The monthly ramblings of NZ Performance Car's resident Ass[istant editor]
Where someone hails from can tell you a lot about a person, and whether or not they’re still living there speaks even more. I’ve never hidden the place I grew up in and continue to live to this day, despite it being infamous for being full of bogans (cc: Outrageous Fortune), bludgers, and street crims. Yes, the hustling, bustling shit-tropolis that is West Auckland is where I call home. Those outside of Auckland may not be familiar with the lingering reputation that follows any current and former resident of the West around, who usually opt to omit the fact in conversation or describe themselves as from within the ‘central’ area.
It’s really not that bad of a place, though, and is only on the come up, based on the direction of the housing market — perhaps one of the reasons for the question I’m about to pose (as proving the area’s worth is not the point of this yarn). What I’m really getting at is: where the hell have all the rugged RBs gone?
If you’ve ever spent more than half a day on the danger side of the western border, you will, without a doubt, be aware that, for the longest time, West Auckland has been dubbed the unofficial RB capital of the country. That’s not a claim to be made lightly, either, but, for as long as I can remember, that’s how it’s always been. At its peak, a drive to the dairy and back would be a car-spotter’s wet dream of proper, rugged, RB-powered weapons. You know what I’m talking about — the matty-b, de-sprung, four-door 32s and straight-piped Ceffys on Drift-Teks loaded up with all the boys.
*Note: none of these cars are from West Auckland, please bring them back
The ones that would chuck hectic sitters outside their mate’s house and make the closest roundabout their personal plaything. It was a glorious display of pure backyard-built roughness. They were constantly pulled over by Johnny Law, pink stickered, and trying to sneak off down a side road to avoid being snapped. They were so well known that the sound of a vicious straight-six sitting on limiter became the calling card of the west.
Fast forward to recent years, and they’ve all but gone; it was almost as if they were confiscated and crushed overnight. Perhaps they’ve finally succumbed to inevitable deaths caused by a long succession of dodgy mods and constant late-night abuse, or been converted to ‘track-only’ garage rotters after their owners grew tired of racking up thousands in fines. Whatever the case, they’re few and far between now, and, I hate to say it, but the golden era of rugged RBs out west has been and gone.
Only on those rare occasions late at night can you still hear the sound of that classic RB calling card far off in the distance. And every time, I can’t help but try to catch a quick glimpse of the action, just to relive that nostalgia.
Assistant editor, NZ Performance car