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Aussie pride: 13th New Zealand Holden Nationals

29 April, 2015

Anzac day is a big deal to Aussies and Kiwis, so, what better time than Anzac weekend to honour the quintessentially ‘down under’ cars manufactured by Holden? That’s how the 13th New Zealand Holden Nationals — hosted by the GM Enthusiasts Club — went, and what a show it was. 


Hosted at the New Zealand Kennel Club in Ardmore, South Auckland, the main display took place inside the large, pillarless hall. Around 75 cars were tidily arranged inside, with even more parked outside. 

Great care was taken by the club to arrange the inside display in a chronological order, starting with the Holden ‘FX’ 48–215 and FJ, moving up to EH and EJ, early H-series (HD, HR, etc), HQ–WB, early Commodores, then late-model Commodores. The range, in terms of both years, and style of car, was broad. 

On the extreme end of that ‘style’ spectrum was Warren Black’s epic Holden Monaro HQ, featured in NZV8 Issue No. 118. Warren, along with Balclutha-based drag racer and friend Roger Binnema, trailered the Monaro from the deep South Island all the way to Auckland for the Holden Nationals. How’s that for dedication? Everything about this car has been done ‘right’ — from the enormous supercharged 555ci big block Chev, right the way through to the handmade sheet metal dashboard, and the bungalow-sized rear tubs housing 20×15-inch rear rollers. The most photographed and talked about car at the event? Without a doubt.

On the totally opposite end of the spectrum, we had examples like Ian and Vickie McDougall’s incredibly original-looking 1948 Holden 48-215 (colloquially known as the FX). Having owned the car for over 30 years, it has been amazingly maintained, and restored to original. 

Some of the entrants were dead set on making it to the show, come hell or high water. One such example is South Auckland–local Jordy, who only just got his car running the night before. His 308-powered Commodore VB has been stroked to 355ci, but as of the night before, he was still waiting on pushrods for the fresh engine. A call to Christchurch’s Cylinder Head Specialists had that problem sorted, then it was a mad dash to get them in, and run the motor in. Mission accomplished, but not without some liberal burning of midnight oil. 

There were plenty of cool Commodores there, as you’d expect. Mike Clark’s amazing VK masters the art of understatement — look beyond the immaculate exterior (well, what there is of it), and it’s an LS1-powered monster built to run 11-second passes naturally aspirated. Mike’s done all the work himself, to a standard worthy of a pro-shop–built car. With only a few more months expected to completion, we can’t wait to see this one finished. 

Kerry and Nicky Horrell’s Torana is a pretty cool thing, too. The car was purchased in 2002, and they later discovered its racing history, restoring the Torana to how it was when it crossed the line in pole position at the 1971 Glenvale 100. 

Oozing just as much old-school cool is Vick and Mac’s gold Holden HQ — an original, unrestored 253 V8 and Trimatic-equipped example. The car’s impressive appearance is topped off by what appears to be a complete absence of rust in all the usual places; a true survivor. 

The displays in the hall were of a high quality, for sure, but there was just as much to do outside, too. Food, drinks, and merchandise were all readily available — as were some pretty choice cars — and so was a good old-fashioned banter with the innumerable friendly folk hanging around the place. It was a truly great event.

Don’t worry if don’t see what you’d like to in this article — we’ll have a full event report in NZV8 Issue No. 122 (on sale June 8) with all the pics and info you could possibly need!

The Jowett Jupiter turns 70

John Ball has always enjoyed tinkering with old boats and cars. He’s old enough to think having gearbox parts on newspaper on the floor of his bedroom, while the relevant car sat waiting on nail boxes, was a normal part of growing up. His passion has always tended towards old British bangers. He reckons he’s fortunate not to have got caught up in the American muscle scene.
John’s love affair with this Jupiter started in December 2015 when, with some time on his hands during a Christchurch trip, he searched online for ‘cars, before 1970 and in Christchurch’.

A passion for classics and customs

In the highly competitive field of New Zealand classic and custom restorations, reputations are won or lost on the ability to maintain consistently high standards of workmanship. A company managing to achieve this is D A Panel beating Ltd, of Rangiora near Christchurch. Is your classic or custom car restoration stalled, or in need of a refresh, or perhaps you are looking for experts to rebuild that recent import project out of Europe or the ‘States?