Curbside Outtakes: New Zealand Never Disappoints

I’ve posted previously from trips to New Zealand, during which I captured various curbside and museum sightings of note. We’ve recently returned from another visit and, whilst I didn’t focus as much on the modern metal, there were some interesting curbside finds most definitely worth sharing with fellow Curbivores. So, in no particular order, let’s amble about two of the most striking islands you’ll ever see.

How about a 1952 Standard Vanguard Phase 1? This was a car designed as much for Empire and Commonwealth markets as it was for the home market.

Somehow, looking at it, naming it after the Royal Navy’s last battleship seems appropriate. Apparent also is the American influenced styling, allegedly honed by Standard-Triumph’s stylists sketching whilst watching cars come and go outside the US Embassy in London.

Also from 1952 was this Bedford K series truck, now being used on the street of a dock area of Oaramu to promote a collectables retail venture. I suspect the chassis was built in the UK and the body, and the later replacement one, built locally.

This is a 1954 Wolseley 6/80 – six cylinders, 80 bhp. The car was launched in 1948, alongside the visually similar Morris Minor and Oxford. The 6/80 and its Morris Six twin were long wheelbase six cylinder versions of the Morris Oxford and Wolseley 4/50, with all the difference being ahead of the windscreen.

2.2 litres, 80 bhp and almost 80 mph, and popular with the UK police at the time, even if most sales were exports.

Sitting alongside the Wolseley was this 1957 Vauxhall Cresta, possibly assembled in Australia.

According to the note in the window, Jim is working to restore this car. All he needs are some driving lights, hub caps, a Cresta badge and lighter. If you have anything…..

Or how about a 1964 Ford Fairlane 500, from Australia. Looking from Europe, Fairlane history seems a bit complex – the first Australian cars, in 1959, were actually versions of 1957 Canadian cars and the 1962-1965 cars were based on the American Fairlane.

This car is a 1964 built example, imported to New Zealand in 2021, with a 4.7 litre V8. That January sun shows that blue off well too.

Sometimes, when you see a Curbside Classic, you have to check your watch to make sure you can still catch your train or get to lunch. Once in a while though, you have to check your calendar – this Mercedes-Benz 190B is nearly 64 years old but looks showroom fresh.

According to the usual sources, it was imported to New Zealand new in June 1960. If you told me it hadn’t been out in the rain since, I’d probably believe you. But by 1993, it had done 190,000 miles (or maybe km – it’s not clear. New Zealand went metric in 1976). Usage now is much lower.

Something in this condition is rarely seen outside a museum; this one was actually outside the excellent Southwards Car Museum on New Zealand’s North Island.

Something most British visitors would probably recognise very quickly – a 1982 Ford Cortina 2.0 Ghia saloon. Many would call this a Cortina Mk 5, but Ford actually called it the Cortina 80 when it was launched in late 1979. In Europe, it was better known as the Taunus TC3. A 2.0 Ghia saloon was, in 1980, a symbol to the neighbours that you were doing “OK, thanks”. Chances are that the car was your employer’s and given to you as part of your salary package, and renewed every two or three years.

Next step would have been a Granada or perhaps a Rover 2300, unless you succumbed to the attractions of a German car. Choosing a Japanese car in that sphere of the market at the time was a big step, and almost unheard of for a manufacturing business.  This car has been gentled personalised, with the window louvres and sheepskin seat covers; a UK market car would have had a tilt and slide sunroof as well.

And to finish, something even more British than the Cortina – a 1978 MGB with some extensive modifications.

The wheel arches and stripes are obvious, as well as the lack of bumpers and tailored mirrors. What you can’t see is a 3.9litre engine, most likely a version of the Rover (née Buick) 3.5 litre V8, which was a mainstay of the British low volume sports car industry for many years.

Drop tops seem to be relatively rare in New Zealand, among both new and older cars. We saw just a few MX-5s and a couple of Jaguar XK8s, and felt the sun a lot stronger than in northern Europe, which may be the reason.

And some unfamiliar road signs.