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USA Day


Guest Grant Magrath
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Guest Grant Magrath

Well, today was the American Classic Car Club's USA Day here in Christchurch, New Zealand, and there were almost 500 beautiful pieces of American automotive art there. Weather was outstanding. Not too many Buicks there today, but there was a nice 1935 sedan there. Most of the cars were 50's - 70's, with the muscle cars well represented. I had the Stingray there on it's first outing, having registered the car on Friday, and dad was there in the 39 coupe. Good news and bad news. He won Best up to 1940, but sprung a leak, probably waterpump, on the way home! Oh well! I have some wide angle pics to show the vaiety of cars there. I was representing my radio station by doing the presentations, and it was a little embarassing to have to call my father up for the second year in a row!

Cheers

Grant

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Edited by Grant Magrath
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Guest OLBUICKS

Was in NZ several years ago, There was a guy that I kept in touch with down there named Greg MC kenzig, he had a 38 Buick, do you know him? In fact I met him and his wife down there for dinner on my way south... NZ is a very pretty place. By the way I sell all kinds of old car parts, Chevy, Ford, Mopar, and a lot of rare cars in the 40s, 50s if you need some thing let me know..

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Guest Grant Magrath
Was in NZ several years ago, There was a guy that I kept in touch with down there named Greg MC kenzig, he had a 38 Buick, do you know him? In fact I met him and his wife down there for dinner on my way south... NZ is a very pretty place. By the way I sell all kinds of old car parts, Chevy, Ford, Mopar, and a lot of rare cars in the 40s, 50s if you need some thing let me know..

Can't say I know him. Thanks for the compliment! It's not bad when it stops shaking! If you ever come across a 1955-56 Desoto Firedome, let me know. Dad's fallen in love with one at the show yesterday. Pictures soon!

Cheers

Grant

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Can't say I know him. Thanks for the compliment! It's not bad when it stops shaking! If you ever come across a 1955-56 Desoto Firedome, let me know. Dad's fallen in love with one at the show yesterday. Pictures soon!

Cheers

Grant

I think he is thinking of Greg McKenzie - a Dunedinite I think. I don't know him personally but did meet him some years ago.

I was there yesterday. I have some pics but I think the files are too big. I will try to resize them.

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I am fiddling with resizing some of the pics I took yesterday. Try these two first. A New Zealand new 1935 export type Chrysler roadster - Plymouth-based - and a recently imported 1930 Chrysler 77 coupe that was in storage in New York from 1941 until recently. Its previous owner apparently went away to WW2 and did not come back. I know its owner quite well. He has replaced the top and done a bit of rechroming, along with cleaning the gunk out of the bottom of the engine. Most of the rest is original 1930.

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Edited by nzcarnerd (see edit history)
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Beautiful 1935 Plymouth DeLuxe convertible. That 1958 Chrysler looks exactly like one that lives here in Medford, Oregon. The owner, Bill Turpening, had a big collection, mostly Packards, but had a copper '58 just like that Chrysler. He recently passed away. I wonder where his cars went.

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A tidy '56 Buick and next to it a local new Dodge Kingsway. A 1939 export model Dodge and a Dodge command car. A hot dog in NZ is a battered sausage on a stick and smothered with tomato sauce. Unhealthy as hell but that is what takeaway/fast food is all about is it not?

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Beautiful 1935 Plymouth DeLuxe convertible. That 1958 Chrysler looks exactly like one that lives here in Medford, Oregon. The owner, Bill Turpening, had a big collection, mostly Packards, but had a copper '58 just like that Chrysler. He recently passed away. I wonder where his cars went.

That '58 Chrysler has been here for several years. I will try to track down the owner and find out where it came from. He also has a rare Australian 1962 Chrysler AP3 - at least I think that is what it is. It sort of looks like a '53 Plymouth with fins. I will try to find a pic of it.

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Guest stephen48

The original Chrysler coupe looks good . Hopefully it will stay that way!

