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Out & About With Wellington Rover Club

Last weekend Tastes Like Petrol was invited to join the Wellington Rover Club Run to the Manawatu.

It always seems like I don’t have the right car at the right time, and this was no different. A big thanks goes out to Nick, who not only invited me along but was my means of transport on the run. With the TVR in the garage, and no Rover in my collection, I instead got to experience being a passenger in Nicks recent purchase; a lovely Rover 75.

Seriously, for the price these cars are asking, its stupid good value for money. 2.5L V6, full leather, wood, plenty of interior space (headroom a little low in the back, but good leg room) and good comfort. His one, in particular, is in very good shape, having been well looked after by its previous owners.

We stopped and picked up another two cars on the way, turning us into a convoy of Rovers

The first part of the run was to head out to Fielding and check out the swap meet at the Manfield Racecourse. This place was full of so much stuff it’s hard to know where to start. Everything from rare old classic car parts, to memorabilia and household items from long ago.

I found some TVR Tasmin brochures in mint condition, but just couldn’t bring myself to pay $45 for one. This seller must’ve had thousands of manuals and brochures there, of all makes and models. There were some good gems to be found if you had a dig around.

The range of cars inside the event was varied, with some cool gear on the ground. Some were for sale, and others were either on display, or tow cars for trailers.

The carpark was where the action was at though. The organisers were directing classic cars to a special part of the carpark. The range was varied, from classic American trucks

To show condition hot rods

And plenty of British metal

This old NZ New Merc 250CE showed up in the carpark at one point. Spotless inside and out, just stunning.

I love the angry look of the Triumph Vitesse. Cool little cars

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Rover run without some Rovers. All of them looked great; a real credit to their owners.

It wouldn’t be a car based event without some cool cars in the normal carpark.

You just never see the Subaru SVX around now. A very interesting design, and quite out-there considering what else was being built at the time. Flat six engine, AWD, auto.

But the true unicorn in the car park was this BMW. This is an E46 M3 Touring. A car BMW never made, but widely regarded as a car BMW should have. This one was built by HellBM in Auckland, and is sporting the full conversion including the wide front and rear guards, S54B32 engine and SMG transmission. A gorgeous beast.

I won’t go through all the cars now, but I’ll leave a gallery at the bottom of the page for all the photos I missed.

Moving along from Manfield, we added another couple of cars to our convoy, and headed into Fielding for lunch. Very cool seeing a row of classic Rovers going by.

After lunch, it was onto the Rush Collection. This place is amazing. It’s a small private collection that opens by appointment. The Rush family team of Terry, his wife Joy, and son Tim run the show, and between them the knowledge and experience is immense. If you ever get a chance to go here, do it.

The collection is everything from cabinet after cabinet of toys and models, to brass lamps and even taps.

But what you’re really there for, are the rare cars. They’re mostly race cars, with some road cars thrown in the mix.

Memorabilia is everywhere, a lot of it signed. Most of the cars have a special history and story, of which Terry is more than happy to share as he runs through the cars in the shed.

Just an example of the calibre of cars present; this was the first single seater race car Bruce McLaren drove. Yes, the same McLaren that lent his name to the supercar company, and had a short but incredible history in racing.

1952 Cooper. Just man and machine. No safety features, no electrics, no comforts. I particularly like the mirrors attached to the front transverse spring.

Next to the Cooper is a Brabham BT4 that both Sir Jack Brabham, and Denny Hulme won races in.

Across from these cars was something you cannot miss though. An old, fully restored, Morris truck. This is their transporter for moving the cars to and from races (yes, most of the cars do get out and about). It’s powered by a Chev LS engine, mid-mounted and at 100KPH will light up the rear wheels with a stab of the throttle!

On its deck was another absolutely stunning restoration. This Lola was spotless.

Another significant car is the 1972 McLaren M22. One of three made, and the last one to still exist. These were the last model McLaren Race Cars sold to the general public. Apparently there is one other suspected M22 they of, in the States, which was crashed and then buried in a hole never to be seen again. This one regularly gets out on the track though, as it should.

Another crazy car in the collection is the McRae GM3/9. This started as an open wheeler like the McLaren M22, but ended up over time being developed into this massive machine with a ton of ground-effects. I seem to recall being told the body was all hand-shaped aluminium too.

This gorgeous old Chevrolet Nomad wagon had an interesting history. Apparently it was used as a “school bus” for the… “coloured” kids. Lucky them I say, what a cool wagon.

A couple of, unusual, NZ designed and built Crowther cars lurked at the back of the shed. One was a liftback, and the other a small ute. The ute is a Toiler, but I can’t recall what the blue liftback was called.

The last part of the shed to show, was the dream. A large workshop off to the side.

Just a normal shed project…

After having a real good look around, it was time to leave and move to the last location for the trip; a seed and grain mill.

Ready to leave

A grand gate

Upon arrival, despite the sudden downpour, we lined the remaining Rovers up and got a photo in chronological order.

This was an interesting collection. The owner is a serious American car collector and restorer. Totally not what I expected.

As soon as you get through the door of the nondescript garage, you’re greeted by two things. First, a massive old 1915 Cadillac.

And the other is this partially completed restoration. Another huge car, although I don’t recall what it is. The workmanship is gorgeous. The owner of the car is very particular about all the details, and it MUST be correct.

All throughout this place there were cars, and bits of cars hidden everywhere.

Most of the cars are in running condition and regularly used. A few have done the full length of the country at least once!

Once again the quality of the work being done here was top notch. Of particular interest was this giant engine. A complete ground up recreation of the original engine, which is so rare that original parts are near impossible to find now. Everything has been custom made. They are making three for an American customer.

Some original parts did exist, but all of them had some sort of issue that needed redesigning before they could recreate them. All the internal components are huge. The Camshaft is about 4ft long!

I don’t know a lot about vintage, likely pre-war American cars so I can’t say much more about what was there, other than it was all very old, and very cool.

So that was that, An awesome day out with the Wellington Rover Car Club. A huge thanks to Bob and Nick for organising it, and Nick for inviting me and being my taxi. It was a good turnout, and great to meet and catch up with the other members that attended.

Extra photos from the Swap meet

Extra photos from the Rush Collection

And Photos from the Cadillac Collection

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