You’ll be hard-pressed to catch Alan and Paretauira Togia saying it, but the brains behind event-promotion outfit Downtime Entertainment have got to be very pleased with the way their annual AutoFest event has grown into the monster it is now — an automotive festival that can genuinely be classed as among the biggest in New Zealand.
From the first AutoFest in February 2016 through to the third iteration just gone, held on March 3, the growth and refinement of the show’s formula have been discernible despite the fact that, at a surface level, things have remained largely as they always have been.
The Waikato venue of Mystery Creek Events Centre has remained, and the main attractions of a massive show hall and epic burnout competition remain at the fore. It’s all just been polished and perfected, adding to existing strengths and addressing shortfalls experienced in the past.
While the queues of entrants and show-goers snaking up the entry road and onto the main Mystery Creek Road this year would have given a fair indication of just what to expect, to have experienced the show in full effect would have been the only way to really get how big it is.
A look within the enormous show hall presented a remarkably high-calibre spectrum of cars on show, arranged with plenty of breathing room making it easy to check the cars out, photograph them, and by keeping quality to a certain standard there was plenty of space to showcase standout entrants. There were plenty of those, which you can see more of in the photos throughout this article, arranged in a decent mix. That is one of the more noteworthy features of Downtime Entertainment events: the lack of preferential treatment of different automotive scenes — if you’re into your cars, there’s a place for you.
Perhaps the most telling indicator of this was within the NZ Lowrider Super Show — a separate show hall dedicated to some of the finest low-riders in the country, courtesy of clubs like
Carnales, Old Skool Rydz, and Loyalty IV Life, as well as impressive builds from shops like Waikato Customs and Jokers Wild Kustoms.
No less impressive, the Mai FM–sponsored outdoor hardpark sprawled across a substantial patch of land and comprised an interesting and diverse range of both individual and club displays.
However, where crowd engagement was concerned, it was The Rock FM Burnout Competition that took centre stage. Two qualifying rounds and an action-packed final provided a sensory overload of big revs and clouds as the field pushed their engines to make it to the top.
How will the Downtime Entertainment crew take AutoFest to new heights after this year’s success? Well, the team is its own worst critic and has already identified several areas that need addressing, and with its ambitious goals in mind, we’re sure it’s mapped out a path to get there. Next year’s one will be bigger, and it will be better — make sure you’re a part of it.
This hectic VL Commodore featured a big Holset HRC40RS turbo, and Sinco manifold, with a trick intake plenum and piping also fabricated to suit the RB30 set-up. And, while that engine may be a beautiful work of art for a once-dirty E-banger, it’s the only standard befitting this car, which has been thoroughly detailed through and through
Chris Burrett’s iconic ‘AL4SPN’ Mazda Familia GT-Ae (BFMR) has been kicking around for over five years in its current state, and it still looks good enough to eat off. But it isn’t just good looks, with 10-second quarter-miles under its belt, thanks to the wicked BPT motor sitting in a smoothed-andfinessed engine bay. This was all acknowledged, as Chris was given an unexpected leg day, being called up on stage multiple times to amass a huge trophy haul
Is it really a burnout competition worth covering if Steve Ellicott’s ‘L0R0TA’ Mazda 808 wagon isn’t included? Steve proved to the crowd just how loose he gets behind the wheel, spinning the turbo 13B right up into the danger zone and blowing tyres left, right, and centre. He was rewarded for his efforts, scooping the top award in the Rotary Class and a cheque for $500 — that should cover the E85 bill for a full day of skids! Wiremu Burkhardt’s B2K features a blend of new meets old, hence the super ’80s aesthetic theme, which has been brought into the current era with 17-inch Hilux steelies and frame-scraping stance through a C-notched rear and full suite of Slam Specialties bags. Power is made the old fashioned way, with a naturally aspirated 13B, although it gets help from two EFI Hardware IDA-style throttle bodies and a NOS nitrous kit slapped on for good measure
Sometimes, less is more — an ethos perfectly exemplified by this KE20 Corolla. In this day and age, when extreme bodykits and crazy stance rule the roost, tasteful restraint comes as a breath of fresh air. Who needs overstatement when you’ve got a car this clean? Packing a tickled silvertop 4A-GE and rolling on timeless Hayashi Streets with just the right amount of sidewall, this low Rolla is resto-modified perfection
What’s wrong with this photo? The big blower and Enderle Big and Ugly hat look tough enough, but that’s an LS underneath it all — no brapping Doritos here. Whatever your stance on V8-swapped RX-7s, though, nobody can deny the impressive display Ian ‘Sambo’ Smith puts on when his mental FD3S hits the pad. He ended the day with the Pro Class award and a cheque for a cool $1K