Hello, my name is Taryn. You might remember me from my guest blog post that was featured last year during the Speedhunters Miata Celebration Week. This year the team at Speedhunters have asked me to come back and share some more automotive related stories with you, so I thought I’d start today by giving you an insight into what it’s like to be an entrant in a New Zealand car show, and being involved with the amazing car scene that goes along with it.
Firstly, here’s something I always think about. If you were the only person left in the world and you were to build your dream car, would it be the same if you finished it but you were the only person that could see it? Would it give you the same feeling of joy and accomplishment if you were the only person in existence to be able to appreciate its beauty, its presence and its power? Would it be the same, if you weren’t able to share your joy and your passion with others that felt the same way? I think about my answer to this question often.
For the past three years when I’ve stood amidst the chaos that is the 4 & Rotary Nationals here in Auckland, I couldn’t be more confident in my answer. No, I don’t think it would be the same at all. After months or even years of hard work, sitting back and admiring your car in your own garage is one thing, but proudly putting your car on display and having other people admire and appreciate it with you is another. I think it’s one of the best feelings ever.
At the end of January each year, this is what modified car enthusiasts from around the country choose to do, to come together and participate in our biggest car show here in New Zealand, the 4 & Rotary Nationals Show ‘n’ Shine.
When people build a car or embark on some kind of automotive project here in New Zealand, whether it be a big money dragster or a purpose-built show car, they generally work around getting it completed in time for Nationals. With January being mid-summer here in New Zealand, it’s the season for most of our main automotive events and the perfect weather for car cruises and meets!
This was the third time I’d entered the Show ‘n’ Shine competition, which gives people a chance to put their cars on display and be up for various awards. I’ll be honest; I’ve never expected to win anything before because to me it’s not really about that. It’s more about getting involved in our scene, and being given the opportunity to share my project with other people. It’s also exciting to see what other projects have been brought along – especially those that seem to emerge from nowhere! Sometimes I forget that not everyone openly shares their build progress on the internet.
I feel like I can relate to Mike’s recent post about his car addiction as for the past three years I’ve entered with three different cars! This year however, I’ve been working on a particularly special build. It’s special because it’s one of my absolute dream cars, and when I look at it I still shake my head and think ‘I can’t believe I own this’. I love it that much.
I’ve owned this 280Z for just under a year now, a time during which I’ve had to make many sacrifices to make my S30 dream come to life. I’ve spent nearly every pay packet on modifying this car; I’ve even flown overseas to get parts for it. It certainly hasn’t been easy…
… especially when a few months ago I had to make the very tough decision of selling my MX5 to fund my new project in order to get it finished and ready for the show this weekend. But I knew that in the long run it would be worth it!
I spent last Friday night down at the ASB Showgrounds getting the Z looking its very best in preparation for the thousands of enthusiasts that would flood the three massive exhibition halls the following day.
After making sure every detail was perfect I couldn’t forget to add a Speedhunters sticker to the rear windscreen!
The Z didn’t look anything like this when it found its way to its new home in my garage last year, so being able to show people the result of the transformation that I’ve put it through is really exciting. This would be the first time the car would be seen by the public at an event, and I’ll admit I felt kind of nervous about it. Would my car stand out against the hundreds of other cars in the show? Could I stand a chance at winning an award this year?
Although all of these questions were constantly running through my mind, mostly I was excited to show off the project that my whole life has revolved around for what feels like so long!
Come Saturday the showgrounds were already buzzing with people by the time the show opened at 9am.
The general reaction the car received was great, and I was thrilled at the compliments that came from so many different people!
It was the only S30 in the show too, so I guess that helped with making it stand out as something different.
During the course of the day I also got talking to the owners of some of my favourite cars in the show, as I was curious to see if they agreed with my theory. What was their favourite part about entering and having their cars here – what did they feel like they got out of it?
Ben Phillips is one enthusiast that I have a lot of admiration for. A total perfectionist when it comes to his cars, he’s one of those people that refuses to sleep until he gets every detail done right.
Ben explained to me that for him, it’s being given kudos for all of his hard work and dedication to his ride that really makes everything pay off. “I sit in my garage and work on this car every night. What’s the point in doing so if I can’t show off all of my hard work? I love the challenge in having a project car and having to get it ready by a certain point in time. Being given the opportunity to be recognised and rewarded for my project is really satisfying”.
This year the 13B bridgeport-powered Mazda 323 was looking even better on Work Equip 01s, and Ben took out the award for best wagon for the second year running!
To say that Carl Thompson’s quad-rotor GS300 is an inspiration might actually be an understatement. One of the most talked about cars of the show this year, Carl has devoted several years to making his vision for the perfect drift car come to life, which he says is the best part about being able to share the car with us at Nationals – letting other people see his vision become a reality.
Although judging by some of the expressions on people’s faces as Carl fired up the 1000HP 26B engine, I don’t think they could even believe their eyes – or ears!
Later in the day I sat and watched the awards being given out at the official prize giving. It always reminds me of being in primary school and having to sit on the floor in anticipation of the principal announcing your name, and it brings back that same weird nervous feeling in your tummy. With so many extremely high quality cars in attendance this year, I didn’t manage to score any awards, but I still felt an overwhelming sense of satisfaction.
In some ways, being involved in the Nationals is a bit like attending a family reunion.
Recognising all the friendly faces from our scene, meeting new people who share your passion and catching up with old friends and sharing what new modifications we’ve done or new projects we’re here to reveal, this is what it’s all about!
Together we all have one thing in common – our lives revolve around these machines; but what fun would they be without the people that come together to enjoy them as a community?
Although I left without a trophy I still couldn’t help but feel like I’d achieved exactly what I came to do. Seeing people’s faces light up with excitement as they turned the corner and saw the Z sitting there was such a good feeling.
We might be a small country, but I feel as if kiwi ingenuity helps us bring some of the world’s most impressive rides to the international car scene. It’s being surrounded by some of our country’s coolest cars and the sense of belonging to our automotive community that gives the Nationals the amazing atmosphere it has.
Now that the Z is finished cosmetically, I can’t wait to get started under the hood, which hopefully should see it looking and sounding even better come next year’s competition!
– Taryn Croucher