AMERICAN VEHICLE DAY
“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.