Trillos Metals 32nd Muscle Car Madness, Rangiora, January 22, 23

Smoking it . . . Jacob Warren putting his 1957 Chevrolet through its paces at last year's show. Photo: Supplied

By Robyn Bristow

The countdown is on as Rangiora prepares to host one of the largest automotive events in New Zealand.

The Trillo Metals 32nd Muscle Car Madness (MCM) Show opens on January 22 at the Rangiora Showgrounds, and promises a great weekend for car enthusiasts, particularly as many automotive events have to date been cancelled or postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Organiser Craig Steere says with the brakes put on travel plans due to Covid-19, it has meant that a lot of “car people” have been spending their holiday money on their car projects or buying a new collectable classic.

But they have ended up “all dressed up and nowhere to go” to show off their vehicles.

Now is their opportunity, says Craig.

He expects up to 2000 cars to turn out at the showgrounds, with over 200 vehicles expected to be driven down from all parts of the North Island.

Craig says MCM draws out some amazing one-off vehicles.

This year Pete Schmanski’s nitro-burning blown, hemi powered 1934 Ford coupe, from Palmerston North will be on display.

Garth Hogan is hoping to bring his Ford bonneville salt flats car that has clocked over 180 mph.

“It has a stinking hot flathead engine, making it possibly the fastest flathead V8 in the world.

“The car was virtually totally destroyed in a garage fire, but it has now been painstakingly rebuilt and it will be fired up at the show,” he says.

Will Dickinson will have his custom Toyota “LoLux” on display, which is one of the hottest new vehicles in the import scene, with amazing attention to detail.

Aside from the cars there is plenty of entertainment at the grounds.

The Rockabilly Pageant kicks off at 12 noon on Saturday with classes for the whole family, including the littlies.

Straight after this the burnouts start at 1.30pm.

Craig says this is a “wickedly popular” event to which spectators clamour to get there early. Classic rock performed by Sign of the Firebird will play for an hour before the burnouts begin.

This year Greg Murphy is a guest judge thanks to the burnout sponsor, Stadium Finance.

“Again it is not possible to bring in overseas bands but we do have the return of the Auckland based Rockabilly Band, and The Recliner Rockers along with some top local up and coming bands,” says Craig.

Add to this all the trade stalls and special interest car displays including the celebration of the “90 years of the 1932 Ford”.

Anyone bringing along their ’32 Ford to display will get in to the event for free.

Craig says one group from the North Island has a budget of $50,000 for the trip, a lot of which will be spent in the North Canterbury community.

“The event usually brings over $4 million into the North Canterbury community, and directly benefits the local Civil Defence and the Waikuku Surf Lifesaving Club.

show, the rodeo and many other events, it gives locals and out-of-towners a long awaited fun weekend.”

Wednesday night, but the first official event is the “Twin Towns”cruise on Thursday, January 20, which will see around 300 cars travel through Rangiora’s main street at 7pm. The cruise then tiki tours through some residential streets before returning to the Rangiora main street and heading to Kaiapoi by around 7.30 pm.

On Friday, January 21, the annual run to Ashley Gorge for lunch will be held, with the actual show on view to the public from Saturday, January 22, and Sunday January 23, 9am to 4pm.

Don’t leave it too late to visit the show as some cars do leave for their journey home mid afternoon. Entry is $20 for adults with children under free.

A vaccine passport is required to enter the event, or an official exemption certificate.