There’s no denying that I miss my GTO. It’s one of the vehicles that I will always regret selling, but deep down I know I didn’t quite have the correct housing for it, or the right amount of money to restore it to my standards. That being said though, there are plenty of owners in New Zealand with the correct means, and they gathered on March 19 in Taupo for a casual meet and cruise. 

In New Zealand, it’s a rare sight if you see a single GTO on the roads these days, but, for this meet, eight made the trip from as far as Whangarei and Palmerston North. After meeting at a central meeting point out the back of Taupo, a cruise was formed, heading south-west along Taupo’s beautiful water edge, ending up at the Whakapapa ski fields for another yarn about all things GTO, and a well-deserved hot drink. After chatting for hours on end about the sporty Japanese take on an Italian sports car, everybody went their separate ways, until the next meet. 

The fantastic thing about having clubs such as the GTO Performance Club, is that there is the potential for the meets and cruises to grow, as the chassis becomes more of a rarity, and enthusiasts pick them up and restore them to their former glory. I guess the same thing could be said about a number of Japanese sports cars, but the GTO for me, will always be unique. 

René Vermeer

Dutch, French, or just a Kiwi, René isn’t quite sure, but he does know he has a passion for Japanese vehicles like no other. A well-seasoned Gran Turismo player dating back to his single-digit days, René has a comprehensive knowledge of a wide range of performance vehicles and has owned more than 30 performance cars here in New Zealand, ranging from Nissans to Hondas. A lover of photography, you’ll find him either peeping under someone’s bonnet to snap a detailed shot, or on the side of the racetrack, perfecting his panning.