Muscle Car Madness roars into Rangiora


Trevor Halstead is driving his multi-award-winning radical custom Studebaker from Waikato. PHOTO:...
Trevor Halstead is driving his multi-award-winning radical custom Studebaker from Waikato. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Excitement is building for the South Island's largest automotive event at Rangiora this weekend.

Spokesman Craig Stare said the Trillo Metals 34th Muscle Car Madness on January 27-28 from 9am to 4pm is a huge family event just days before the school holidays finish.

"So, if you are a petrolhead of any age, this is the place to go, smack in the middle of the South Island at the A&P showgrounds in the beautiful country town of Rangiora, just 27 kilometres from Christchurch," Stare said.

In the lead-up to the weekend, the town will be buzzing with the sound of well-tuned V8 engines and the sight of glistening paint and chrome from 6pm on Wednesday.

Among the entries are 11 cars from Kaitaia, 26 cars from the Toy Shed in Rotorua, a contingent from Rocket Speed Equipment in Hamilton, and even a couple from Bluff.

Saturday is always the biggest day, weather-dependent of course, Stare said. It regularly sees more than 1500 cars on display, with Sunday having 800 to 900.

"Don't come late on Sunday as some out-of-towners get away early."

This year's drawcards are Trevor Halstead's bullet nose radical custom Studebaker, which Stare says has every panel changed from the original and is a contender to take out some of the awards.

"It is currently the top custom in New Zealand. Trevor does all the work himself in a modest shed in the Waikato and has a fleet of owner-built Studebakers."

Another drawcard will be the top hot rod in the country belonging to Greg Haliday.

"His 1941 Willys coupe is world-class," Stare said.

"It took eight years to build by Rocket Speed Equipment. It was shipped to California to be upholstered by the famous Gabe, and went on to enter the very exclusive Detroit Autorama where it won its class.’’

This is the first public showing of the car and its only South Island appearance. The 800-plus horsepower coupe is fully certified and street-legal.

Photo: Facebook
Photo: Facebook
Stare said some clubs use the event to promote their business and display cars they have built, or to show potential customers what can be done.

Other group displays by car clubs include Falcon, Holden, VW classic and Hot Rod, with many running membership drives during the show.

In addition, a huge van display around an American diner backdrop includes vans from across New Zealand.

Specialised car insurance companies will be on site, such as Classic Cover insurance to give exhibitors a quote on insuring that piece of precious metal.

"Also on site to give your car that finishing touch are some of the country’s top pinstripers in action, free-hand striping your entire car or even children's pedal cars."

Stalls and family fun
There will be a wide range of food trucks on site at the 34th Trillo Muscle Car Madness event, and a huge number of trade and craft stalls.

The official event T-shirts sell out quickly and can be purchased for $30 from the blue t-shirt container.

Admission will cost adults $20, children under-16 free, and a two-day pass (public hours only) will be available at the gate for just $30.

Stare says to keep in mind each day has a lot of different cars and music.

"This huge family event has everything you could imagine. It also brings three to four million dollars into the community," he says.

For further information, call Correna on 027 545 7877 or email

Popular burn-outs big attraction
The Stadium Finance-sponsored burn-out competition is one of the most popular events at the Trillo Metals Muscle Care Madness event, starting just after 1pm each day.

The finals are on Sunday.

"If you get to the burn-outs early, Sign of the Firebird plays from around noon at the pad.

"If it rains on Saturday, the burnouts will be on for longer on Sunday," says Stare.

The rockabilly pageant will take place on Saturday in the big concrete shed, which was trialled last year due to rain.

The shed was perfect for this event, Stare says, so will be held there again this year.

All classes are catered for — even classes for the kids, Lil Miss Rockabilly, and Koolest Lil' Dude.

"For wives and partners, there is even a class for your man, so he won’t get bored."

On the music front there are three Australian Rockabilly acts this year — the Rockadees, Queen of Rockabilly and Hellcat 111.

Other bands include the Recliner Rockers from Auckland and Sinner Man Saint from Wellington, among others.