AMER­I­CAN VE­HI­CLE DAY

New Zealand Classic Car - - Contents - Words and pho­tos: Christo­pher Moor

“I t’s got to be the best ever,” I was told by a car en­thu­si­ast who has yet to miss a Moon­shine Rod and Cus­tom Club Amer­i­can Ve­hi­cle Day. He has the ad­van­tage over me, be­cause I haven’t at­tended them all.

The club’s 19th an­nual dis­play, held at Tren­tham Race­course, Up­per Hutt, on Sun­day, Fe­bru­ary 4, met the bench­mark set by last year’s show. An es­ti­mated 450 cars came.

Three steps in­side the gate, I spot­ted a car with the im­me­di­ate wow fac­tor: a 1939 Lin­coln Ze­phyr V12 coupé. More than once I was told, “You’ve got to see it, Chris.” Opin­ions I over­heard on the con­course would in­di­cate that fewer Cadil­lacs were present than usual. But those who’d come for the 1957 Chevro­lets, Corvettes, and Mus­tangs would not have been dis­ap­pointed by the ar­ray they saw. And the show al­ways has post–world War II clas­sics from nowde­funct Amer­i­can mar­ques like Pon­tiac, Packard, or Kaiser to en­joy.

From 2016, Moon­shine has wel­comed par­tic­i­pa­tion from all makes of cars, what­ever their coun­try of ori­gin. The ex­panded for­mat has not meant the em­pha­sis has shifted away from Amer­i­can ve­hi­cles, though. They re­main very much to the fore and are what many say they still come to see. Cars man­u­fac­tured out­side of the US took over the park­ing spa­ces usu­ally re­served for Welling­ton Rac­ing Club mem­bers at the south­ern end of the race­track. Holden cars pre­dom­i­nated in this area, al­though an or­ange and black 1974 Austin Mini Club­man re­ally stood out among them.

Up­per Hutt’s mayor Wayne Guppy was seen en­joy­ing the dis­play, be­fore join­ing the judg­ing panel to se­lect this year’s Miss Moon­shine. The sparkling Cas­san­dra Rose was crowned this year. She wore a dress trimmed with large red roses that she had de­signed and sewed her­self.

A 1957 Chevro­let Bel Air coupé was awarded the Best Chev prize and a 1946 Ford V8 the Best Truck, while the Best Other and Best Over­all ve­hi­cle cat­e­gories went to a 1957 Oldsmo­bile Su­per 88 Hol­i­day coupé. Miss Moon­shine posed for pho­tos with the cars, and with their own­ers.

Net prof­its from the day went to Te Omanga Hospice.

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