It appears there were not many pre- 1949 vehicles at the event which is a bit suprising considering the number that survived in the Canterbury region !

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Guest OLBUICKS
I think he is thinking of Greg McKenzie - a Dunedinite I think. I don't know him personally but did meet him some years ago.

I was there yesterday. I have some pics but I think the files are too big. I will try to resize them.

Your right,, sorry about spelling his name wrong..

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Was in NZ several years ago, There was a guy that I kept in touch with down there named Greg MC kenzig, he had a 38 Buick, do you know him?
I think he is thinking of Greg McKenzie - a Dunedinite I think. I don't know him personally but did meet him some years ago.
Greg sold the 38 Buick about 1999 to the Crequer clan. He then bought a Citroen L15. Believe he later he moved to Queensland.
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The event was run by the local classic American car club - Home - American Classic Car Club - and tends to attract mostly post WW2 cars. I have found over the years that people might not take their car there every year and if they have more than one car, any one car might only go every 5 years or more. For that reason the number vary from year to year - there are alway a few that go every year but other make a one time only appearance. The local Corvette and Mustang clubs are always well represented. I felt that this year the numbers were down a bit, even though it was a better day weather-wise than it often is. Being springtime the weather can vary a lot - it is more often cloudy. By the time some arrive early and leave early and others only come for an hour in the afternoon, it is easy to miss some cars.

There is a similar event held in Dunedin - about 5 hours drive south of here - in early March which is worth a visit some time as American cars have a strong following in the south of the country and there are some more unusual cars there.

Arguably the rarest cars there are the - usually plain jane - local new models. They were sold in quite small numbers and often had unique specification for NZ. In the early 1960s there were only a dozen or so of some Chrysler models imported each year. During the 1960s and 1970s quite a few American cars came in via the US Navy Antarctic support base at Christchurch Airport. They were always snapped up quickly whenever thay came on the market because in those days imports of cars were severely restricted. Also around that time some US models came in from Singapore when NZ had a military base there. The problem with those cars was that they often did not have heaters! More recently imports have been relaxed and as the NZ$ rises against the US$ greater numbers of cars are being imported, both older models and also newer stuff like Camaros and Challengers. What affects things are the ever changing rules on the use of left hand drive cars. Another factor is the ever rising prices in the US of more desirable models which is leading to people importing some of the less common US models, whereas previously everyone seemed to want a Mustang or Camaro. Back in the '60s and '70s the primary attraction American cars was their performance which was much greater than what was available locally. Nowadays of course ordinary cars are much quicker and people like the US models just because they are different.

My 1965 Pontiac Bonneville was imported when almost new - first registered in NZ Nov 1965 - and when I contacted its original owner back in the early '80s he told me that he was always getting speeding tickets with it because it attracted the traffic cops. Friends of his bought local-new Pontiac Laurentians - 283, Powerglide - and were quite disappointed with them after riding in his Bonneville. In 1965 there would have been very few cars in NZ as fast as the Bonneville.

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The original Chrysler coupe looks good . Hopefully it will stay that way!

It appears there were not many pre- 1949 vehicles at the event which is a bit suprising considering the number that survived in the Canterbury region !

There is another similar-condition Chrysler coupe here in Christchurch - a 1931 6. Its owner died - suddenly, he was only around 50 - not too long ago and I am not sure what has happened to it.

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Guest Grant Magrath

You thought there were less cars this year? Apparently there were more according to the club!

Interesting you mentioned the 60's Laurentians. My grandfather, Keith Magrath, had a 1961, 63, and 67 new back then. Maybe he was the guy?

Cheers

Grant

PS Thanks for posting the great pictures!

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Guest Grant Magrath
Grant, if your grandad was in Christchurch, it is unlikely as the story I related happened in Hawke's Bay.

Oh. Yeah, well that's him out then!

Cheers

Grant

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Guest Grant Magrath
Couldn't you get any closer for a shot of it ? :D

Ha!!

