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Americarna going full throttle!

1 December, 2015

After looking like it wasn’t going to happen, the team behind Americarna recently confirmed that not only will Americarna proceed in 2016, but also 2017 and 2018.

With Mainstream Global now on board as naming rights sponsor, Mainstream Americarna 2016, as it’ll be known, is set to take over the Taranaki region on February 23–27.

As always, the event is about the American culture as much as it’s about the cars, and around 600 vehicles of American origin are expected to show up from across the country.

The event offers a great chance for the whole community to get out and get involved, regardless of whether they have a car of their own or not. One of the highlights of previous years has been seeing all of the children from schools in the area out on the roadside waving their custom-made American flags as the cars travel by, and that’s set to happen again in 2016. 

The 2016 itinerary also includes visits to Inglewood, Hawera, Opunake, and New Plymouth, with cruises through Waitara and Stratford, allowing all local communities to check out the event free of charge. 

As well as the usual favourites, such as the cruise out to Opunake, event organizers have added some new additions to the already-successful formula, as you can see in the full itinerary below. 

Tuesday, February 23:
Today is simply a registration day, held at Americarna’s ‘Home Base’ of the TSB Stadium, New Plymouth from 3–7.30pm. Merchandise will also be available, and the on-site caterer will have bar and refreshment facilities open, giving entrants the chance to sit out in the garden bar, and enjoy time relaxing and catching up with friends.

Wednesday, February 24:
As the more-relaxed itinerary of Americarna 2015 was so well received, organizers decided to make this day an ‘unofficial’ optional day. This gives entrants the chance to pick and choose what they take part in, including the official welcome party that evening.

Options (which must be pre-booked for parking, etc.) include:

  • visiting Pukeiti Gardens
  • a cruise to Sentry Hill Winery for a tour and wine tasting
  • a visit to see the Barnett family’s private car collection and gardens
  • and a trip up the famous Forgotten World Highway to Whangamomona Hotel for lunch

More information on each option can be found here.

Once back from the option of their choice, entrants can head along to the official welcome party. This is held at The Devon Hotel with a theme of ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’, and as such there will be a band playing all the greatest hits to help get people into the Americarna mood!

Thursday, February 25:
Thursday is the first official cruise day of the event, and has the theme of ‘The Fifties’. As such there will be prizes for the best 1950s look amongst other giveaways. 

Departure is scheduled for 12.30pm sharp, when the convoy will head off to New Plymouth airport via a cruise through Egmont Village and Bell Block. It’s been a few years since Americarna checked out what was going on in the hangars there, and entrants are set to be treated to a formation flyover by classic fighter planes!

From there, it’s back on the road headed for Inglewood. The journey will take entrants along a route not travelled in past events. On arrival in Inglewood, cars will be parked in the main street providing a great atmosphere and a chance to check out the local eateries. 

Friday, February 26:
To help get entrants through a long day, breakfast will be available for purchase at the TSB Stadium from 7am (pre-order necessary). The day’s theme of ‘Fancy Friday’ sees more prizes for the best-dressed ladies — in Americarna style of course. At 9am on the dot, cars will depart for Opunake via the famous Surf Highway 45. This is the cruise that kids are out waving to as the convoy rolls through. 

After a morning-tea stop at Opunake, it’s back on the road again. This time Hawera is the destination. Cars will cruise to the CBD, park up, and be treated to some more Taranaki hospitality, and they’ll be given the chance to partake in, or watch, the Go-Stop Drags. 

From Hawera, Americarna heads back to New Plymouth straight into Friday night’s main-street cruising via Mangorei Road where hordes of spectators always gather.

Saturday, February 27:
This day sees the action move to the New Plymouth CBD, where cars are parked from 10am–3pm. This gives entrants a chance to do some shopping or explore the local attractions, while the public can enjoy checking out the cars before a prize-giving, and the official end to the event. 

For those staying in New Plymouth that evening, the Tropfest Film Festival, which takes place at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands from 6pm, will be well worth checking out. 

Sunday, February 28:
While not part of Americarna, the third round of the PSP Jetsprint Championship Series takes place at New Zealand’s newest Jetsprint track (New Plymouth) on Sunday, February 28, giving out-of-towners the perfect excuse to stay an extra day. For more info see here

If you have any questions regarding Mainstream Americarna 2016, give Toni a call on 06 758 5273, or email [email protected]. If you’re looking for a place to stay, be sure to check out the preferred accommodation providers over on the Americarna website,

For highlights from last year’s event, or to see what all the fuss is about hit these links:

Day one, day two, and day three

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.