Car Show Classics: Curbside in Cambridge Part II – The Carpark Tales


A tale of tails.


Greetings fellow CCers, and thank you for all the kind words after my contributorial debut earlier this week!

When we last spoke, I was chatting about last weekend’s Swapmeet in Cambridge, New Zealand.  To briefly recap, I wandered  the venue (twice!) taking photos and buying a stack of 1970s Lada, Skoda and Hyundai (remember the Pony?) brochures, and a ‘Prince’ grille badge (Prince created the immortal Skyline and became part of Nissan in the 1960s).  But after a couple hours, my keen eye and keener iPhone camera were, um, keen to head out to the carpark to see what vehicular treasures keenly awaited.   And I didn’t even get to the car park entrance before classics parked curbside began to captivate me with their alluring charms!



“Behind youuuuuuu…”

Immediately after the Minx in the Part I post, I was rewarded with the multi-cultural view above – an ’85 Rover 3500 looking regal in red, a black 1940 Chev Tudor, and a white car with a weird window accessory.  Oh, and a tiny bit of Mitsi Outlander that looked like a formless amoeba compared with the afore-mentioned delights.


I believe the white car with the weird window accessory is a 1938 Pontiac, and after googling “big pipe thing hanging out of old car window”, I now know the thing in the window is a ‘swamp cooler’.  Apparently it’s some sort of pre-a/c cooling device – has anyone here had experience with these?  Are they effective?  Probably doesn’t matter if it works or not, as it lends an air of unspeakable cool (puns intended) to the big ol’ Ponti’.


Moving along, I actually managed to enter the car park, and awaiting me was this white-walled RHD ‘38 ’39 Mercury in the company of a chrome-walled LHD ‘87 El Camino.  It was mentioned on CC recently that El Caminos are everywhere; as evidence may I present Exhibit A?  And just for you Minx fans, there’s a white and green Minx sneaking into the background!


“Would you like ham with your mustard?”

On a couple of CC posts recently, the 2600cc version of the very handsome SD1 Rover was mentioned.  Above is a ’78 2600 in glorious mustard.  The odometer read 97,000km, and it’s travelled just 18,000km in the last 18 years, so is probably someone’s cherished Sunday driver.


If you put your ear to it you can hear the ocean.

Immaculate inside and out, it’s an excellent example of BL’s superb panel fits.  Oh, wait, that’s wrong, the gaps between the front and rear doors were large enough to stick a finger in on both sides of the car, and I could easily read the service stickers on the jam…

Plenty of later Rover SD1s in the carpark and curbside indicated that BL tightened (literally) their standards over time.  I imagine if they were still building SD1s today, the panel gaps would be almost perfect!   Just along from the 2600 in another gap (ha!) was an interesting study of contrasts: a 1968 Ford Anglia alongside a recently-immigrated 1954 Buick Roadmaster convertible.


14 years separates these two, but their respective design ethoses (ethoi?) are separated by more than time.  Meanwhile, what’s that in the corner with the wonky wipers?


Why, it’s a February 1961 Dodge Pioneer with 176,000miles on the odometer.  A quick rego check shows it ran up 61,611 of those miles by August 1966 but took until May 1995 to achieve 167,000.  It’s NZ-new and factory RHD so I guess it’s a Canadian-built Plodge?  I’m sure someone in CC-land will know for sure!  EDIT – MCT did indeed know; see his post in the comments below – thanks for the interesting info MCT!  Obviously a much-loved survivor, I wonder what tales it would tell?  On the subject of tales and tails…:


Big Blue Boat.

Isn’t she a beauty!  I love that tail, such a contrast to the ’76 Mini van in the next row over:


Baby Blue Bath-toy.

Going by the front door handles, this lil’ Min’ might be the Australian-built model.  Fun fact: the Mini fits in the Pioneer’s boot.  Probably.  While we’re telling tales, here’s another interesting example: a NZ-new RHD Studebaker Cruiser – although the rego said it’s a ’66, not a ’65 as claimed by the number plate.  EDIT – it was first registered on 01 January 1966, so would indeed be a 1965.


Hey! hey! Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1965…

As well as twin exhausts it also sports twin ‘Cruiser’ badges for double the cruising fun!  Speaking of cruising fun, is that an Aussie-built Valiant coupe lurking to the right of it?


Big green mean machine!

Yes it is!  A 1970 Chrysler Valiant Regal, powered by the 318 V8.  Looks pretty original too; some very nice lines there.  There are also some very nice lines on this:


Another NZ-new survivor out to play for the day, a 1948 Nash Ambassador.  Despite styling that screams “I’m pre-war and proud of it!”, it’s a great looker – that chrome is brilliant.  Literally!


There were plenty of shiny bits in the interior too – this was my favourite interior of the day.


And here’s another nice shiny classic, a Honda Accord Euro wagon!  Pity I couldn’t get a clear shot, what with that 1968 Series V Sunbeam Alpine GT in the way…   On a serious note, this Alpine, featuring Hillman’s famed 1725cc motor, is one of 19,122 built.  I wonder how many survive today?


I really need to get going, but had to stop for this 1939 De Soto Deluxe with the Niedermeyeresque red wheels.  I thought only the ’39 Dodges had those square headlights, but this De Soto is NZ-new RHD, so maybe Plodges were being built for us then too?  Although rather than a Plodge maybe it’d be a De Odge?  Ply Soto?  De Mouth?  Whatever, it was in beautiful order inside and out.


Are you sure you’re not a Mk II Ford Zephyr with a tail-lift?

By now, the sun was hot and my face was getting sunburned, so definitely time to head back to the car.  And I nearly made it until I spotted a black something in the distance…  As I got closer I thought it was a customised Mk II Ford Zephyr, until…aha!



It’s a 1955 Willys Custom Delux 2.6 litre, and in absolutely beautiful condition!  I’ve seen a green one, but this looks so much better in black – the chrome details really ‘pop’.  I was actually quite taken with the whole car – particularly the hood ornament which appears to be Perspex?


A nice green interior for Tom Klockau!

The interior was very attractive too – amazing how a bit of colour can make something so plain look interesting.

Well dear CCers, that marks the end of the Cambridge Curbside Classics, and as I headed back to my car, I was very thankful for several things: thankful for being made redundant from a job that was killing me, thankful I got a new job close to home that allows me weekends, thankful to the owners of all these surviving classics, and most of all, thankful for CC for the delight and joy it never ceases to bring!  I look forward to giving back through future posts.