A gathering of like-minded individuals congregated on the morning of Saturday, February 7 in Feilding, Manuwatu for the annual All Aussie Car Day. As the gates were flung open at 9am, the queue of cars began to file in, along with a healthy collection of spectators and admirers.

Variety was delivered in spades, especially with something a little different in attendance —  Australia’s very first Nascar racer ever built. The car’s current owner, Steve Knight, “married a New Zealand chick” and not so long ago she decided it was time to move back home, so the Holden Calibra was packaged into a container and shipped to rural Levin.

Built to contest the 1996–’97 Australian season, this was unfortunately the only season the car ever competed in, as the class failed to gain any traction and slowly died. Since then, the car has been used extensively at race tracks in Darwin on ride days as well as for driver evaluations. Steve plans to use the Calibra on track days at Manfeild to give passengers their own little bit of Nascar fun — hence the passenger seat.

A good mix of modern, and not so modern, cars were parked neatly in lines covering the grass in front of the grandstand. While the majority were of the Holden or Ford persuasion, a handful of Chrysler, Leyland, and other marques were also present.


Causing quite a stir, on account of both its rarity and interesting aesthetics, was a 1974 Leyland Force 7V hatchback — one of only ten left in existence. Powered by an all-aluminium 4.4-litre V8, this car was the very first one to roll off Leyland’s Sydney production line. Not the prettiest car there on the day, but arguably the most talked about, the Force 7 deservedly took the prize for best Leyland.


Otorohanga local Chris Ritchie had the bonnet up on his flat black 1970 Holden HG. An HSV Senator’s LS1 has been neatly slipped between the old sedan’s front wheels. Chris wanted to keep the original steering geometry, but the drag link for the steering ran right through the centre of where the LS1’s sump would reside. To get around this problem, he decided on a rather unique solution; a Hummer sump was imported from Canada and modified to suit. The most notable of these modifications is a hole through which the drag link now passes. We can only imagine the headache this can cause if he ever has to drop the sump.

Around mid-morning, heads began turning like meerkats warned of an unwanted predator. What had caught everyone’s attention was the unmistakable whine of a supercharger. Karl Draper’s Torana, featured in NZV8 Issue No. 65, was the source of the commotion. Having more engine above the bonnet than below tends to get you noticed, and today was no different. The Torana would receive the best Holden trophy later that day.

Once you had tired of peering through windows or under bonnets, you could take the time to grab a coffee, catch up with friends, or sit and listen to the local band, No Regrets. That’s exactly what Simon and Teena (pictured above), and their four legged friend, Marley, did. Marley is a regular on the show scene and goes everywhere they do, so make sure you stop and say hi at Beach Hop this year!


Later on during the week, Dwayne and the members of the Manawatu Ford Club donated all of the profits from the day into the bank account of Starship. It was great seeing that people had dug deep for a worthy cause, with nearly $2700 raised on the day — a successful day all round.


Shane Wishnowsky

My first experience of the V8 engine was not a good one. Picture a white-haired young boy bawling his eyes out when an un-muffled sprintcar was fired up. My Dad, who had been car mad all his life, thought I was broken and he’d produced a dud! He persevered though and a few years later took me to Thunder Park; it was here that I fell in love with the V8 engine and I was hooked! Since then I have been a regular on both sides of the fence at drag strips in the North Island, both as a spectator and a crew member. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that 40 years down the track I would end up photographing and writing about them, not that I’m complaining!