Geraldine Classic Caravan Club his month’s Club Corner is a touch different, as we looked for a club that could encompass the 1970 Oxford caravan found on the cover. This led us to the Geraldine Classic Caravan Club (GCCC) — founded in 2005 after Chris H
The GCCC celebrates the quintessential Kiwi camping favourite, the classic caravan. It focuses on pre-1970 examples, and the oldest caravan in the club is said to be a 1936 Moore-schultz, from Balclutha.
Despite its name, the membership is very loosely based, and there is no joining fee to get involved. Founder Eamon Barrett, told us, “Simply attend one of our rallies and you can consider yourself a member.”
With around 50 owners on the current list of members, the club’s annual Queen’s Birthday weekend rally is a real festival of caravans. It is set at the Top 10 Kiwi Holiday Park campground in Geraldine, and the club hires the Geraldine cinema for the Saturday night — a real 1920s-style affair, with couches and granny blankets up front — to put on an old movie. Last year saw the screening of the 1954 classic The Long, Long Trailer, starring Lucille Ball. Following the film, the brazier is lit back at the campground, and everyone is encouraged to gather around for a drink and a chinwag.
Sunday marks an open day for the general public to experience some of the classics for a gold-coin donation. This also incorporates a classic car and hot rod display, as most owners use something of the sort to tow their caravan — although Eamon stresses that, “They are a great complement to the style, but the main star is the caravan, of course [laughs].” Modern caravans are not discriminated against, but they are asked to give the classics the limelight for the day, and are displayed at the back.
A vintage food caravan keeps the punters fed, and, later in the evening, the pavilion rocks with a live band for the theme night party. With 11 years down and only one year rained off, it’s a staple event on the southern calendar.
mid-’60s high-performance Fiat 500 variant, the Puch TR650, was a successful rally car, though a really good Polish driver, Sobiesław Zasada, helped considerably! (5) 9. UK racing and sports car manufacturer active from 1949 through the 1950s; its Formula (F) 1/F2 cars achieved some racing success, including one world championship race podium finish in 1956 (9) 14. German manufacturer (1928–’61), part of the Borgward group; despite its name implying large size, it’s best remembered for smaller saloons and commercial vehicles (7) 15. Model name for the Singer-badged variant of the Rootes Group Imp small saloon car (7) 16. 1970s Rootes/chrysler mid-size saloon with 1250/1300cc or 1500/1600cc engines — sold in Britain under three different marque names as the years passed (7) 19. Late ’70s to early ’80s four-seater coupé from Lotus, built in two models 1975–’80, with Type 76 and 1980 onwards Type 84, aka the Excel (5) 20. Lancia’s V4-engined small saloon, built from 1953 to 1963 to replace the Ardea, and itself replaced by the Fulvia (5) 21. The final version (1962–’64) of BMC Australia’s B-series–engined Morris Minor derivative was known as the Major ----- (5) Back to New Zealand this this month for an interesting little vehicle looking a tad ahead of its time, but, alas, it never made it to production. Who can give us chapter and verse on this diminutive car? Send your solution to email@example.com or mail to Mystery Car 253 February 2017, New Zealand Classic Car, PO Box 46 020, Herne Bay, Auckland by mid February. Last month’s mystery was the East German Melkus RS1000 sports car. It was the result of a German Democratic Republic (GDR) government plan to celebrate 20 years of the GDR state, and the sports car project was a joint effort by noted racing driver Heinz Melkus, prominent in local racing since the early 1950s; Automobilwerk Eisenach (AWE); and the Dresden Technical University and University for Traffic — now there’s an interesting idea; Auckland leaders, are you reading this? AWE had some background in racing-vehicle design, having produced, in the mid 1950s, some fast sports-racing cars that had been significant rivals to Porsche and Borgward in 1500cc sports racing, and with more recent practical experience of driving and building racing cars coming from Melkus, the project had possibilities. The body adopted ideas from other sports cars of the day — Porsche 904, Mercedes-benz 300Sl–style gull-wing doors, Opel GT even from some angles — and used a mix of fibreglass and alloy to produce a light body/ chassis unit, at 750kg in street-use trim. Racing versions had up to 75kw and weighed less, at 680kg, so it ended up a rather effective sports car. About 75 were built up to 1973 in the main production run, and another couple of dozen were built up to 1979 on special order. They were successful and well-remembered cars, with around 80 of the 101 built surviving, and, acknowledging this continuing interest, in 2006 and 2008, Heinz Melkus’ sons (Melkus himself died in 2005) sanctioned building another 20 cars, 15 with Wartburg engines and five more with modern VW 1600 units. Catching up on earlier mysteries, we can now report that our very knowledgeable reader Lloyd Gleeson, from New Plymouth, knew all about Mystery Car No. 250, the Muntz Jet, while another of our regular master spotters — David North, from down south — recognized No. 251, the Brazilian-built Volkswagen SP2 coupé. Congratulations to you both.