Capital Rodders on again

20 June, 2017

A shame about the weather for the organisers of the 7th annual Capital Rodders’ Wellington Swap Meet & Horsepower Show at Trentham Racecourse, Upper Hutt, on Sunday May 21. The event presented by GMR (General Metal Recyclers Ltd) was at best weather-effected.

As one of the regular stallholders said, “It’s been a day of passing showers.”

Rain during the week meant that most of the cars had to be displayed in the carpark north of the grandstand. The grassed area south of the stand was too soggy.

A few owners found shelter for their 1960s classics from parts of the grandstand or totalisator building.

The only convertible seen with its top down was a 1962 Chevrolet parked under cover at the rear of the grandstand.

With each shower a few more owners would drive off in their cars while outside stallholders packed up their wares to head for home. A reporter for another publication who arrived mid-morning told me, “There’s a lot of nice cars going the other way.”

By midday many others had joined them, and the carpark now had several gaps from where they had been parked.

As was to be expected, the classics had a strong representation of Mustangs, Thunderbirds, Corvettes and Cadillacs. The small sprinkling of British cars scattered about the concourse included a 1968 Ford Cortina Lotus, a 1966 Hillman Super Minx and a 1962 Morris Minor 1000 four door saloon. Seeing the Morrie – part of my family’s motoring heritage – left me with my favourite memory of the day.

An acquaintance I often meet at car shows in Upper Hutt said he had seen some great 1950s and 60s British classics in a layby at Manor Park, and was disappointed they hadn’t followed him here.

If the number of visitors to the show was down on last year, those attending seemed to enjoy themselves. They included several happy children who went away with a new toy car to play with.

I came home wishing Capital Rodders better luck with the weather next year.

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.