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Beach Hop 2014: Day four — Whangamata

16 June, 2014


And then it was Saturday, which is generally considered to be the main day of Beach Hop and best described as orchestrated chaos.

A series of parades take place starting from different locations and ending in different locations. The end points result in various individual car shows, each of which is up there with any of the biggest shows in the country.

The Meguiar’s Main Street Car Show had the Ultimate Pass holders parked in prime position on Whangamata’s main street, alongside drag cars doing fire-ups as part of the Castrol Edge Crackle Fest, bands playing, and crowds like never before.

At the opposite end of the main street, in the Whangamata Area School grounds, was the Vintage Caravan Magazine Retro Caravan Show. When this part of the event started there were just four caravans on the field; four years later, there were an astounding 85 caravans taking part.

It was difficult to imagine a better Repco Pre-49 Hot Rod Show than last year, but the turnout was so impressive that it was hard to pick just one stand-out.

As always, the day was rounded out with a series of stage shows, and the one part everyone was waiting for, the chance to win one of the three Beach Hop promo vehicles. The lucky winner was Terry Scott of Auckland who chose to take home the 1966 Mustang. A “blind” auction was held for one of the two other vehicles: a Zephyr and caravan combo or an XP Falcon wagon. An Auckland couple topped the bidding and chose to take home the Falcon. Graham Jack won the Zephyr and caravan.

Look out for coverage in our next issue, on sale Monday April 7, and our full 122-page coverage in our 2014 Beach Hop Annual, on sale late April.

Penny’s Pagoda – Mercedes Benz 230 SL

We scouted out a few different locations for photographing this car, but they all had one thing in common. At every stop, people could not help but come up and compliment owner Penny Webster on her stunning Horizon Blue Mercedes 230 SL.
There’s something about the ‘Pagoda’ Mercedes — so-called because the distinctive dipping curve of its roofline echoes that of the famous Eastern tiered temples — that encourages people to speak up.
Many classic cars attract a second look, but in most cases people keep their thoughts to themselves. It was striking how many people felt the need to express the warmth of their feelings about this car.
The expansive glass cockpit, the friendly, subtle lines, and its simple three-box shape seem to encourage openness among passers-by.

Motorsport Flashback – Kiwi rallying in the 1970s

Rallying arrived in New Zealand in 1973 like a tsunami. It had been only a few years since the sport was introduced here and shortly afterwards Heatway came on board as the sponsor to take rallying to a new level. The 1973 Heatway would be the longest and biggest yet, running in both islands with 120 drivers over eight days and covering some 5400 kilometres. The winner was 31-year-old Hannu Mikkola — a genuine Flying Finn who had been rallying since 1963 before putting any thoughts of a career on hold until he completed an economics degree. The likeable Finn became an instant hero to many attracted to this new motor sport thing. I was one of them.