The first two weekends in February proved to be busy, busy, busy.
Sunday February 1st saw members lining up their automobiles at The Galaxy of Cars at Western Springs. This venue is now becoming quite familiar but thanks to some upset from Mayor Leonard Brown and his band of renown we found that our previously pristine grassy sward had been turned into something resembling a council gravel pit. A smooth, level plateau surrounded by trees was transformed in to a work in progress demolition site flanked by a monster, brand new block of public toilets. Needless to say the lads and ladies did not find this transformation to their liking and grey skies depositing frequent showers on to immaculate convertibles didn’t help either. The grey skies obviously discouraged attendance both by the public and from members. Last year’s record turnout was decimated by a 50% reduction of cars on show and frustration at having to constantly raise and lower soft tops was fortunately assuaged by the presence of Bill Bray with his all new, two gas bottle, top of the line barbecue setup. This very impressive facility makes it possible for Bill to both fry and boil various delicacies so that the bad old days of burnt sausages have gone forever.
The people’s choice voting system awarded four prizes (valuable gold and silver cups) to: Ken Williams 1958 220 Cabriolet and Garry Boyce 1957 SL190 in the pre 1970 section. The post 1970 selection went to Lloyd Marx with his recently restored 1971 280SE with second place going to Simon George owner of the very popular 1978 SEL450 6.9 Panzar. Unfortunately the SL190 suffered damage on exiting the show, a less than proficient driver (not the owner) claimed that this came about as a result of having to pilot a left hand drive car past a culvert designed for right hand drive vehicles.
The following Saturday it was time for the annual Tour d’Elegance, phase one of the 2015 Classic Car Show. Vehicles representing most of Auckland’s car clubs mustered at 10.00am at six locations spread around the city. The six groups all motored over different routes heading towards Vellenoweth Green at St. Heliers with the aim of arriving at lunch time for a giant picnic. The weather fined up and our car started from Northcote and headed up the East Coast before crossing to the West Coast, then cruising back to Harbour Bridge and the city. Garry Boyce, the Concours Supremo, was on hand to meet us. Our members parked their cars in group and happily munched through baskets of food. It was a great sight to see a gathering of some of the finest cars ever built, with good representations from England, France, USA, Germany, Italy, Japan and Australia.
The next day, Sunday, it was all hands on deck to prepare our club display at Ellerslie Racecourse. Bill had his new barby on hand and our marquee received a constant stream of visitors all day. The theme this year was ‘The Big Screen’ linking cars to famous films. Our members provided a 1957 300SL roadster, a 1928 (replica) SSK, 1976 450SEL 6.9,1978 350SL, 1969 280SL, 1960 180, 1966 250SE Cabriolet. Each car was linked to a film and visitors to our stand were asked to match the car to the movie. Barbara had gone to endless trouble to organise the display and congratulations go to her and Greg plus a big thank you to those who provided the cars. Once again we were unable to persuade the show judges that our stand was entitled to receive an award BUT…
Down in the main arena the Master Class was being judged and right in a prominent position was Garry Boyce’s just completed 1956 Gullwing 300SL. There were four other contestants in this class, the winner taking the accolade of being the number one classic car in New Zealand for 2015. The Gullwing was sitting very nicely on its knock on wheels, its rare aluminium body was freshly painted in a creamy, custardy colour and the interior was trimmed with red tartan. For most people at the show this would be their first and perhaps last opportunity to view a car of this calibre. The dashboard displayed a vast array of silvery dials, switches and knobs all perfectly restored and the famous gullwing doors were in the raised position. Judges were swarming around the car with hands enclosed in white gloves, clipboards were at the ready and the car was scored for each of its entities. Some judges were inclined to frown and then peer closely at some imagined imperfection. I was told that the car received the maximum possible number of points for the paintwork and the overall result was a clear win for a superb car. Garry received two trophies and a certificate plus numerous congratulations. Lloyd Marks (leader of the restoration team) was on hand to see the ultimate successful finish to thousands of hours of work and we club members were very proud to have a small share in a great victory.