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Day five of Repco Beach Hop 15

2 April 2015


The final day of Repco Beach Hop 15 was a good one. The Ford NZ Reserve would be holding the Century Batteries Top 10 Shootout — the top five cars, top three bikes, and top two caravans facing off to decide the top vehicle of each category. Adding to it was the inclusion of tot rods in this year’s Top 10 Shootout, with Kennedy Wylie’s cool Cadillac pedal car making the cut. 

Rather understandably, Queensland’s Nigel Sheiles made the Top 10. His incredible 1952 Chev Sedan Delivery was surrounded by admirers for the duration of Repco Beach Hop 15, so his making the cut was almost a given — all that being said, it is a truly fantastic piece of machinery, and got there all on its own merit. If you ever get the chance to see it in the flesh, don’t pass it up, as it is that amazing. Nigel (left) is pictured here with the bloke behind the build, ‘Juice’ Kelly.

Also pretty predictable was Johnny and Danielle Burkhart’s 1969 Plymouth Road Runner. The huge power car runs a 550ci Hemi with F2 Procharger bolted to the side. It’s currently producing 1300hp on low boost and pump gas. When Johnny says it’s yet to have a high boost tune on E85, you can be assured of one thing — the ‘1600HP’ number plate is going to be absolutely spot on, if not even a bit low!

Trevor Halstead’s beautiful apricot-hued Studebaker Starlight has once more made it. Nothing has changed on the car, and it still looks as good as the day we featured it a few years ago. The car runs a 490ci big block Chev, with a finely smoothed and polished engine bay, and unbelievably well-upholstered interior.

One the opposite end of the size spectrum, David and Jenny Miles had their 1942 GMC CCW log–hauler out to play. David learned to drive in one of these, although it’s a fairly safe bet it wasn’t anywhere near as nice. The paintwork is immaculate, custom touches abound, and under the bonnet lies a fuel-injected Holden 304 V8 mated to the original five-speed crash box. If big is good, then this must be the best!

Nearly as big as the log hauler was Kaylam Singh’s cool 1964 Pontiac Laurentian. An old family heirloom, purchased brand new by his grandfather, Kaylam has transformed it into the show–stopper that it is today, thanks to help from his father, Kalvin, and brother, Sunil. The car runs a hot small block making 500hp, sits low on airbag suspension, and has possibly the most lavish interior to have been seen at Repco Beach Hop 15.

As far as the bikes went, Carie McCarthy was back again with his 2013 Misfit Chopper. The bike is big, at three metres in length, and runs a 124ci Evo S&S motor, but its presence is second to none (except maybe the aforementioned log–hauler). 

Also returning to the Top 10 was Bruce Sharpe with his 2010 Custom Bobber. This is actually the third time in a row that Bruce has made it here, though his first two featured radical differences following a major rebuild. This time around, his bike was as we saw it last year, but still undeniably incredible. 

In the third corner was the dark horse of this particular competition, Faye Jackson, on her custom trike. After winning the 2011 Top Bike award hands down, she just didn’t feel right about it.

“You shouldn’t win a Beach Hop award on a Suzuki,” she said. Maybe she’s right, but it doesn’t matter, because she’s done something about it. On the ride home from that Beach Hop, she already started sketching designs for an all new trike. Her husband, Neil, was enlisted to do all the fabrication work, and this is the result. It is a truly spectacular piece of machinery, with a real old-world look to it, thanks to the complimenting matte-black paint, stained wood, and copper accents. 

Rex and Jenny Moyle were one half of the Top Caravan section. They had a Custom Teardrop, designed and built by Rex from the ground up. Aluminium and stained wood feature heavily, and it has been nicknamed the ‘Turkey Lounge’ in honour of Rex’s favourite whisky. It is a truly spectacular piece of craftsmanship, but also a perfectly functional caravan, too. With such a strong effort from the Moyles, the other would need to be pretty damn special!

Mike Wells built his ‘Get Rhythm’ caravan up from a sorry state, found in the depths of Tauranga, into the masterpiece seen here. It features beautifully functioning everything, a custom matching ‘Get Rhythm’ scooter and mannequin, and not only does he use it for its intended purpose, but it also doubles as a mobile party zone.

With such strong competition making this year’s Century Batteries Top 10 Shootout, it was anyone’s guess who’d take it out. With voting done by the public via donation into a bin for each vehicle, the vehicle that raised the most money would be crowned top of its category. All proceeds go towards the Whangamata Surf Life Savers Club, which is a very nice gesture.

Top Car went to Nigel Sheiles’ 1952 Chev Delivery — though the competition was tough, we can’t argue with that decision, as it is a stunner. Top Bike went to Faye Jackson’s custom trike, and Mike Wells’ ‘Get Rhythm’ was deemed Top Caravan. A great result all around, and with that out of the way, the crowds began to thin, and Repco Beach Hop 15 slowly wrapped up.

A massive thanks must go to Noddy Watts for organizing the event, and all the sponsors and volunteers that came on board to make it happen — here’s to Beach Hop 16, may it be be the biggest and best yet!