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Bay of Plenty Vintage Car Club Car Show and Swap Meet


Campervan 1930 style, Ford AA


Want coal or grain urgently? 1929 Chrysler Fargo Express


Oldest in show, 1910 Hupmobile 20


Vauxhall’s big, powerful PB Velox saloon from 1964

Some of the rose fanciers wandering in the Municipal Rose Gardens under the watchful eye of Ceres, the God of Plenty, seemed oblivious to the event taking place right next door in plain view. It may well be, of course, that not everyone was besotted by an eye-watering collection of vehicles on display at the most spectacular location for a Vintage Car Club in New Zealand, if not the world. Happily, many besotted people did come along on Sunday, November 9 to the VCC show. The VCC clubrooms and grounds are on what used to be the old bowling greens next door to the rose gardens on the cliff top, with a spectacular view of Tauranga’s waterfront and harbour. The only downside to occupying such a prime spot is that other organizations covet it. Jim Smylie, Tauranga VCC president, explained that the club is reminded of its insecurity of tenure each time a proposal comes from the City Council to put the site to ‘better use’, such as a museum or car park. Jim paid tribute to the sponsorship in the form of extensive advertising of the event provided by the Bay of Plenty Times, and also to members of the club who turned out en masse the previous day to make sure the club rooms and grounds were ready for the big day. He especially wanted to thank John Payne, prime mover and event organizer, whose accident prevented him from being there to witness the successful outcome of his hard work. As usual your correspondent omitted to count the number of vehicles on display. No matter, because at this event numbers are measured by how full the bowling greens are. Backing up president Jim’s estimate that attendance was up this year there was one more row than last year, with space left for maybe one more to be squeezed in next year. Among the vehicles on display were those belonging to Jack Hoven, a founding branch member from 56 years ago, who displayed his two Studebakers: his 1963 Lark Cruiser and 1918 Tourer. Other vehicles which stood out for reasons of age, rarity or condition, or all three, were the 1910 Hupmobile 20, Laurie O’Connell’s been-everywhere 1956 Vauxhall Cresta, a 1934 Railton Terraplane and, even seeing the ‘light,’ a 1973 Mazda Luce RE12. But it is unfair to pick out only these, as there were many more that if space had allowed would also have deserved a mention. The only thing left to do to round out a perfect day, one when sunnies rather than rose-tinted spectacles were advisable, was to sample the spectacular home cooking provided at reasonable prices by some very talented cooks. Naturally this led to the sausage sizzle at which the guys would cook you whatever combo of sausage, bread, onions, and sauce you desired. Sitting and consuming our carb-loaded lunch while observing the friendly crowds still busy swapping and selling, and the rows of gleaming machinery with the still waters of the harbour glittering in the background, we couldn’t help reflecting that this surely must be the best car show and swap meet in the world.

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