NZ Performance Car - - Contents - Email: mar­cus@per­for­mance­car.co.nz In­sta­gram: mar­cus_nzpc­magazine Mar­cus Gib­son

If you’re cur­rently kicking it in the big smoke like I’m forced to do to fund my rac­ing habit, then chances are that you’ve at­tended at least one Caf­feine and Clas­sics events that our sis­ter ti­tle kicked off with Pro­tecta In­sur­ance back in 2013. The for­mula of a monthly car park meet, an eclec­tic mix of cars, and some top-notch caf­feinated milk to sip while strolling rows of au­to­mo­tive awe­some is, well, awe­some. Span­ning ev­ery­thing from old Maz­das, Mi­nis, Chevys, and BMWs to scratch-built Porsches worth moon­beams, has clearly res­onated with the lo­cal scene, as the event has grown to the point that peo­ple show up hours be­fore the sched­uled and in­tended late start time just to se­cure a spot in­side the car park.

The prob­lem is that the lo­ca­tion of Smales Farm on Auck­land’s North Shore is only so big. Car parks are lim­ited, and many of those lim­ited spots have been taken up by what I and many oth­ers in at­ten­dance would call mar­ginal cars of in­ter­est, while cool shit has been forced to park in the sur­round­ing car parks to the point that you may as well have taken the bus to get there. Up un­til re­cently, the rules on what was wel­come to park-up were loose, so cars like, say, my daily-driven E46 M3 would be wel­comed. (I would never take it, but it’s a bad-arse car in its own right, just not what the event is about.) This goes for plenty of other models, in­clud­ing, but not sin­gling out, the hordes of Com­modores, late-model Mus­tangs, and the like that would show up. Granted, all of these are cooler than your typ­i­cal daily gro­cery run­ner, but with an event that’s strug­gling to keep num­bers down and, I as­sume, un­der pres­sure to sort it out from lo­cal coun­cil “or else”, some­thing had to give. These cars — the type of stuff I see reg­u­larly on my daily com­mute — have been first on the chop­ping block.

A post on so­cial me­dia out­lin­ing the new rule that cars must be over 30 years old, or some­thing truly spe­cial or unique, has re­ceived more at­ten­tion than a post about some im­por­tant new law that the govern­ment is cur­rently de­bat­ing. Many clearly are see­ing red and seem­ingly tak­ing it ex­tremely per­son­ally that some­one could tell them that their mild per­for­mance ‘spe­cial edi­tion’ daily-driver is not al­lowed to at­tend any­more. Any event that’s work­ing is go­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence grow­ing pains, and I fully back the move to limit what is al­lowed to turn left at the gate and what must go right. But I do think that per­haps things need to be taken to the next step with a list, and a clear line drawn in the sand, as leav­ing it open to in­ter­pre­ta­tion is dan­ger­ous. Many peo­ple will still show up at the Smales gate and pro­ceed to plead their case as to why their car should be let in. If I was the gate­keeper, I’d have two mean look­ing SOBs stand­ing be­hind me, as I bet it’s go­ing to get ugly more than once. Sad but true!

On a more pos­i­tive note, I think this is only go­ing to strengthen these low-key Sun­days, rais­ing the cal­i­bre of cars to an­other level. I know lots of re­ally cool cars that didn’t bother to at­tend due to num­bers of ques­tion­able ma­chines. And, hey, all is not lost. If you’re not wel­come at the gate, there are plenty of other events that will al­low you to show off ya spit­shined daily, so keep it classy at the gate if you’re turned away.

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