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American Muscle Car Club invades Wanganui

11 April 2015

By 11am on April 5 the crowd had already started to form at Taupo Quay in Wanganui as spectators turned up to see the flood of American muscle that was due to invade the riverside for the monthly Petrolhead Breakfast.

However by twenty past eleven there was only a single classic Mustang, two of its modern brethren, and a Cadillac Fleetwood. Although the vehicles were shined up and drawing attention it was not the show everyone had rolled out of bed to see.

In the end it simply appeared that the American Muscle Car Club had decided to make an entrance and arrive fashionably late. This meant that the gleaming collection of bodywork and rumbling motors had to slowly make their way through the adoring crowd, but that certainly didn’t stop a few throttles being tapped to thrill the spectators.

The crowd appeared to make a few owners nervous as they stood to attention with their pride and joy, eyeballing any and all scratch merchants, while keeping a big, welcoming smile to all of the locals.

The convoy that rolled in was a fantastic mixture of old and new; classic Mustangs parked next to their predecessors and pristine Challengers followed in after their younger counterparts. It’s fair to say that at meets like this the classics tend to get the most attention. This however this was not the case when the arctic-white Corvette Stingray nonchalantly slipped its way in before a swarm of phone cameras caught up with it.

The local Wanganui Road Rodders Club also unleashed their best rides to accompany the hundred or so out-of-town visitors for this part of the journey. The most jaw-dropping edition was the Standox Bright Orange ’70 Ford Ranchero.

The owner, Rod ‘Ruffguts’ Sklenars, popped the bonnet to reveal a fuel-injected 5.0L Windsor from an EB XR8 Falcon lurking beneath, sat above front coils and rear leaf springs that have been lowered a full two inches. In addition, the EB gauge cluster has found its way into the Ranchero’s original dash and seamlessly integrates into the car’s modified interior.

The familiar sight and noise of Tristan Teki’s ’68 HK Monaro was parked towards the entrance and acted as a beacon for would-be onlookers and travellers. Venturing past the local icon the attendees’ eyes soon had to adjust to behold the luminous, lime green–coloured ’79 Cadillac DeVille, that hosted a controversially large sound system for a classic car.

The group certainly knew their cars and their audience and brought joy to the residents of Wanganui, as well as spreading the love to Gisborne, Tauranga, Rotorua, Napier/Hastings, Taupo, Wellington, and Hamilton.

It appeared that this convoy was hogging all of the motoring joy that day as just down the road was a Mark III, Ford Capri that had decided to catch fire while the weekend toy was in use, taking out some shrubbery in the process. Unlucky for some, but lucky for any other road users that day who got to see the shiny convoy.