2017 FORD MUSTANG NATIONAL CONVENTION
Words and photos: Quinton Taylor
The 38th Ford Mustang National Convention event was held on Labour weekend in Invercargill, with just over 330 people registered for what turned out to be a memorable and successful weekend of events and cruises.
Organizing committee member and Southern Mustang Club president John Lyons said that the south now had many more attractions to wow entrants than it had when the area last hosted the Nationals in 2011.
“Those who went were just blown away by the Richardson truck museum, and all the other venues in Invercargill and Southland to see while they were here,” he said.
Classic motoring has enjoyed a huge leap in popularity in the south in recent months. The Nationals signalled a number of firsts for the Southern Mustang Club, with entrants enjoying an array of venues to sample in a Southland rather different to that of 2011.
Many entrants also took the opportunity to take in other attractions by driving down through scenic Central Otago, and stopping for some fun, food, and a circuit cruise at Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell.
Friday night was a chance to catch up with old friends, and, on Saturday morning, it was time to polish up and show off those eyecatching cars to the public in the display at ILT Stadium Southland.
The decision to shift from the usual venue of the neighbouring cycling velodrome into the main arena of ILT Stadium Southland was applauded and added to the atmosphere for the Nationals.
Some 175 cars made an impressive collection of polished American metal, with many people of all ages commenting on them and taking the opportunity to see them close up. Given how many came from the 1960s era, it was pleasing to not only see the numbers of young people viewing but also hear their often-favourable comments. It was certainly a crowd-puller, enabling organizers to display the cars with plenty of space to view them.
Saturday evening was another first, with the evening dinner and dance held at the Main Hall of Bill Richardson Transport World, appropriately among the impressive backdrop of Fords from various generations.
Sunday morning presented an impressive sight as groups of Mustangs set off north through Eastern Southland back roads for the Balfour Rugby Club in Northern Southland and lunch. The region abounds with vehicle and machinery collections, and quite a few took the opportunity to stop off along the way at attractions such as the Croydon Aviation Heritage Centre in Mandeville. Then, in the evening, it was the event dinner and awards presentation at the Ascot Park Hotel, Invercargill.
It was an impressive introduction to the south for many, and a lot more to see for regulars. Manawatu Mustang Owners Club is the host for the next Nationals, in 2018.
Escape: the largest collection of Mustangs ever seen cruising the highway north of Gore Cool cruising: Murray and Marie Topp’s 1965 convertible from the Southern Mustang Club Good support: Southern Mustang Club members turned out in force Corralled: part of the large display of some 150-plus Mustangs Checked over: the judges inspect David and Vanessa Thomson’s 1971 Mach 1 from Bay of Plenty club Highlands Motorsport Park, Cromwell (photo: Kynan) Infamous Hertz: what was that rumour – hired and raced on Sunday and returned on Monday?! Food on the run: just about every model in this stop-for-lunch at the Balfour Rugby Club Racers: two well-known cars on New Zealand race circuits — the Ron Wade example (right) with Roy Mcdonald’s car alongside (blue), and (left) the 1967–’68 Notchback/ Coupe class–winning 1967 Mustang of Taranaki’s Wayne Fabish Hosts: Tony and Marilyn Forde’s 1983 GT 3-door Mustang from the Southern Mustang Club