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Upper Hutt goes all-American

2 March 2017


Over the 2017 Waitangi weekend, February 4–6, a mate called on me and two others to help him shift a garden shed in his backyard. What he didn’t tell us was that the thing weighed about the same as the Picton Ferry, and that it needed to go up a steep slope on its way to its final resting place. A bit of Kiwi ingenuity, brute strength,nd visions of slaves moving blocks for the Egyptian pyramids and we were done care of a round fence post, and a round of beers.

That same weekend was the Moonshine Rod and Custom Club’s annual American Vehicle Day at Trentham Racecourse. This year’s event was focused on raising money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation, a great cause.

The gates opened at 10am and a huge crowd showed up to see the vast turnout of cars and motorbikes, with live entertainment and stalls for food and V8-related product.

The weather was perfect — hot and still — a rare thing given the summer Wellington had had leading up to the event had been windy, cold, and wet. No one seemed to mind the sunburn that was lurking, and the cars looked their best shining under the rays, which resulted in the helicopter that was taking people for rides doing a roaring trade.

The same number-eight-wire thinking that helped move that shed was very evident in many of the cars on display. Whether it was restored beauties, restomods, or just upgrades at a budget, the Kiwi can-do attitude was alive and well. 

Some of the vehicles that took my, and many of the crowd’s, interest were a restored 1957 Studebaker truck and a lime-green customized 1973 Buick convertible. 

Also showing their lines were a pair of Chev Impala coupes, one from 1959 and the other from 1960. Both were in amazing condition and great examples of that fun era. Adjacent was an immaculate 1956 Chev in original condition, in baby blue. 

A black take on the General Lee, with matt paint and formalized 01 on the door, also caught the imagination of the punters as they circulated the hundreds of cars on display. 

Mustangs were also numerous including a rare 1969 Shelby and a 2016 Roush.

The car that caught my attention, and that I had never seen before, was a two-door 1956 Pontiac Star Chief. It was very straight and its chrome strips and bumper were like brand new. The paintwork was matt black with a shiny metallic black roof. The car was lowered and sat on whitewalls and original hubcaps. The stance and 1950s chrome look, along with the matt paint, made this car really stand out.

Another great day organized by the Moonshine Club.