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Celebrating cool cats, hot rods

By Beckie Wilson

[email protected]

A Porirua couple had a change of plans after an accident in their 1932 hot rod last year. But with the car fixed, they they are back for this year’s Cruise Martinborough.

Lyall and Lucy Stewart had only recently bought the fiery red Ford Deuce Coupe — Mr Stewart’s dream car.

The day before the couple were to set off for their car heaven weekend in Martinborough, Mr Stewart had an “unfortunate experience” while driving the hot rod along the Wellington motorway.

But the couple still turned up for the event — in their campervan.

“We met a lot of people last year and it will be great to see them again,” Mr Stewart said.
“It’s great being with people who share the same passion.”

After the accident, the car was fully restored by Magoos Street Rods specialist garage in Masterton.

“The car was severely damaged from the accident, to the point it was touch and go whether it had to be written off from an economic point of view, rather than from a structural safety point of view,” Magoos owner Lloyd Wilson said.

“What was evident that it was an exceptionally high standard of car, it wasn’t your average hot rod.

“The restoration process had to maintain the same quality.”

This year marks the third Cruise Martinborough event. The four-day festival starts on January 26 with a host of activities planned.

Owning a vintage car such as the 1932 hot rod isn’t an everyday hobby — it’s quite a financial commitment, but “it is worth it in the long run – it’s a lifestyle choice”, Mr Stewart said.

“I’ve always been interested in them, I even used to buy hot rod magazines when I was younger.”

Mr Stewart bought the car for himself, not to show-off, although it is a beacon for attention.

The car, as he describes is “a good weather car”, but it’s also the whole package – “it’s real boys stuff”.

“If you don’t like attention, it’s the wrong car because it’s a major attention grabber.”

Last year Cruise Martinborough drew in hundreds of people to the region, and is expected to this year again.
Last year Cruise Martinborough drew in hundreds of people to the region, and is expected to this year again.

Event organiser, Damien Pivac, said Cruise Martinborough would be “bigger and badder.”

By early January the numbers of registrations had already topped the previous years’.

“If people want to keep coming then I’ll keep doing it. The aim is to get 500 to 600 vehicles, and at the moment, we are getting close to 300, so it’s possible.”

Mr Pivac came up with the idea of Cruise Martinborough after attending car events across the country in his car with friends.

“We thought Wairarapa would be a pretty cool place to do something similar with the straight roads, the scenery and the destinations.

“I started telling my mates I was going to do it, and so then I had to.”

There are some changes from last year’s event, he said.

“The first year we had one South Islander, and now we have over a dozen. We have people coming from as far as Northland, Auckland, Bluff and Queenstown.”

Not everyone had to be a “car person” to enjoy the weekend, many people say the journey to Martinborough is half the fun, he added.

Events this year include a live band at the Lake Ferry Hotel, a gathering at Farriers carpark in Masterton, vintage markets and fashion shows.

A drive-in movie experience has been set for Martinborough, with public parking up amongst the vintage cars to watch the movie.

The entire profit from the programme sales is donated to chidren’s charity Ronald Macdonald House .

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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