Joining petrol heads in Taranaki

+Pictured

Joining petrol heads in Taranaki

Virginia
McMillan
Cadillac, Americarna
Arriving in style in Stratford

It won't slow down global warming but the annual Americarna festival in New Plymouth does lift the spirits, writes reporter Virginia McMillan 

As we drove through, I waved, like a royal on extremely happy pills, from the back of a Ford Fairlane 500

“Really? That doesn’t sound like you, Mum.” My daughter wasn't the only one to think it out of character for me to be taking part in Americarna, a celebration of the golden age of the American car. 

The implication being, it would be Taranaki, petrol-heads and boozers, with not a hint of greenie spirit. I just wouldn’t enjoy it. 

I wasn’t planning to hang out on the streets of New Plymouth drinking until I vomited, though, or even to hang around at the end of the night to see how many of the Americarna convoy members did just that. (As younger ’Naki-ites traditionally do.) 

Costume and camaraderie at AmeriCARna
Sunshine and friends

I was there for the cars, the colours, the company of a handful of friends and, as it turned out, the sunshine and the laid-back rural locals of Hawera, Stratford, Eltham and Mangorei Road. 

As we drove through, I waved, like a royal on extremely happy pills, from the back of a Ford Fairlane 500, pop-rock hits at high volume. 

The rare person with a gloomy face, I considered a challenge. Nine times out of 10, they eventually smiled. 

The panelling makes this an eye-catching Kiwi special. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it’s a Chevy
Motorcade draws thousands

More than 850 Chevrolets, Mustangs, Cadillacs, Studebakers, Fords and others, from all over New Zealand and a few from Australia and the US, formed a long motorcade that brought residents out in their thousands. They gathered for picnics and drinks by the side of the road; Hawera and Stratford people held mini-festivals and had a good nosy at the row upon row of cars parked for their enjoyment. 

The annual Americarna is a Taranaki institution I heard of only recently. It’s not going to help us slow down global warming or dampen our driving fervour, but for a lift to the spirits and in genuine admiration of the car makers and restorers, I’m glad I got to one. 

 

Hawera streets were closed off to host 850 American cars
If it’s got wings, it may be a Chevrolet BelAir and it will be popular
A lot of red, a convertible and a dude in a hat
Olive or lime? This Pontiac Firebird is hard to miss
Reflections on shiny red

Comments

"The panelling makes this an eye-catching Kiwi special. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it’s a Chevy"

Nope. That's a 1946 Ford Super Deluxe aka Sportsman "Woodie"

Thanks, I'm happy to have the good oil on this! -- Virginia