Greetings from New Z-land to all in CC-land! A week or three ago we popped over to Cambridge, New Zealand to partake of a swapmeet and classic cars – both carparked and curbside. The vehicular delights of Cambridge continued just a week afterwards, with a classic car show. It was meant to be curbside, but a slight hiccup involving fallen trees and health & safety folks meant it was moved lakeside. It promised to have plenty of classics for our ogling eyes, so as your Kiwi KurbLakeside Klassic Korrespondent, I popped along. And I can report the variety of classics in attendance was fantastic! There were so many fun finds that I’ve split my report in two for your reading convenience. Tomorrow we’ll feature only Aussie cars, but we’ll begin today by looking at Everything Except the Aussies. Let’s read on…
Sunday 17 November 2013 dawned bright and clear. Probably. I’m not really an early-morning person, so it’s kinda hard to be sure. But it was definitely a beautiful late spring day by mid-morning when I arrived lakeside! The venue was Lake Karapiro, one of 8 dammed (not damned!) hydro lakes on the NZ’s longest river, the 425km Waikato River that flows through our North Island. Lake Karapiro is an internationally renowned rowing venue, and can now add “superb spot for a classic car show” to its resume.
Like all car shows, I anticipated a lot of garage queens that are nice but less interesting to me. But before I even got in the gate I was rewarded with this 1963 Wolseley 1500 sedan that looked well-used and well-loved – just the way we like it! Interestingly, the 1500 and its Riley One-Point-Five sibling were based on the Morris Minor underpinnings, yet somehow they manage to look far smaller than the Minor. Fun fact: The badge in the centre of the grille lights up with the headlights, quite a cool feature!
Although this particular 1500 was a 1963 model, the shape was launched in 1957, the same year this glorious green Pontiac Superchief rocketed into the world. It seems strange to think both cars were designed on the same planet at the same time, and really highlights the vehiculturalTM differences each side of the Atlantic. And yes, I just invented “vehiculturalTM”, pretty cool huh?
Of somewhat older vintage than the Ponti’ was a 1937 Hudson Terraplane. Don’t you miss such beautifully crafted badges and hood ornaments? Also beautifully crafted was the engine bay in this:
No, it’s not a real GT40, but it does look nice in the Gulf colours, and every nice engine bay should have a viewing window!
I found this scene interesting: a Clan-Musclecar gathering of the 2013 Challenger/Camaro/Mustang being gatecrashed by a ’73 ‘Stang. The ’73 had the longest bonnet (or hood to our Northern Hemispherical friends), and the styling looked surprisingly delicate next to the heavy-handed styling of the new muscle cars. It was the first time I’ve considered using the words “subtle” and “1973 Mustang” in the same sentence…
One of the nicest finds at the earlier Cambridge Carpark was a brilliant blue 1948 Nash Ambassador. Looking blinding in white, here’s its older sibling, the 1937 Lafayette 400, keeping
curblakeside company with a swamp-coolered Chev.
While we’re in the 1930s, this 1936 Dodge coupe moved me, as I owned a 1936 Touring Sedan from 1994-1999. Mine had been my late Grandfather’s since 1950, and it still saddens me that I had to sell it. As with every ’36 I’ve seen, this one’s lost the original crank handle slot cover – mine had a mint spare, makes me wish I kept it when I sold the car. My ’36 was burgundy, but the yellow on this one’s a lot brighter!
Equally bright, Mr Bond, was this iridescent blue NZ-new Aston Martin DBS! Not sure I’ve seen one in the metal before, but now I have, those park/indicator lights look suspiciously like Mk II Ford Cortina units to me! Gosh, if only there was some way to tell what year it was… 😉
Also feeling blue was this elderly Brit who’s lost his hat and was wearing his grandchild’s over-large shoes. Close examination showed that he didn’t possess a toupee either, so the poor old chap’s going to get mighty hot.
