The other week (gosh I have been a bit lazy getting this up) Tastes Like Petrol went to the MTA100 car show here in Wellington.
The Motor Trade Association was formed back in 1917, to represent the motor trade industry. They are an advocate for motoring in NZ, and do everything from entering submissions for law changes, helping with customer disputes at workshops and work to get new mechanics into apprenticeships. They are a valuable resource, and the MTA100 show was to celebrate their 100th year since being formed.
They had a few different areas set up for various “features”. Outside the venue was an electric car stand, showcasing the latest and greatest tech from car manufacturers. There were a few different cars set up for the public to have a poke around, but the best bit, was that they were also offering rides and drives in various electric cars.
In addition to a lineup of somewhat tame EV cars, there was also a small display of these cool little electric motorbikes. The UBCO Utility Bike. It’s a 2×2 electric drive bike that claims to have a top speed of 45KPH, and a range of 100KM. Not so good for open road cruising, but would be great out on the farm or on the rural back tracks.
I chose not to drive any of the EVs due to some really dodgy insurance policy wording that you had to sign before driving (basically signing that you, and you alone will pay for any damages in the event of an accident. There is NO insurance cover). I wonder how many people read that clause before driving these cars on the road!
We did get a ride in a Tesla Model S though, and wow, what a car. Even though this was a base model, it was still very lush inside, and really pushed you hard into the seat when the “throttle” is opened wide. Such a great looking car too.
There wasnt a lot of head room in the back of the Alcantara clad interior, but all the surfaces looked and felt expensive. Closing the door was like closing off the outside world, and just surrounding yourself in technology. Dominating the dash is this massive 17″ touch screen display. I always thought it looked tacky and garish in photos, but in person it fits really well, and suits the whole feel of the car.
Inside the venue the first display you come to was a fantastic display of iconic and very special Kiwi motoring legends.
The Project 64 Mini was on display. This is the first time I have seen this car in person and its an amazing sight to see. The P64 Mini was built by a small team is New Zealanders to break records on the Bonneville Salt Flats. It was aiming to break two records in 2012, the Speedweek I/BGCC (under 1000cc turbo or supercharged petrol competition coupe) existing record of 211KPH, and the Unofficial World’s Fastest Classic Mini record of 195KPH. The team smashed both of these records, setting an average speed over a couple of runs, of just under 236KPH. Going back in 2016 they hit a top speed of 267KPH with a 15KPH headwind, and left there with a record of 251KPH (once again an overage over a couple of runs). Unfortunately the engine came to a grinding halt on the last day when the oil pressure decided to disappear.
The body changes were minimal, but under that skin was some incredible engineering. Keep in mind the above speeds were made on a 970cc A-Series Mini engine, with a BMW motorcycle twin cam head and a turbo pushing about 20PSI. That’s a darn good effort.
Of course there must be something about Kiwis at Bonneville….. because only a matter of meters away, was a replica of the Indian motorcycle that Burt Munro also hand-built to smash records on the salt. It was incredible seeing the design and engineering that went into his bike. Burt did almost 300KPH on his old bucket of bolts!
On the other end of the NZ-Built scale, is the Trekka. Built from 1966 and based on a Skoda Octavia, it kinda looked like a small Land Rover, or a Jeep, but had far more limited off road capability. Still cool nonetheless.
Another iconic, and awe-inspiring motorcycle from an amazing New Zealander was the Britten V1000. Designed and built in the early 90s, only 10 were made, and its design was WAY before its time. John Britten and his small team designed and built almost the whole bike, using only a handful of parts (like the Suzuki gearbox) from other manufacturers. Even the 999cc quad-cam V-Twin, fuel-injected engine was designed and built by Britten.
Moving along into the main hall, was displays from various car manufacturers with their latest and greatest.
Center stage was this weird as hell Rinspeed thing. Apparently its some sort of self driving concept car. The paint was amazing, it had so much flake in it, but was really hard to photograph. Front and rear, the light clusters were some sort of display
Downstairs is where the really cool stuff was though.
In comparison to the electric bike up top, this one was converted from a superbike to electric. There wasn’t much info that I noticed, but it looked awesome. Not sure whats worse though, lying on a tank of petrol, or on a bunch of high voltage wires.
Including this weird little Mini Jem. Its a fibreglass kit car using the classic Mini front and rear subframes, running gear and engine. It was tiny, see the photo with the folding chairs for scale. Bet it’s a hoot and a half to drive (if you can get in it).
Theres some more photos I didn’t use in this post, on my Flickr