I clean forgot to get a picture of it! I was to wraped up in all the Corvettes!:eek:

The American Car Club took pictures of the winners, so I'll have to raid their site when they post them!

Cheers

Grant

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I only went around and snapped off a few shots of vehicles initially interested me. I didn't actually try for a good shot of the Buick. Now that I am slowly getting the hang of the camera and the computer I might take more pictures. I am still in film mode where you were always economical with your shots. I don't use the camera a lot and forget that I can take as many pictures as I want and blitz those that don't work out. I have a lot of colour slides and colour prints taken over the last 40 years that need to be transfered to disc where they will be much more accessable.

I am not quite a Luddite as I do have a modern computer, but I don't wear a watch or own a cell phone. I cook on a coal range. although I do have a microwave as well.

Edited by nzcarnerd (see edit history)
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Guest Grant Magrath

Well when you want to convert some of those slides to store on the computer, I have a slide and negative scanner! Very simple to operate!

Cheers

Grant

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Guest stephen48

nz, I know what you mean about being economic with your your shots. After using film for so many years it is a hard habit to break.

I was the same when I switched to digital a few years ago.It took a long while to break the economy habit.

Now I find using digital SLR is so much better than film in all respects.

Anyhow thanks for posting those shots. Good to see !

Regarding scanning your old shots I have done a lot of mine this winter just gone(or has it) using an Epson V330. Quite a worthwhile project and even found a few that I had forgotten about or never printed.

Edited by stephen48
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Guest Grant Magrath
of the cars at this show... I was wondering what percentage of the american cars have right hand drive?

I would say about 85%? Maybe the other guys could have an idea of the percentage? Essentially, apart from the coupe and the old Chrysler coupe, all the pre war stuff was right hand drive, with a smattering of RHD 50's stuff, a few RHD 60's cars, and probably all from the 70's up.

Cheers

Grant

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Grant, I suspect you may have misunderstood mrspeedyt's question. By my reckoning about 85% of all cars there would have been left hand drive as they would be those that have been imported from the US over the last 30 or more years. The only RHD stuff is the NZ new models and the very few that have been converted. I didn't check them all but I think all of those near new Camaros and Challengers there were LHD. Someone told me that the person in Wellington with the clout to affect the LHD rules is a Corvette owner and has done a lot to get those rules relaxed. As I haven't had a LHD car to drive for some years I haven't kept up with what is happening.

The whole business of LHD cars has always been a grey area. I often wondered how my Bonneville was allowed to remain LHD when it was imported at less than a year old. I think there was some free reign given as in those earlier years some of the RHD conversions were not very good and may have been a safety hazard. Some models would have been quite difficult to convert. In the 1980s I owned a 1976 Chevrolet Chevette and it was fairly obvious that, even though it was based on a 'world car' design, the US version was never intended to be built with RHD. That was on odd car, with imperial/US fittings on the body but metric fittings on the mechanicals; Brazilian engine, Phillipines gearbox and unknown rear end.

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Seeing as I have been prattling on about the Bonneville, I thought I should try to find a pic of it. Probably not quite the right forum but...

The first one is from January 1984, the first Dunedin Classic Revival weekend. The Bethunes Gully hillclimb course is exceptionally steep. There had been street racing the day before. The car is completely stock there. The other one is from the Queenstown Classic Sprint of 1987, by which time it had a warmed over 455 and a few suspension modifications.

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Guest stephen48
Yeah, I meant 85% LHD!

Cheers

Grant

This figure is consistent with what we see in the North Island for the post 1954 vehicles.

Pre 1949 they are nearly all right hand drive.Even some of the very unusual ones still were RHD. But there are a very small number of this era that came here new and have always been LHD, for example the surviving Doble that came here in the 1920"s.

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Another one is Tom Cloudsley's 1918 Packard Twin Six which was originally the Governor General Lord Jellicoe's car before it was burnt out after a carburettor fire and then raced at Muriwai Beach in 1922. There is also a circa 1925 Cadillac in the North Island that is LHD - although it may have come in secondhand.

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