Nel­son Henry Ford day

Words: Rob Brown

New Zealand Classic Car - - Nationwide Events - Photos:

DPeter Soundy

espite win­ter weather fi­nally ar­riv­ing in no un­cer­tain terms, the Nel­son Clas­sic Ford Car Club was blessed with a nice day for its an­nual Henry Ford birth­day cel­e­bra­tion, held on the last week­end of July at the pic­turesque Rab­bit Is­land venue on the south­ern shores of Tas­man Bay. Thanks to club mem­ber Terry Smith, its res­i­dent me­te­o­rol­o­gist, for hav­ing a word in the right ears on the club’s be­half — cool south-west­er­lies were fore­cast but only to­wards the end of the event did a breeze come up and cloud be­gin to en­shroud the Arthur Range to the west.

The Henry Ford birth­day bash went off well, with over 100 Fords on show and en­thu­si­asts from Blen­heim, West­port, Grey­mouth, Christchurch, and even In­ver­cargill present. As well as ac­knowl­edg­ing the great man’s birth­day, the day also marked 50 years since the birth of the Cortina MKII, with the line-up of Cortina MKIIS at the event in­clud­ing a Deluxe, GT, GTE, Lo­tus, and 1600E — so a good cross-sec­tion of vari­ants was present.

An im­proved va­ri­ety of Fords seemed to be on show this year, with a no­tice­able pres­ence of hot rods and cus­toms, more Model As, a ‘B’(?), and more Amer­i­can Fords in gen­eral, which in­cluded a few flat­head, V8 pow­ered, and a good at­ten­dance of the Ze­phyr/zo­diac folk as al­ways. This was all a very healthy sign that own­ers aren’t nec­es­sar­ily in hi­ber­na­tion dur­ing the cooler months, de­spite some se­ri­ous wet weather lead­ing up to the day. But it’s no show with­out a Model T, and the colour­ful T Race­about saved the day with its pres­ence.

Luck­ily, Jeff Welch was also present with his Starsky and Hutch– replica Torino, so, when­ever or­ga­niz­ers needed the at­ten­tion of all present, Jeff was only too happy to help with the use of the pe­riod-cor­rect PA speaker sys­tem, siren, and lights fit­ted to the car. It worked a treat!

An unas­sum­ing red MKIV Ze­phyr parked in the lineup caught my eye. It was in un­re­stored, to­tally orig­i­nal con­di­tion. The MKIV isn’t seen so of­ten these days, let alone an un­mo­lested ex­am­ple such as this.

Club founder mem­ber Pat Rain­bow baked the tra­di­tional large birth­day cake for the oc­ca­sion once again, some­thing she has done for the club since the first Henry birth­day bash back in 1997! Yummy as al­ways — thank you, Pat! Pat and her hus­band, Lau­rie, were there when the club was formed back in 1994. Thanks also to mem­bers and spon­sors who do­nated gifts for the lucky ticket draws, and, fi­nally, a big thank you to the own­ers who dusted off their clas­sic Ford, es­pe­cially those who trav­elled from out­side the re­gion to make the day the suc­cess it was.

Come join us next July for a pic­nic and sausage siz­zle among the clas­sics and trees on the shores of beau­ti­ful Tas­man Bay.

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