Vintage car club trips a great ride
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 wvvcc.co.nz.
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.