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Autorama goes off: 2015 Mount Shop Rod & Custom Autorama

13 July 2015


Running an indoor car show is a big risk, especially when you’re aiming as high as organizers Greg and Rebecca Stokes were. Their inaugural event, the 2015 Mount Shop Rod & Custom Autorama, was held over the weekend of July 11–12 and, despite being up against various hurdles, it was a massive success.

Seventy of the country’s finest cars were in attendance, all polished to perfection, yet there was no traditional judging as such. Instead, the event’s sponsors all got their own pick, not of what car they necessarily thought was the best, but what they’d prefer to take home. It was a great theory, as it meant there could be no arguments — and as Greg mentioned during prize-giving, he was off the hook if anyone was upset about it.

Amongst the cars on display were a number of ex-NZV8 feature cars, such as Ron Amstad’s Chev coupe.

As the shot above shows, it wasn’t just hot rods though, as the vehicles ranged from American muscle, to cruisers, rods, customs, and everything in-between. The two different styles of flame paint you see here are just a small example of the differences between the cars that had been hand selected to attend.

With such a variety, it was hard to pick what vehicles stood out above the rest — especially as the quality across the board was very high. We’re always fans of this 1960 Pontiac Bonneville though.

With 2015 being the 50th anniversary of the 1940 Ford, there was a dedicated area set aside just for those vehicles, and even within this, the cars varied greatly. Take, for example, the patinated coupe of Chris Hornblow compared to David Brown’s billet-wearing machine next to it. 

The Smyth family have a fleet of cool cars, and that now extends to the next generation, with young Couper Smyth’s pedal car being displayed next to grandad Raymond’s dragster. At the far end of the hall was his daughter Rachelle’s impressive coupe.

No car could drop as many jaws as John Allen’s amazing machine. Just look at the work in those exhausts and how tidy the undercarriage is. Our guess is that if it were a show judged in the traditional manner, then this thing would be very hard to beat. In saying that, Bruce Carter’s ’33 Tudor was looking great too, despite having travelled 33,000 miles since it was completed — that’s a real testament to not only its owner, but also to its builder.

Speaking of which, that builder, Rods by Reid (RBR), were being honoured at the event as Builder of the Year, and as such, had the gathering of the most RBR cars ever in one place. While there are certainly similarities between them, they’re all very different cars. Here’s John Reid’s personal pickup, which is nearing completion.

Even amongst the other RBR cars, there was something about this ’33 Coupe that made it stand out. We were blown away when we found out it was completed 15 years ago! 

At the fresher end of the scale was Nick Hall’s Matamata Panelworks–built Mustang, which we featured in NZV8 a few months back. The car still looks as good as the day it was completed, and still impresses us with its engine bay.

But once Brett Walker’s ’69 is completed, we’ll say Nick’s in for some real competition, as this thing is incredible. It was the one car that was talked about more than any other, with everyone saying how much they loved it.

The Art Morrison chassis it sits on is a work of art, but it’s really the work that Brett has done to it himself at home that sets this thing apart. We’ll put it out there now that this will be one of the best — if not the best — muscle cars ever built in this country when it hits the road. 

Speaking of muscle, Vince Lettice’s ’69 Camaro always looks great with its in-your-face paint finish, and looking at it, you’d never know that it, too, was built (and painted) in a suburban two-car garage.

The battle for best Camaro is a tough one though, and while Vince didn’t take home any awards for his efforts, his friend, and fellow Camaro owner, John Poulton did — and not just a sponsor’s choice award, either. He also took the outright People’s Choice award — a massive achievement. 

Adam Browne’s Commodore has been around the scene for years now, but its retro pro-touring look has recently been ditched for a different style, and the crowd loved it. The new wheels and scoop really added to its sinister look. 

Of course it wasn’t just the cars that were impressive, but the trade stands too, such as local West Auckland business Al’s Blower Drives, who were doing their bit to support the event, and in turn the Cancer Society, to whom proceeds from the event were going towards.

Huge congratulations must go out to all involved for running such a great event. We’ll bring you a full report on it in Issue No. 124 of NZV8 magazine. It’ll be the issue with this tough Thunderbolt on the cover. Judging by how much attention the car was getting at the show, it seems everyone’s keen to find out more about it.