Kiwi Car Culture

[By Murray Dewhurst in Auckland]  

It’s official, Aucklander’s are car mad (no wonder we have such monumental traffic jams — the state of Auckland’s roads and lack of public transport are evidence of that – but that’s a story for another day). 

Over our summer I visited several local car shows, both with extremely different car cultures. These top two sketches were done at the Kumeu Classic Car and Hot Rod Show. Kumeu is out on the western fringe of Auckland, the so called land of the Westie. It’s the ideal setting for a weekend of car culture. Car culture as in custom cruisers, low riders, rat rods, hot rods, hot dogs and custom pin striping. 

It’s a very down to earth scene, we arrived around 10am and it was already time to get your shirt off, show off your fresh ink and take your favourite brew for a walk around the thousands of cars on display. The intriguing thing is that despite the rustic appearance that is on display on a human level, the money and effort put into the cars themselves is on a very different level. 

We had a great time, the young fella had a blast on the go karts, ate his fill of hot dogs, and I sketched the ’56 Chev at the top and this pale blue FC Holden Station Sedan. This is a beaut Aussie classic and this one hasn’t been restored, but even better it’s in really good authentic original condition.

A few weeks later we were at the Ellerslie Intermarque Concours and Classic Car Show. The culture here is supposedly a bit more high-brow, so for the most part, everyone keeps their shirt on. At the end of the day though, and despite what anyone says they’re really just the same petrol heads as you see at Kumeu!

The object of the concours game is to enter your car in the finest condition as possible. Entrants earn points for originality and condition and many of the cars on show are in much better condition than the day they left the showroom.

Ian, right, explained the ins and outs of restoring his Armstrong Siddeley Typhoon while I sketched. Owners are a resourceful bunch who do much of the work themselves to avoid costs getting completely out of hand.

Bergerac style Triumph Roadster

Car clubs can also enter for the team prize. A theme is set every year and this years theme was ‘A classic day at the races’ so clubs set themselves
up with a race paddock theme.

I particularly liked the
Monte Carlo rally winning Mini Cooper above and the Renault Gordini
below it, both looking decidedly hard case with their big bug eyes.

Amongst the mind boggling selection of cars on display was the very
cool 1904 Darracq as part of the Vintage Car Club display. Apparently
Darracqs were a popular choice for early kiwi drivers. 

Gotta love the fins on the PA and PB Vauxhalls!

Holden had a superb team display, with an EK, a GTR XU-1 Torana and these two beauties – an electric blue ’69 Monaro and a pale yellow FJ…


Well that’s it for this years big shows. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s on show next year!


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