13 July 2016
Today, a domestic automotive manufacturing industry is not something you associate with New Zealand. But organisers of this year’s Speedshow, along with the Buy New Zealand Made campaign, have teamed up to create a one-off display of road going cars designed, built and sold by Kiwi manufacturers – the first time any exhibit like this has been created.
Amazingly, in addition to a significant number of domestically built racing cars over the past hundred years or so, there have been around 35 different brands of road-going automobiles created and sold in New Zealand in significant numbers, and the Speedshow collection of around 20 hand-picked examples of cars from the past and the present will give visitors to the show and car enthusiasts a unique opportunity to view some of the best.
The display will include current cars like the spectacular track-focussed Exocet, the stunning classic Jaguar-inspired Beecham MK2 and road-going sports cars like the Fraser and the Almac Sabre. NZ made ‘kit car’ replicas like the world renowned Countess Countach and the EMW will also be on display. A newly restored example of New Zealand’s own 1970s Land Rover rival brand, Trekka, is just one of several vehicles on display celebrating the country’s modest but fascinating car manufacturing past. Representation on two wheels comes from the original Cardinal Britten.
“The scale of the industry past and present is what will be surprising to most, and there are some real motoring gems in the collection highlighting our present and past automotive manufacturing industry,” explained Speedshow organiser Ross Prevette.
“It’s always been a small industry, but an industry it was and an industry it remains and we think that in this day and age where we are bombarded by imports from every corner of the world, that in itself is well worthy of celebration.”
The Buy NZ organisation will be supporting the official display with their own stand where visitors can see other Kiwi products and find out more about what it means to be a New Zealand manufacturer.
They can also try their skills in the simulator in a virtual recreation of one of three New Zealand designed and built racing cars, attempting to beat a lap time around Pukekohe Park Raceway set by twice World Touring Car Champion Paul Radisich.
Buy NZ is currently attracting increasing numbers of new members and manager Trina Snow says the Speedshow display isn’t just about bringing together a unique collection of cars, but also represents a great opportunity to learn how New Zealand companies have taken on – with varying degrees of success - the fiercely competitive automotive marketplace.
“The Buy New Zealand Made campaign is all about encouraging people to buy and sell domestically made products,” she explained. “And not just in New Zealand either, we're talking exporting and taking our great products and brands to the world.
“What’s really neat about the Speedshow display is that as well as being a unique collection of some of the classic Kiwi cars built here over the years, it will also highlight the domestic manufacturers of today who compete in both the local and international marketplaces with extremely high quality products.”
The New Zealand-made car display will be one of two themes at this year’s show, with the second being a display featuring a history of iconic racing cars spanning around a century that have competed in New Zealand.