And my quest to hit 500,000 kilometers in my Fiesta ST.

2017 Auto Spectacular

It’s been a couple of years since we last attended the Auto Spectacular in Dunedin as there have been clashing events in our calendars. The cool thing about the Auto Spectacular is that there is always a focus on a particular era, genre, make or marque of vehicle/s. This year the focus was on Japanese Classics, Ferrari and the Chevrolet Camaro.

We left town a little after 7.30am on Saturday morning in Nathan’s TRD Camry, with Nathan, Robbie, Dad & I in attendance.

Nathan’s had his Camry for just under a year now and this was the first trip I’ve been on in the vehicle, other than a jaunt around town. The Camry was one of ten built by Toyota New Zealand, featuring the following customisations over the standard Camrys:
* 3.0L Supercharged V6
* 5-Speed manual gearbox (this car was only ever offered in an automatic variant here)
* Custom TRD-embroidered leather interior
* Custom body-kit & front grille
* Remus exhaust
* Fancy alloy wheels
* Did I mention the Supercharger?!?!

I’m sure there’s plenty of other features that I’ve neglected to mention, but this car was pretty much loaded with everything Toyota could throw at it in 2001. Each of the ten cars built by Toyota had their own specification sheet, detailing the unique features of the cars.

We made fantastic time through to Dunedin and even with four people in the car, had no struggles getting past slower traffic. The smooth power delivery and bags of torque propelled the car forward at a very impressive rate!

Before we even entered the show, we had a decent glance around the parking lot & surrounding streets, as there were plenty of interesting cars parked up from like-minded enthusiasts in attendance.


As a fellow Capri owner, I had to catch a few shots of this German-assembled MK3 Capri parked out on the street. A very tidy car!

Considering that we’re not long out of winter, the weather was superb. During our last visit to the Auto Spectacular, we froze on the way up & then inside the stadium it was like an icebox. It didn’t make for an enjoyable event that year.

A couple of really cool rat-rods were in attendance and attracted a rather large crowd. At first glance they just looked like they’d been hacked together, but once you started looking at all the little details, you saw how much work and attention to detail had gone into their construction. Look at the size of those rear truck tyres on that Ute!

Someone’s pimped-out Toyota Century, the top-of-the-line luxury limo that they made for nearly thirty years. The second generation Centurys, currently in production are now powered by a V12, which would make a superb cruiser.

The Celica above is a genuine World Rally Championship model, which Toyota had to produce 2,500 of, in order to meet FIA requirements so that they could rally these cars. Producing 252bhp, with 4wd, I’m sure this thing can move rather promptly.

My favourite car of the show, a 1937 Graham Supercharger 116 Sedan.

Containing a 6-cylinder motor, with a flat aluminum head, it produced 106bph. Back in 1937, this must have been one quick car. Only 5,000 116 Sedans were ever produced by the Detroit-based car company and this car was one of them. Sold new by a dealership in Methven, this car has remained in the country & is now owned by a couple in Waimate.

Another couple of gems that attracted my eye during the walk around, including a 458 Speciale.

The above Mk4 Cortina was one of the tidiest examples I’d ever seen. The current owner brought the car second hand back in 1981 and it was used as the family car through until June 2005, where it went into storage. In March 2008, the building where the car was being housed, suffered a fire and the poor Cortina suffered a fair bit of damage.

In mid 2014, the car was stripped down to a rolling chassis and had rust & body repairs done before being repainted in the original colour. A number of new and replacement parts were fitted in order to restore the car to the way it originally left the factory. The owners, Bryan & Marion McConachie must be very proud to have such a superb car.

Hitting up Wendy’s for sustenance, we hit the road and traveled back to Invercargill. A great way to spend a Saturday!

5 Responses to 2017 Auto Spectacular

  • That Camry. At first I was like, what? Who fixes up a Camry? Then I saw the supercharger and 5-speed manual. Awesome! Looks like you guys had a nice Saturday. I’m glad you found another Capri owner. Since there was a focus on Chevy Camaros, how many of those were out there?

    • Hi Tyson. Yes, indeed – That Camry ! The paint received a treatment when brand new and it has stayed very sharp ever since. No sign anywhere of a touchup. I’m very happy with it in my collection, and even happier driving it !

      • Hey mate would love to have a talk to you about your Camry. I was involved in part of the modifications that were carried out at Thames Toyota plant.
        Cheers Kiel 0272161964

    • Yep, the Camry is just interesting enough to get a few looks from those with trained eyes. Even better when you fly past them and they’re trying to figure out what’s happened, ha! There was probably 20-25 Camaros parked in their section in the building & probably 15-odd Ferraris. All in all, a pretty interesting day out. Hope your week is going well!

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