Ten years on and still going strong, the Stragglers Car Club seem to have hit on the winning recipe with their annual charity car show, which was held on Sunday, November 22 at Lake Karapiro. The event raised money for various charity groups that focus on children in need. It was a low-key day where you hung out with your mates and looked at some cool vehicles — no prizes, no bullshit, just a fun day out with a heap of like-minded folk. 

After outgrowing their original venue at the Lake Te Ko Utu Domain in central Cambridge, many wondered if moving what was always an intimate event, with limited space, to such a massive sprawling reserve would work, but it did! This is an event that goes from strength to strength, and not even the shocking thunderstorms and torrential rain the night before put off the Karapiro faithful. Sure the wind may have been roaring through the trees, pushing the last of the rain away when the first of us arrived, but the day soon cleared and by 8am the cars were pouring in.  

One of many new cars debuting at the event was Paula and Craig Jamieson’s, who made the maiden voyage over from Mt Maunganui in their immaculate 1955 Packard 400, towing the equally gorgeous 1970 Oxford ‘Memphis Belle’. Caravan aficionados may have spotted the caravan at Beach Hop earlier this year where Paula and Craig had her on show, and they now have the perfect tow car too. The Packard only had its tow bar fitted two days before the event, laughing that apparently there wasn’t one in stock so it had to be made. But the trip over the Kaimais was made with ease, so we can expect to see a lot more of them at events.    

Someone attending with a not-so-new car was Hamilton’s Pete Hebditch, cruising in in a ’57 Bel Air that he has owned since he was 20, which is apparently 20-plus years ago. A few changes have been made over the years, but with the ever-reliable small block and auto, it makes for a great family cruiser that is perfect for days like this. That’s the beauty of the Stragglers Charity Car Show, it’s not all about having the flashiest car around — just bring what you have and enjoy the day.  

As with previous years there was no need for a big advertising campaign for the event, such is its popularity. A poster on social media and wagging tongues soon put the word out and people turned up from all over the country — and even a couple over from Australia — such is the reputation of the event. There were fears that the Petrolhead Father’s Day Drags, held the same date, would keep a lot of people away, yet the reserve seemed just as full as previous years with more than 1200 vehicles almost filling the venue to capacity. 

If the Stragglers can put together a show with this sort of growth on a weekend with competing events and ominous weather we can’t wait to see what they can manage in the future! 

Kevin Shaw

Kevin Shaw loves most forms of motorsport, having had a crack at rally driving, drag racing, and four-wheel driving over the years. Over the years he has owned a diverse mix of vehicles from Range Rovers to T-buckets. While awestruck by the power vehicles in the import scene can make, he still prefers an old V8, and he currently drives a ’56 Bel Air that is an old New Zealand–new survivor, which sometimes tows a 1969 Concord caravan that is currently being restored. Also in the shed is a BB Chev-powered 1926 T roadster pickup, which is a long-term project hiding in the back of the shed. In my professional life I have spent 20 years in IT, 10 years as a self-employed builder, and my day job now is in operations / fleet management looking after 400-plus trucks around New Zealand. I've been a contributor to NZV8 since 2010.