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Gleaming beauty . . . Graham Coates and Sonya Hills-Coates, both bakers with Rangiora Bakery, with their 1948 Chevrolet pickup truck at Muscle Car Madness. This year, the Rangiora couple also showed a 1939 Ford Deluxe and a 1928 Ford Roadster. PHOTO: NEIL CLARKSON

By NEIL CLARKSON

Rangiora had petrol in its veins last week as muscle cars converged on the town.

High Street was heaving with people on Thursday evening for the Muscle Car Madness downtown street party, ahead of the iconic event at the Rangiora Showgrounds.

The street was packed with more than 200 cars during the mild evening, which unfolded to the rumble of encircling thunderstorms.

Hundreds of muscle cars packed into the showgrounds for the popular four-day gathering, with a story behind every one.

They ranged from hot rods built from old classics to the giant left-hand-drive “yank tanks” of old, as well as the big Fords, Holdens and Valiants that were once the mainstay of New Zealand big-car motoring.

Old Chevrolets, Cadillacs, Buicks and their like could be seen at every turn, gleaming in the weekend sun.

The smell of burning rubber at times wafted across the grounds as enthusiasts made good use of the burnout pad, which drew hundreds of onlookers.

There were live bands, trade stalls and food outlets to keep visitors fed and entertained.

The event drew fans such as Rangiora couple Graham Coates and Sonya Hills-Coates, who brought along their 1948 Chevrolet pickup truck, 1939 Ford Deluxe and 1928 Ford Roadster. Both were happy to bask in the sun and soak up the atmosphere.

Jimmy Williamson, of Hornby, Christchurch, had his 1963 Valiant AP5 at the event. Jimmy bought it from a friend, who had dismantled the car 16 years earlier following an engine problem. Jimmy had 18 months to restore it in time to be his wedding car – a task he successfully achieved.

Kaiapoi’s Lisa Berg took her two-door 1963 Ford Fairlane along to the event. It’s a rare model and Lisa spent a year seeking one to buy. Remarkably, she found a suitable one in her home town 18 months ago. At times, she even drives it to work.