With more than 1000 cars on show, Christchurch’s Street Machine and Muscle Car Madness lived up to its name yet again
Summer. Lots of sun (hopefully), BBQs, cruising in your V8 and car shows. One of the first highlights of my annual social calendar is Christchurch’s Muscle Car Madness. Most people count down the days to Christmas and the days they have left on holiday, but me, I can’t wait until that’s over and it’s time to hit the car shows.
This year I made a decision to break from tradition and go to MCM on Sunday. I usually go on Saturday, as I can’t bear to wait another day and feel I am missing out on everything, but it was my birthday on the Saturday and I agreed it wouldn’t be fair on my partner to just bugger off on my ‘special day’. Come Friday I’d seen the weather forecast and was seriously regretting my rash decision. The show has had a bad run with weather on Saturday for the last couple of years, but this year it looked as if Sunday would be the bad day ” just my luck. Fortunately, and to my great delight, when Sunday morning rolled around it was a beautiful day ” yay! Mid-morning arrived and it was time to jump into the old beast and drive out to the show. I’ve been going to MCM for many years and have watched it steadily grow in size and popularity, but wasn’t expecting too much different to previous years. Boy, was I wrong. MCM has a new major sponsor this year, Annex Road Metals, and I don’t know if this had anything to do with the changes made to the show or if the organiser, Craig Stare, got a second wind. Whatever the reason, I liked it.
After a nice, windows-down summer cruise out there, I got to the show and was waved into the back carpark and shown exactly where to park by some friendly assistants ” very professional from the get go.
To get to the main part of the show I had to walk past the burnout pad (I was disappointed to see it was the same size as last year, but I guess there isn’t much they can do if that is the amount of concrete they have to work with), and noticed there were people standing round to get a good view. Silly buggers, I said to myself, the burnouts aren’t for another hour and a half. Next thing I passed on the way to the cars was a large array of trade stalls, where I stopped and drooled at everything from chrome headlights, airbag kits and custom airbrushing to full turn-key hot rods and everything in between.
I finally got to the cars, and what a selection of there was on show. I was not too sure which way to look. Fords, Holdens, Chryslers, Chevs ” they were all here, and more. Hold on, what’s this? An extra section that hasn’t been here before. Information overload. I’m sure there were at least a couple of hundred more cars here than last year, and so many that I hadn’t seen before. With shows like this you seem to see mostly the same cars each year, but this time there were new entrants everywhere ” and it wasn’t only me; I heard other people muttering words to friends along the lines of, “It’s much bigger than last year,” and, “There are heaps of new cars this year.”
The Scavengers Club was there in force, with its own style of rat rods that always warrant a second look. Burkes Metal Works had some very well-built custom cars on show, and there were fine examples of lots of time and money spent everywhere. Of course I had my favourites, including an extremely straight black two-door Monaro, an immaculate 1961 Cadillac Coupe Deville that was every part a show car, and a 1967 bright orange Ford Falcon station wagon sitting on 17-inch Foose wheels that I just wanted to jump in and take home.
Then it was time for a good old hot dog and chips from one of the caravans, and a walk round the campsite and through the carpark to see all the cars that weren’t on display. As usual, that didn’t disappoint. The camp site was well set out and it looked as if lots of people had made a weekend of it again this year. There were also heaps of fun slides and rides for the kids, and some grass kart action going on for the bigger ones.
I sat down for a bit and had a listen to the band that was playing, The Brothers Grim. It had a good old school rock groove going on, and everyone else listening looked as if they were really enjoying it too. Then the flow of the crowd suggested it was burnout time, so I followed the droves over in that direction, passing a couple of car-loads of cruisers, including a cool matte black FJ (I think) Holden ute overflowing with young fellas, and a strange-looking eight-wheeler that looks like it started life as a couple of Holdens and now has a spa sitting in the middle of it. Now I realised the guys I’d seen an hour-and-a-half ago weren’t as silly as I thought they were, because there was no way I’d get anywhere near the burnout pad, or even six rows back, to see. But from the smoke and the sound of popping tyres and the cheers from the crowd, I’m guessing it was pretty good. I took this opportunity to have another look around the cars and hit it with military precision this time, going row by row twice so I could see every car. Time to go home. It had been a good two-and-a-half hours and I’d probably had more sun than I should have, but I’d seen a lot of great cars, ate some average food, seen lots of parts I’d like to buy for my car and listened to some good rockin’ music. Time to make the journey back to the big smoke. What did I think of MCM this year?
A++, a fantastic job done by all. Will I be back next year? Hell yeah!
Words: Barry Lorrimer Pics: Sean Craig