We love our cars down here in New Zealand — no doubt the driving reason behind why the CRC Speedshow is one of the largest events on the show-side of New Zealand’s automotive calendar, now entering its ninth year. As such a large-scale event, diversity is key to have the show appealing to as many people as possible, and this year’s line-up is pretty diverse. However, if you’re reading this, then chances are you prefer your engines proper — eight cylinders, and the bigger the cubes displaced, the better. We’ve compiled a list of a few standout cars we found at the show — most of which we found in the Teng Tools Grand National Rod & Custom Show hall, to be honest.
It’s always easy to start with something you’re familiar with, and you should hopefully be pretty familiar with the Matamata Panelworks team’s incredible creations. This year, they’re here for the big unveil of their most recently completed project — The Hulk. Based off a Falcon XW ute, The Hulk is powered by a 460ci big block Ford engine producing north of 700hp, and features Matamata’s signature touches throughout the build. We won’t give away too much info and spoil the surprise, but it’s every bit as good as it’s being made out to be — look out for a full feature in an upcoming issue of NZV8.
Of course, this time last year, the covers were being pulled off Fraser McKenzie’s stunning 1967 Eleanor — entirely crafted from sheet steel — and Fraser’s ‘GONE67’ Mustang will be back on display this year. If you haven’t seen the car in person, it’s reason enough to swing by Speedshow, simply to take in the sheer craftsmanship that has gone into creating such a vehicle. The fact that Fraser regularly drives it on rural New Zealand roads just makes it that much cooler. Completing Matamata’s line up is the stunning gold 1967 Mustang owned by Nick Hall, which makes for an awesome view parked up alongside Fraser’s Eleanor — two completely different styles of the same car, built to the highest of standards.
Just as sweet is the ’56 Chev 210 two-door post sedan owned by Steve and Leanne Milne, of Tauranga. Completed in a mere three years, the car is a truly stunning piece of machinery, with incredible detailing in the engine bay, undercarriage, interior — just about everywhere you can cast your eye, and everywhere you can’t! We’ve just had it in the studio for a full photo shoot, and you can expect a full feature article pretty soon.
Maude Fairbairn made the trek all the way up from Christchurch, bringing her ’34 Ford Coupe with her. The party is in the engine bay, though, with a blown 392ci Hemi — the engine that used to power her drag car, albeit slightly de-tuned for street duty — taking up all the real estate the car’s narrow frame can provide. She takes pride in the fact that she drives the car as much as possible, and if you do run into her, she’ll be more than happy to have a good old chat, too.
John Allen’s amazing ’32 Ford Coupe speaks for itself, really — the headers alone could be the single coolest feature in all of CRC Speedshow 2015. The fact that the car’s on stands, with lights and mirrors beneath it, just makes the experience that much better, because you can take in every last detail of the engineering that has gone into the trick rear end, the gorgeous exhaust system, and the spotless detailing of every last square inch of undercarriage.
The Main Trunk Brewery 1919 Model T is a seriously cool piece of machinery, too, albeit in a totally different style. It’s thoroughly old school in appearance, giving off a steampunk-esque vibe, mixed in with traditional hot-rodding cues like the blown 239ci flathead V8, and you might even learn something about New Zealand’s beer-brewing history while you’re checking it out.
Just around the corner is Meremere Dragway’s stand, and you’ll be able to see some super cool drag racing gear here, too. Ross Taylor’s ’57 Chev Top Doorslammer is a show-quality dragster that has, to date, seen Ross run a scorching PB of 6.22 at 222.5mph. It’s joined by Neville Smith’s crazy Model T Altered, as well as a junior dragster and a drag bike. Karl Boniface's ‘Nitro Flashback’ nitro funny car takes pride of place at the Castrol stand just by Meremere's, and Mark Bardsley's Top Doorslammer can also be seen outside.
Then you have things like the Century Batteries Women in Motorsport display — a sprawling feature of nearly 20 cars competitively driven by Kiwi women. Headlining this is a non-Kiwi — Jessi Combs, who holds claim to being the fastest woman on earth, as well as being a professional fabricator by day, who has worked alongside such names as Chip Foose. She’s got a radical off-roader on display here, and will be performing in the karting challenge as well as doing signing sessions and helping to judge the Teng Tools Grand National Rod & Custom Show.
This is, of course, just one tiny snippet of the Speedshow experience, so take a look at the gallery below to see just what you’re missing out on, or even better, head along and check it out in person. Speedshow is held on between Saturday, July 18, and Sunday, July 19, at ASB Showgrounds, Auckland.