Whether you like Mustangs, Camaros, Impalas, or Cobras, there was a great mix of America’s finest parked up for the viewing public at Canterbury USA Day 2016

Hundreds of people arrived at Gladstone Park in Woodend, just north of Christchurch, on November 6 for the 25th Anniversary of the Canterbury USA Day. Hosted by the American Classic Car Club of Canterbury, this is a popular event not only for the owners of any vehicle of American origin, but for any petrolhead who loves a great car show. Numbers appeared to be up on previous years with the rugby field almost filled by late morning. 

Vehicles attending numbered around 400, so no matter your taste, there was something for everyone. The newer-model Dodge Challengers appear to be popular at the moment, with a number of sharp-looking cars on display.

One of the first cars to greet you was this cool-looking Dodge Charger R/T. As if it wasn't tough enough, the owner’s added a blower just for that extra punch

Rangiora locals Owen and Marg Frew are the proud owners of this stunning 1934 Buick Phaeton. Just 587 were built, with 143 being exported around the world. This was the only one to make its way to our shores. Back in the day, this car could be purchased for $1675.

Despite a number of Corvettes being on display, this 1970 Stingray stood out from the others with its bright Prowler Yellow Prizmatique paint. The ’Vette was built in the US by Luscher’s Automotive in New Jersey, before heading out to New Zealand. Powering this beast is a fuel-injected ZZ502 crate motor.

No American car show would be complete without an AC Cobra replica. Even in its unfinished state, this one still looks like it means business.

Golden Bay’s Graham Balck calls himself the custodian of this very cool 1929 Studebaker Commander. Power is from a 250ci eight-cylinder engine. The car was restored prior to a big rally back in 2000.

Mustangs had a large presence at the show, but this one was certainly more interesting. Believed to be one of the oldest Mustangs in the world, possibly the oldest in New Zealand, the car was built on April 6, 1964, 11 days before the launch weekend of April 17–19 when 22,000 Mustangs were sold. This one was sold on April 17 to Denise Monti, who owned the car until 2004, and it is now owned by Garry and Loretta Jackson of Amberley. The car has a 260ci V8, automatic and power steering, and has travelled just 51,000 miles from new.

Restored by Muscle and Classic Restorations in Christchurch, this 1932 Cadillac is simply a styling masterpiece. This V12 Roadster is one of only nine built, is one of only four known to survive today, and is the only example outside of the US. The car has a long list of extras fitted to it and really needs to be viewed in person for the amazing workmanship to be appreciated.

Canterbury USA Day 2016 award winners

  • Moorhouse Muscle Best Pre ’49: ’34 Buick Phaeton, Owen and Marg Frew
  • Albert Street Panel and Paint Rangiora Best ’50s Car: ’57 Chevrolet Bel Air, Graeme Trillo
  • Dean’s Auto Electric Best ’60s Car: ’63 Corvette Stingray, Kevin Sullivan
  • Mustang Centre Best ’70s Car: ’73 Dodge Charger, Wayne Gibson
  • Avon City Ford (Parts) Best ’80s Car: ’85 Excalibur Phaeton Mk2, Trevor Mitchell
  • County Cars Woodend Best ’90s Car: ’98 Chevrolet Camaro
  • Avon City Ford Rangiora Best 2000 and Newer Car: ’06 Shelby CS8, Dean Stavreff
  • Burkes Metalworks Best Hot Rod: ’32 Coupe, Maurie Barrington
  • Moorhouse Muscle Best Original: ’30 Model A Truck, Dean Inwood
  • Dean’s Auto Electric Best Commercial: ’53 Ford F100, Kevin Jellyman
  • Trevor Ian Armstrong Memorial Trophy: ’78 Pontiac Trans Am, Brendan Wright
  • Men at Work Peoples’ Choice Award: ’32 Cadillac Roadster, Ivan Harris
  • Men at Work Best in Show: ’68 Dodge Charger, Chris Blackmore

Top 10

  • ’32 Cadillac Roadster, Ivan Harris
  • ’47 Ford Coupe, Kerry Walsh
  • ’57 Chevrolet Bel Air - Allan McDowell
  • ’58 Ford Thunderbird, Neil Hawker
  • ’66 Ford Mustang, Glenn & Kathryn Martin
  • ’67 Ford Fairlane, Andy Hurst
  • ’68 Dodge Charger, Chris Blackmore
  • ’68 Chevrolet Camaro, Gary Miller
  • ’76 Dodge Monaco, Scott Blackadder
  • ’16 Ford Mustang Backdraft Cobra

Rod Dunn

Born and bred in Central Otago, I moved to Christchurch in 1995. I’ve had several different jobs over the years, from being a kiln operator, to running my own handyman business, and currently I'm the Maintenance Manager at the Wigram Airforce Museum. I'm happily married to my wife Anne-Marie, and between us we have six children — all living away from home now. Photography has been a consistent interest throughout my life, and I've always had a passion for cars, so it was just natural that I would end up photographing them. I also love to do landscape photography whenever I get the chance. I began contributing to NZV8 magazine in 2012 and have gone on to become NZV8's South Island correspondent, photographing and writing both feature car and event articles. I love meeting people and shooting their cars, as well as covering shows for the mag. Long may it continue.