Auckland-based East Bay Rods, and Hamilton-based Riverside Rodders enjoyed their annual combined rod run on March 8 — a tradition that they have been doing for the past 40 years. The two clubs are both based around pre-’49, American-origin vehicles, and have strong memberships boasting some of New Zealand’s best hot rods over the years. The meeting point was the Mercer truck stop before casually cruising over to the beach in Kaiaua, overlooking the Coromandel peninsula. There was a neat variety of traditional and modern-themed hot rods of all shapes and styles.

Nothing beats travelling the back roads in New Zealand amongst a line-up of neat, old hot rods and we were lucky to ride and drive in Tania Foster’s bare-metal ’36 Ford coupe — a car that rides and drives as stunning as it looks. Upon reaching the destination, a BBQ lunch was served. The relaxing day allowed each club to catch up with one other and reminisce about the old days.

At Mercer was the ’41 Willys coupe of Mark and Gaylene Homan, which runs a tunnel-rammed 512ci big block Ford engine, and the ’32 Ford roadster of Rob Medemblik, which runs a 427ci big block Chev. Both cars are used regularly.

Paul Servantie’s ’32 Ford sedan has been owned since 1971 and has featured many upgrades and rebuilds over the years. Bernie Beckett’s dry lakes–inspired build was a long-term project featuring a steel body. Both are long-time members of East Bay Rods.

From East Bay Rods is Peter Farrant’s cool custom coupe, which we featured in the NZV8 Hot Rod Special. Despite its custom styling based on the ’50s era, under the hood is big block–Chev power and a four-speed gearbox.

Here you’ll see Riverside Rodders’ Grant Hilton’s ’32 Ford cabriolet, and from Mid West Street Rods, Tania Foster’s ’36 Ford coupe. Both cars feature panel craftsmanship by Bodymods in Hamilton.

A founding member of Riverside Rodders is Terry Ferguson. This is his chopped, flamed Model A coupe that he’s owned for years.

Riverside’s Owen Ratcliffe built his custom ’39 Ford coupe to the style of show rods of the ’60s, with numerous body modifications and a Ford Y-block under the hood. It sure is different.

Founding member of Riverside Rodders John Reid, and wife Janet, cruised up from Tauranga in their Rods by Reid–built ’33 Ford coupe featuring only the best components and finish.

Kevin and Gail Salter’s timeless and well-travelled-but-show-quality Model A coupe heads this line-up. Under the hood is an injected, five-litre Ford V8 engine. An award winner in its own right, the little coupe is driven regularly.

Riverside’s John Allen isn’t afraid to drive his award-winning ’32 Ford coupe powered by an LS1 engine with unique side-exiting headers.

Riverside’s Sharon Allen runs this ’32 Ford roadster, with fully independent suspension, as the perfect stable mate to her husband John’s ’32 coupe.

He’s a founding member of East Bay Rods and Keith Golder’s well-known ’34 Ford coupe runs a hot Ford FE big block and four-speed for power. It’s a classic hot rod coupe.

Check out Bill Smith’s six-carb small block Chev engine.

Last but not least, have a look at Rob Cowley’s blown Ford flathead V8 engine.