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New Zealand’s largest garage sale goes off

14 October, 2015


Having been described as the largest garage sale in New Zealand, the McLeans Island Swap Meet and Display is a must-do for anyone who has even the slightest interest in anything automotive.

This year, close to 30,000 people filed through the gates hoping to pick up a bargain, or find that hard-to-get or missing part to complete their project parked in the garage. With more than 650 stalls, plenty of time was needed to get around and look at what traders had on offer. Thankfully many regulars occupy the same site year after year, making it easier to find your favourite stall to see what parts they have for sale this time around.

Not all sites are automotive-focused though, with all manner of things available for purchase. Everything from crafts, toys, and books to clothes, old furniture, and plants. If there is something that you want, chances are you will find it at one of the stalls.

One of the other attractions at the swap meet has to be the automotive display area. Many clubs make a weekend of it by setting up great displays, with some camping on-site for the weekend. A large area is also set aside for individuals who wish to show off their pride and joy. Whether you are a Ford, Holden, Citroën, Morris, or Lotus lover, there was enough to whet the appetite. The vintage-machinery display is always a popular area to visit with many working examples on show from yesteryear. This year’s display also included two working traction engines, giving the younger generation the chance to see how things were done back in the early days.

If you have never managed to make it to the McLeans Island Swap Meet, put it on your to-do list for next year, as, you never know, you may just find that missing part you need to finish your project.

Taipan – surpassing interest

“It’s merely a passing interest,” insists Selby — despite owning three variants of the classic VW Beetle, including an unusual VW van that was sold as a body kit for a Subaru. In his defence he points to a 1961 Ford Thunderbird, a car that he converted to right-hand drive. However, on the VW side of the ledger, since he opened Allison Autos in Whanganui 27 years ago, Selby has built 15 VW-powered Formula First cars, followed by a beach buggy, restored a derelict Karmann Ghia, and hot-rodded a common or garden Beetle into something that has to be seen to be believed. As speed is not something generally associated with classic VWs, though, Selby is still waiting for this particular modification to catch on amongst the hot rod faithful.

Travelling companion

It’s easy to see why the Morris Minor Traveller was one of the best-loved variants of the Morris Minor. Introduced in 1953, it was equipped with the same independent torsion bar front suspension, drum brakes, and rack and pinion steering as its saloon sibling but, with their foldable rear seat increasing versatility, many Travellers were used as trade vehicles, says Derek Goddard. Derek and Gail Goddard, the owners of this superbly restored example, have run Morris Minors since before they were married in 1974.
“Our honeymoon vehicle was a blue Morris Minor van — it was a rust bucket,” says Derek.