An­nual Ro­torua Vin­tage Car Club Lake­front Car Show

New Zealand Classic Car - - Nationwide News - Words and Pho­tos: John Mctav­ish

This was billed as the Fourth An­nual Car Show — some­how the first three passed by your correspondent and his as­sis­tant. Maybe we missed past events, be­cause it was at the height of sum­mer, when Tau­ranga res­i­dents’ at­ten­tion is nat­u­rally cap­ti­vated by ac­tiv­i­ties af­forded by the prox­im­ity of sea and sand.

Pos­si­bly Tau­ranga res­i­dents have a propen­sity to sell short our neigh­bour­ing Bay of Plenty city, be­cause, on ar­rival at the venue, my as­sis­tant and I were re­minded of the first time, years be­fore, that we went to the other event or­ga­nized by the Ro­torua Vin­tage Car Club. Ev­ery year, the club or­ga­nizes the Ro­torua Car Show and Swap Meet held in the middle of win­ter, at the Par­adise Val­ley Race­way. We had only just be­come aware of the swap meet and thought we’d bet­ter go and have a look, not ex­pect­ing much. We cruised over on a frosty morn­ing, lateish, en­coun­ter­ing hardly a car en route. Imag­ine how sur­prised we were when we came around the last cor­ner be­fore the race­way to see pad­docks full of parked cars, and thou­sands of en­thu­si­asts milling about the hun­dreds of stalls. We were blown away, and not a lit­tle abashed to re­al­ize that the lack of traf­fic did not mean lack of in­ter­est — it just meant we were late!

Bet­ter late than never, though. The ad­ver­tis­ing for the sum­mer lake­front show said that it was on the Ro­torua Vil­lage Green. Some vil­lage, some green! Ro­torua is a real city, with the first sec­tion of Tu­tanekai Street cov­ered over, ar­cade fash­ion, to make Eat Street, thanks to its many eater­ies and bars. The main shop­ping area con­tin­ues on from that. The green is huge, with shade trees around the perime­ter en­clos­ing a vast open grassed field. The green in­cludes the area where the Sound­shell Mar­ket was tak­ing place. This pro­vided di­ver­sion for those in need of nour­ish­ment or whose in­ter­est in cars might in­ex­pli­ca­bly wane.

A small con­voy of Alfa club mem­bers made the sum­mer trip, and our group set up be­neath the shady trees. Need­less to say, by mu­tual agree­ment among the Alfa con­tin­gent, the first thing we de­cided to do was visit the mar­ket, with the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion be­ing that many cars were still to ar­rive, so we’d miss noth­ing by in­dulging the less au­to­mo­tively be­sot­ted for a while.

On our re­turn, my as­sis­tant dili­gently con­firmed that up­ward of 200 ve­hi­cles were on dis­play, but the place looked no fuller than when we ar­rived. Ev­ery owner and club had wisely sought shade around the perime­ter, mak­ing one cir­cuit a lengthy process. The ex­pan­sive na­ture of the event made a re­laxed change from some of the crowded shows we at­tend, even though they might have fewer cars on dis­play.

Ro­torua Vin­tage Car Club chair­man David Tom­lin­son ex­plained that the event was de­lib­er­ately kept low key, so that not only clubs but also in­di­vid­u­als could bring out their cars of in­ter­est to be viewed. His strat­egy seemed to be work­ing, be­cause, as well as the won­der­fully re­stored vin­tage and clas­sic ve­hi­cles, there were some works-in-progress, daily-driv­ers, and newish ex­otics.

David set the ex­am­ple by hav­ing not only two aris­to­cratic beau­ties on show but also his daily-driver. He favoured Bri­tish for his im­pres­sive 1993 Bent­ley Turbo R and 1978 Rolls-royce Shadow and, for his ev­ery­day run­about, a Ger­man 1977 Mercedes-benz 350 SL.

Each driver was asked to do­nate a gold coin to St John Am­bu­lance Ro­torua. In ac­knowl­edge­ment of that wor­thy cause, St John dis­played two clas­sic am­bu­lances brought up from Feild­ing, where they are main­tained true to their eras. Both looked diminu­tive com­pared with the mod­ern Mercedes am­bu­lance.

Hav­ing browsed, and, in some cases, pur­chased stuff from the mar­ket, cir­cu­lated the car show a cou­ple or three times, and ex­hausted the de­lights of Eat Street, sud­denly it seemed to be time to head for home. Along with ev­ery­one else, the Alfa group packed up, well pleased with the day and de­ter­mined to re­turn next year.

1. Work in progress, 1958 Nash Metropoli­tan 2. Pow­er­ful 1935 Packard Su­per 8 3. De­sir­able 1961 Daim­ler SP250 4. Chew­ing the fat, 1917 Ford T roadster 5. Chevro­let class, 1967 Camaro RS 6. Oval head­lamps for the Oval Of­fice, 1931 Stude­baker Pres­i­dent


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