Wheel alignment

Monday 27 February 2023

Some nice Americana (and other vehicles)

 I saw that the local classic car club was having an afternoon get-together this weekend.  We're not members but as it was open to the public, it was a good opportunity to take the MG along.  Ownership was predominantly classic American, with a smaller number of classics from other countries.  It never ceases to amaze me just how many classic cars are owned in NZ considering a population of around 5 million. The other amazing thing is the extremely high standard of restoration considering that most of them would be a huge money pit! 

Here are some photos of the cars that caught my eye:

The early 60's white Ford Thunderbird was just so representative of that era.  The interior looked like a cross between an American diner and a showy jukebox with all the chrome trim. It wasn't to my taste but could still appreciate the kitsch styling as a statement of those times. Metallic sky blue vinyl seats!

Early 60's Thunderbird alongside a bare bones hotrod

The Thunderbird interior.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

As you might expect, Mustangs were well represented.  It's interesting how influences from younger years get carried through to adulthood.  In my case, it was the Mustang fastback which Steve McQueen drove in Bullitt.  I've seen the movie in more recent times and it's utter crap but the car chase with the baddies in the Charger is still great fun!

Late 60's Mustang GT

Moving forward to the early 70's, the Mach1 fastback was also a real looker.  The Mach 1 convertible at the gathering was also pretty nice.

Mach 1 convertible - nice personalised plate

The modern Mustangs lack the character of the genuine classics but the 5 litre version in the photo below with all the fruit looks pretty good.

Modern 445 5 litre Mustang with all the bells and whistles

The 1936 Ford V8 was a magnificent restoration, finished in a deep cherry red metallic paint.

1936 Flathead Ford V8

I thought that the Z28 Camaro in the photo below had received a sympathetic restoration, not overdone.  The late 60's Z28 with this body shape is my favourite Camaro anyway.

Z28 Camaro - all muscle
This late 50's Chevy Bel Air attracted a lot of attention when it drove in.  The whistle of the supercharger was distinctive even above the exhaust note.  Wonder how it got through its fitness warrant without extra muffling?

An automotive wet dream

There are an awful lot of $$$$$ invested under the hood

The Chev engine was impressively engineered but the engineering shown in the next photo was even more impressive - a twin turbo Buick-engined dragster.  Not a speck of dust or fingerprint to be seen anywhere.

A demonstration of excess!

Some of the parked vehicles

More parked vehicles including a certain Blaze Orange MGB GT

Although American classics were in the majority, there were still a few interesting Australian and European vehicles.

I've seen several vintage Morgan 3-wheelers in NZ with V twin JAP or Matchless motorcycle engines out front but this one with a 933cc side valve Ford engine was a first.

1936 Morgan 3-wheeler

This early 60's Aussie EH Holden wagon was restored by the local chap who was hosting the event.  Prior to the restoration, it had been locally owned by one person for multiple decades.

Early 60's EH Holden wagon

A nicely restored Aussie V8 Ford Falcon which sounded wonderful.  An affordable option as the genuine GT's or GTHO's are in the $millions bracket now.

Ford Falcon V8

Last but by no means least is the Aussie Chrysler Valiant Charger from the early 1970's.  Available as a straight 6 or V8, they cost serious money now. Specification impacts on what you have to shell out but a quick peruse of a NZ website shows several for sale between NZ$90,000 $175,000.  I'd be very happy to own one (subject to CEO permission which will not be forthcoming!)

Valiant Charger R/T


  1. Nice collection of photos… I remember most of those cars were nothing really special when new.

  2. Thanks Richard. I think you're spot on. Anything which is old enough probably reaches classic status even if it is pretty ordinary. Take the Ford Edsel for example 😄


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