Car Show Classics: Curbside in Cambridge Part I – The Swapmeet


(welcome our newest Contributor Scott McPherson aka NZ Skyliner)   As the Northern Hemisphere draws closer to winter, summer is seductively beckoning in the Other Hemisphere.  Down here in the land of New Zea, spring and summer means an increase in car swapmeets and shows.  Since 17 year old NZ Skyliner, known as Scott McPherson to family, got my first car (1971 Ford Escort) in 1991, I frequented three of NZ’s best annual swapmeets for years.  Unfortunately life got in the way over the last four years, as my daily 280km (!) round trip commute to and from work left me tired and stressed, and not remotely interested in driving to swapmeets in weekends.  But let’s fast forward to today…

I was made redundant in August this year, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I now have a new job 1.2km from my house, so I walk to and from work every day, and have real weekends again!  And what better to do this past Sunday than to trot along to the Cambridge Swapmeet in Cambridge, New Zealand, 25km from my house.

Most Kiwi car swapmeets have the usual mix of cars, car parts, other motoring-related items and household tat.  There’s a core of hardened enthusiasts who hate household tat being present, and I tend to agree with them.  Then again, I saw many families where Dad was drooling over an elderly car or parts thereof, and Mum looked reasonably content clutching a large potted plant and woollen slippers (“Buy two, get a third free!”).

As with most swapmeets and shows, the best cars are often parked curbside, so let’s have a look at what came out to play for this year’s Cambridge Swapmeet!


Upon parking the ol’ Nissan (not the Silvia in the photo!), I was immediately rewarded with a 1971 Ford Torino opposite.  As well as the bonnet shaker, it had a bonnet-mounted tacho – the first one I’ve seen in the metal (plastic?).


But can you see it in the rain?

A few metres up the road was a very low lime green station wagon I couldn’t identify from behind:



The front looked familiar, and a rego check revealed it started life as a Studebaker.


The aliens are coming…

Now heavily customised by a Studebaker collector, further internettory research revealed it apparently sits on a 1947 Champion chassis, and includes modified panels from 1950-9 Studebakers – a certain Jonny Cash song springs to mind…!   Motivating it is a big block 427 Chev V8.  Sure would give it the ‘go’ to match its ‘show’!


Right outside the Swapmeet entrance, I was wondering why someone had parked an old Austin 1100 on the verge?  They’re not rare or, it could be argued,  even desirable!  However as I got closer it turned out to be the very rare MG version.  Ok, I forgive it for parking on the verge then.  Still an 1100 though, so no powerhouse…  NZ-new on 23 September 1964, and still very tidy inside and out, it’s great it survived, if only to remind us that MG wasn’t just about desirable sporting cars…


Moving inside the gate revealed a rather splendid 1977 Lincoln Mark V “Givenchy” edition, replete with 460 delicious cubic inches of V8 and enormous factory glass sunroof.  I like sunroofs, especially when applied to such a gloriously excessive car!


Lincoln gets photo-bombed by elderly Vauxhall looking for love.

Moving along I admired several rarities – including a Standard Vanguard factory ute and a 14,000ml-from-new Ford Anglia.  Then, hang on, what on earth is this?


The horse has bolted!

CCers better versed in American car history than I will recognise it as an 1899 Stanley Steamer – what a find!  I can’t even begin to fathom how the engine (?) works but it sure is shiny!


Pimpin’ my ride with bling, 1899 styles yo.

That it’s in perfect working order and fully road legal was even more surprising – as was the owner saying he drove it regularly too.  He then demonstrated by firing (?) it up and driving it to the other side of the venue.   Electric cars pfffft, steam’s the past and the future!


Oh look at this!  No, not the Honda CR-V, the factory RHD 1928 Packard 526 Tourer!  First registered here on 01 January 1928, and still looking superb nearly 86 years later.  Hope I look that good at that age!


Next I was really taken with this 1930s art-deco looking pick up, complete with rear wheel spats!  The for-sale sign on the windscreen stated it was a 1939 Plymouth “Truck”, one of just 50 factory RHD versions out of a total 6,218 built.  It came to NZ in 1999 from South Africa, and looked to be still capable of regular use.  I liked it a lot, but for NZ$27,500 it’s a little lottle outside my price range.


As I walk out the gate, here’s a car close to Kiwi Bryce’s heart: a 1961 Hillman Minx.  Unusual paint and wheels for a Minx but it looks pretty darn good don’t you think?  The orange XB Ford Falcon GT351 behind it was gorgeous too, as was the black S-series Australian-built Valiant across the road.

I can see the car-parking paddocks from here, looks like a lot of great finds cooing my name, so stay tuned for Curbside in Cambridge Part II – The Carpark!