Supercheap Auto Powercruise 64 hit Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park, Taupo, over the weekend of November 11–13, and will potentially go down as being the best local Powercruise event yet.

While the weather forecast didn’t look good for Saturday, where most arrived at the track to light drizzle, that didn’t stop the 400-odd cars from getting out and having a blast. The staging lanes were full of cars most of the day, and the rain stopped, which allowed the track to dry out out and everybody to have a good time — some more than others.

Part of the appeal of the event were the four big-hitting cars bought over from Australia, including event promoter Michael ‘Gup’ Gilbert’s legendary ‘Elvis’ Holden HQ, Mick Brasher’s ‘ULEGAL’ Corolla KE20, Steve Loader’s ‘UCSMOKE’ Holden HT Premier, and Peter Sauer’s equally mental ‘327HKK’ Holden Monaro HK.

These guys know how to Powercruise, and were showing the Kiwis how it should be done, melting tyres and winning fans all weekend long. Gup turned up with 44 sets of tyres for the guys to burn, and a bunch of methanol for the cars to drink — the Aussies meant business.

‘Mad Mick’ Brasher’s KE20 Corolla, with a blown small block Chev up front, was seen swinging doughies along pit straight when he lost it and nudged the concrete wall — lots of power and not much wheelbase will do that, though! Fortunately, the ’Rolla survived relatively unscathed, with damage limited to the driver’s side front guard, and it’d take a lot more than that to stop him from keeping at it. 

He’d have wanted to put on a show for the Kiwis, too. Looking at his car in the pit garages, many people wondered why he had cling wrap covering his injector hat, the answer being that back home in Australia he’s had people dropping things in there to sabotage him in burnout contests. Laid-back Kiwiland isn’t half bad, huh? 

Steve Loader’s ‘UCSMOKE’ Holden HT is one of Australia’s most famous burnout vehicles (which is really saying something), and is powered by a 532ci big block Chev topped with an 8-71 blower and carbon-fibre injector hat, drinking a strict diet of methanol to create around 1150hp.

Obviously, this destroys brand-new tyres in a matter of seconds, whether he’s gunning it on the burnout pad, or just having a play around down the track straight. The sounds this car makes are absolutely incredible, and could turn even the staunchest V8 opponent to tears — if not for the sheer brutality of the soundtrack, then the unmistakable smell of a proper alcohol fuel. 

Gup also brought Elvis over — his own personal smoke machine, which is powered by a 540ci big block Chev strapped to a huge 106mm Turbonetics snail. This thing is serious, and while it doesn’t have the ear-shattering soundtrack that the blown machines do, it can still lay down a quarter-mile smokescreen.

On the way back down the track, Gup showed that not only could Elvis go in straight lines, but  also throw down some pretty wild doughnuts. Apparently he doesn’t even do that back home in Australia!

‘Pedro’ Sauer’s blown small block Holden Monaro HK also laid down a tonne of rubber around the track. This is a beautifully built car in which Peter was also happy to take a few lucky punters for the ride of their lives. If anyone here didn’t know about Peter and 327HKK before the weekend, they do now!

Also on the rise is the Miss Powercruise contest, which drew in seven contestants — an increase on earlier years. This year’s winner was Shannon Scully from Napier. 

Powercruise isn’t just limited to cars, let alone those packing vast quantities of boost under the bonnet. Mike Linstrom created these power trikes, installing 200cc four-stroke lawnmower engines with header pipes, removed governors, and modified carburettors — geared correctly, these things can reach 100kph. Not for the faint-hearted! 

Of course, most of the vehicles there could hit some speed without even breaking a sweat — Kevin Norris’s staunch Ford Cortina Mk1 being one such example of a vehicle that’s frequently seen with the hammer down at events. 

Or Nate Wilkie’s mental turbocharged 13B rotary-powered Suzuki Carry Van — probably the only one of its kind in the country that you don’t want to mess with!

Other cars are a little less subtle, although if it wasn’t for the polished mound of boost sticking through the bonnet of Renee Porter’s Holden HQ, would you really pick it for what it is? The ‘NANA Q’ plate is totally fitting — except for the blown 400ci small block and toughened driveline that allows it to powerskid right up there with the best of them. 

And smoke clouds — whether from burnouts, powerskids, drifting, or general mechanical tomfoolery — were certainly the order of the day. The turnout of both entrants and spectators was huge, and they were all there for one thing — automotive freedom. We’re glad to say that’s something Powercruise delivered in spades, and we can only wait to see how the event organizers top it next year!