all walks of life, said


‘‘We would like to see some younger peo­ple join,’’ he said.

‘‘Most peo­ple don’t re­alise you can join with any car that is older than 30 years – that brings us right up to the ’80s now.’’

The club also has a mo­tor­cy­cle and com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle sec­tion and is strongly fam­i­ly­ori­ented, he said.

If you are in­ter­ested or join­ing please con­tact Gra­ham on 888 0009, email gm­pate@ ihug. co. nz or go to

Oldie but a goodie: Gra­ham Pate and Howard Por­te­ous with Howard’s 1936 Chevro­let hearse.

Old school charm: Howard has re­stored three 1929 Chevro­let cars. Be­low: Beauty: Howard be­hind the wheel of his 1967 Chevro­let.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.