We don’t know how lucky we are

New Zealand Classic Car - - Feature - Ian Ram­say, Ti­rau You are ab­so­lutely right, Ian. We are spoilt for choice in this coun­try when it comes to clas­sic car events. Long may it con­tinue. AFW

I re­cently re­turned home from the Whanga­mata Beach­hop cel­e­brat­ing 1950s to 70s Amer­i­cana where over 1200 reg­is­tered pe­riod cars, car­a­vans, bikes and hotrods cruised and dis­played over 4 days. The or­ga­niz­ers and volunteers no doubt were ap­pre­hen­sive with a wet weather fore­cast. It didn’t even­tu­ate — good weather, only a light overnight shower Satur­day and again Sun­day.

What it re­it­er­ated for me was how clever and ca­pa­ble am­a­teur and pro­fes­sional Kiwi car nuts are at re­build­ing and cre­at­ing su­perb ex­am­ples of auto en­gi­neer­ing — from con­cours Ed­sels to imi­ta­tion pati­naed ra­trods. Non-main­stream units that at­tracted a lot of at­ten­tion were a Mor­ris Mi­nor Woody with a su­per­charged V8, a low­ered split wind­screen Volk­swa­gen Trav­eller Combi, I be­lieve Porsche pow­ered, and a 1960s Mini pickup with 4.4L Rover V8 in the tray driv­ing the rear wheels through a Ja­panese transaxle gear­box. Some creations had info boards, it would have been good for these aber­ra­tions to have had given us some in­for­ma­tion. The car that has stuck in my mind was a two-door 1957 210 Bel Air pil­lar­less hard-top. I didn’t get a close-up look, but the lack of strong two-tone colour scheme and be­ing the same sil­ver shade as the side flash ac­cen­tu­ated the iconic clean pro­file.

The week be­fore there was Targa Ro­torua. I am for­tu­nate to live within fifteen min­utes of nu­mer­ous Targa rally stages in the South Waikato, one start/ fin­ish only 100m from home. So good to get to Kakahu Road for a few hours watch­ing en­thu­si­asts in E30 BMWS, Se­ries 1 Honda Civics, and oth­ers, hav­ing a ball on chal­leng­ing, winding, dry sealed roads.

In the pre­vi­ous months own­ers had op­por­tu­ni­ties to get their pride and joys out of sheds at Ro­torua lake front, Tau­ranga, Hamil­ton, Kumeu and theme/ brand dis­plays. Also, there has been Hamp­ton Downs Festival of speed, and race days. Then there are the in­di­vid­ual car club ral­lies that al­low en­thu­si­asts to burn a bit of fuel and cir­cu­late the oil while see­ing and be­ing seen. So there are regular vis­ual feasts for any car en­thu­si­ast round the Waikato and Bay of Plenty re­gions, and through your mag­a­zine we see the same in other parts of New Zealand. It also con­firms to me, Ki­wis are pas­sion­ate and ca­pa­ble car builders/main­tain­ers and own­ers in greater num­bers per-capita than any other part of the world. We don’t know how lucky we are.

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