Hundreds of classics stream in to the Te Aroha Cruise In

6 October, 2015

Since its inception and humble beginnings back in 2008, the Te Aroha Cruise In event has grown bigger and better each year, with around 500 vehicles taking part this year. Hundreds of faithful car lovers made the annual pilgrimage, and despite Mount Te Aroha looking more like Mount Doom from The Lord of the Rings, a great day appeared to be had by all.

With entry open to pretty much any type of classic vehicle the organizers tried — although sometimes in vain — to keep the same types of vehicles together. The top of town was the domain of a superb group of vintage fire appliances, and a few military enthusiasts too, with a fine collection of speedway midgets a little further down the main street.

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The retro caravan crowd took over the domain with half a dozen or so vintage caravans and their respective tow vehicles. Debuting their stunning ’56 Belair and matching 1978 Alpha caravan were Bryce and Virginia from Patumahoe, who literally put the finishing touches to the caravan the night before. Amongst the caravans, Ian Ellis of Waihi also had an Alf party going on — sadly no cats to be had — amongst his miniature retro caravan collection that he now builds on commission.

The main street had a huge collection of classics from the 1920s through to the 1980s, with just about every marque you can think of being represented — from American muscle cars to English sports cars there was pretty much something to everybody’s taste. Zephyr fans were in for a real treat with a huge mix of Mk1s through to Mk4s present, in sedan, convertible, and utility versions of the earlier models. Quite a sight to behold. There was also a good sample of previous NZV8 feature cars present. While the weather was not the best, no one seemed to care and a great day was had by all.

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.

Super Leicht Gullwing

It’s fair to say that nothing much in the classic Mercedes world gets past Mercedes-Benz Club stalwart Garry Boyce so it wasn’t surprising to learn that around 15 years ago he had sniffed out an extremely rare 300SL lightweight Gullwing as well as a 1958 300SL Roadster hiding away in the Waikato. The cars were not for sale but Garry eventually managed to persuade the owner to allow him and his restoration team to take a look at the Roadster. They discovered a very distressed but largely unmolested car. The car was so original that the body had never been off the chassis, meaning most of the parts and fittings were still present and correct, as they had been fitted by the factory.