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Day two of Repco Beach Hop 15

31 March 2015


Day two of Repco Beach Hop 15 kicked off as usual, with a mass gathering at the Ford NZ Reserve prior to the cruise to the Repco Tairua Beach Party. As always, the earlier you arrive, the closer to the front you are, and the better spot you end up in once the convoy hits Tairua.

No matter what time you arrived though, entrants were greeted with the ever-happy faces of the Repco girls.  

Amongst the thousand-odd vehicles that were present, it was great to catch up with Frazer McKenzie and daughter Sophie, whose hand-built Eleanor we featured late last year in NZV8. The car was looking as good as ever and had a crowd around it at all times.

Once the clock struck 10am, the cruise was off, heading for Tairua, which was some 35km away. The 1950 Mercury Coupe giveaway car led the way.

One of the cool things about cruises like this is the amount of people you see along the way. The whole community comes out to support the event and check out the cars. We can only guess that there were some sore arms at the end of the day from all the waving.

Another thing cool to witness is the variety of cars that Repco Beach Hop brings out. Supercharged, nitrous-injected, big block–powered Chev Nova anyone?

At the other end of the horsepower scale, we loved the look of this mobility scooter–powered tot rod, driven by two-year-old Cadel Sutton of Taranaki.

While Cadel’s car turned heads, there wasn’t a car at the event that was more talked about than Johnny and Danielle Burkhart’s Plymouth Road Runner (see the full feature in the next issue of NZV8 Issue No. 120). No matter where we went, people were discussing it, all agreeing they had nailed the build.

It wasn’t the only Mopar attracting attention though. Phil Kenny’s Challenger, which graced our cover just a few months ago, was also getting plenty of attention.

Another Mopar turning heads was this 408 (440-based) Cuda. It’s hard to make a white car stand out, but the owner of this one certainly hit the mark.

Speaking of hitting the mark, it was great to see Con Bentley’s ‘Valgas’ Valiant gasser still looking just as good as the day it debuted. Word has it his next car is now well under way too, and is set to be just as impressive.

Catching not only our attention, but that of many others as well was the 1960 Chev Bel Air that was driven up from Christchurch. There’s a W-block under the hood backed by a four-speed manual. How cool is that!

Speaking of big block Chevs, we knew we needed to take a closer look at this 454-powered Chev Nomad as soon as we laid eyes on it. The build had been completed just the day before the event started. We’ll bring you a full feature on it over the next few months, as we assure you it’ll blow your mind.

Willy Pelzers’ Chev cab-over was also looking great, this year complete with matching caravan and roadster strapped to the back. Apparently if Willy had a dollar for everyone who asked to get their car on the back of it, he’d be able to build it all over again.

Beach Hop isn’t just about the cool cars though, it’s as much about the people. And you’d be hard-pressed to find a nicer guy to catch up with than Alex Ross. His always immaculate 1959 Chev is decked out with all manner of accessories, including this amazing picnic set-up. With this, it’s easy to see why he was one of the last to leave when the day came to an end, and everyone headed back for Whangamata.

Look out for more galleries over the coming days, and dont forget you can pre-order your copy of our 112-page Beach Hop Annual 2015, which comes complete with DVD by calling 0800 727 574 or by hitting this link.