Next we sail back across the Atlantic to a January 1940 Ford Tudor V8. I love those taillights – they remind me of army stripes. I wonder if they and the wartime-esque colour were intentional, given WWII was underway? On the subject of wartime vehicles:
Dodge ¾ ton trucks were used by the American military in WWII; post-war they became known as the Power Wagon. This one, which I’ve named The Artful Dodger, was hitched to a vintage caravan, and started life as a 1950 model. I suspect there aren’t many of the 1950 parts remaining! Update: it has a 520hp Chev LS3 V8 under the hood!
Also haulin’ a vintage caravan was this 1966 Mk I Ford Cortina. It’s registered as a 1200cc, whereas the plain-jane 1963 model beside is the 1500. Given the additional cooling holes under the grille, I suspect “1200cc” refers to a 12A Mazda rotary transplant, now that would give it the dash to match its flash!
Another Ford of UK origin was this 1972 Mark I Ford Escort 1600GT. I have a soft spot for it, as my first car in 1991 was a 1971 Escort 1300XL. As with many teenage males, I fitted a stereo to mine that cost more than the car…ah to be young and dumb again! In an early display of my future Broughamitis I also fitted the velour interior from a Mk II Escort Ghia. I spent $5K on mine and sold it for $1K…ouch…
For many years, Mk I and II Escorts were the go-to first car for teenage Kiwi petrolheads, so they (the cars) often met a premature end in a cloud of smoke. Possibly while also upside down in a paddock, but I digress. Mind you, Ford assisted Escorts’ premature end by thoughtfully engineering planned-obsolescence into the Mk I. There’s a horizontal join on the firewall where it meets the scuttle, and this join has a fascinating tendency to split due to rust. When it does split, lifting the bonnet really high pulls the join apart enough to allow a glimpse of the interior. Don’t ask me how I know… But enough rambling, let’s rejoin (hah!) the rest of the cars. Right across from the Escort was this…er…um…anyone?
Well, it turns out this is a 1951 Allard P1 Roadster. That windscreen looks disproportionate to me, and the rear end features frenched Cadillac bullet taillights, so I suspect this has been somewhat customised from original. Update: it was NZ-new as a two door saloon, but badly damaged in a crash in 1955, and subsequently rebuilt in 1958 as a unique Roadster, similar to its current form.
Speaking of “Cadillac” and “customised”, here’s the ultimate factory-built custom, a 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Talisman. Update: the ’76 Talisman wasn’t available with the rear seat console. This specific car was discussed by the Cadlillac-La Salle forums in 2007 when it appeared on eBay, withe the suggestion being that this car may be a clone. Regardless, it’s simply spectacular!
This is the first Talisman I’ve seen in the
velvet metal, and oh, it was love at first sight! Get a load of that crushed velvet, that huge sunroof, that 1961 A55 Austin Cambridge:
The A55 Cambridge was the originator of the Austin ‘Farina’ colloquialism. I wonder how much was actually Pininfarina’s work and how much was tweaked by the Austin designers? I like the design, but do prefer the face-lifted A60 version with smaller fins.
Well folks, we’re nearly at the end of our ‘Everything Except The Aussies’ tour, but no car show would be complete without a VW Kombi, and here we have two for your Kombined delight! The sublimely cool pick-up was new here on 17 May 1962, and although a mid-70s immigrant, the van was also born in ’62 . Very nice pairing!
Well, I nearly made it back to my car, but en route I was stunned by this 1980 AMC Spirit. I’ve admired these from afar for years, but had never seen one in person until now. So was meeting one of my heroes a let-down or worth the wait? Well in this case I can say yes, totally worth it! It was smaller in person than I’d pictured from pictures, and the Armco barriers that pass for bumpers were distracting, but I liked it a lot and would happily have driven it home!
So that was Everything Except The Aussies, but there were loads of Australian-built cars attending, so tune in tomorrow for
CurbLakeside in Cambridge II – The Australian Alumni. Here’s a little something to help with the anticip……….ation: