Expanded Moonshine American Vehicle Day scores
“There’s plenty of new stuff here,” an acquaintance called out as I walked around Moonshine Rod and Custom Club’s annual American Vehicle Day at the Trentham Racecourse grounds on Sunday, February 7.
Organizer Dean Somerville said the show was the biggest yet, with around 700 American cars on the actual concourse — his total did not incorporate the other makes parked across the racetrack, opposite the grandstand, which included Porsche, Rover, Austin, Toyota, Bradford, and a dozen or so Holdens.
This year, the club had opened up the event to include cars manufactured outside America. The move brought a big increase in the number of people attending, with an estimated 6000-plus coming through the gates.
One of the oldest cars on display was Bernard Scott’s 1916 Cadillac Type 53. Several pre–high-schoolage boys were fascinated by this century-old vintage car and took photos on their mobile phones to show their classmates after the Waitangi Day holiday. The centenarian Cadillac originally came from Christchurch and is believed to have operated as a service car between Christchurch and Akaroa. The car was dismantled in the 1950s and the parts stored in boxes. It was restored in Levin from 2011 to 2013, and reassembling took 4000 hours.
“You don’t see too many of them,” was a comment made to me while I was admiring a 1962 custom-built Acadian convertible. A Google search later told me that Acadians were made in Canada by General Motors, between 1961 and 1972, to add a compact car to the range offered by Canadian Pontiac-buick dealers. The American Pontiac Tempest compact car was not sold in Canada.
Top of my car bucket list for a number of years has been to see a 1950s Kaiser in the metal. My wish was granted with the appearance of a 1953 Kaiser Manhattan at this year’s American Vehicle Day. But it did not win the prize for the best vehicle overall in the show; that went to a 1971 Ford Torino.
The profits from this very successful day went to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand.