A crash involving Ford Mustang marred the first day of Taranaki's Americarna car rally.
Over 400 American cars cruised through the region yesterday to Whangamomona but the Mustang never made it back to New Plymouth as planned after rear-ending a Toyota Estima near Toko.
The Toyota had stopped at the rear of a line of vehicles at a railway crossing and the following driver in the Mustang was unable to stop in time.
A Hastings couple, Bruce and Julie McKechnie, were driving the Toyota and had been on the rally with Bruce's brother who has a 1959 Chev pickup.
Julie admitted the impact was a bit of a shock but said they were uninjured although there was damage to the rear of their vehicle and the towbar was twisted way out of shape. However, their vehicle seemed to have come through the crash better than the Mustang.
"There were about three cars stopped at the crossing ahead of us and we got hit from behind ... he just didn't see us."
Americarna organiser John Rae said they had already had an offer of another car for the family with the damaged Mustang to use for the weekend.
"That's the spirit of the people that are part of Americarna," Mr Rae said.
"We call it the Americarna calm, because everyone's so happy."
Outside of that incident, the rally's first day was a huge success.
"I've never seen so many clean and shiny vehicles; ours don't normally look like that out here," MC for the day Mark Coplestone said.
Mr Coplestone's wife Gayleen, a member of the committee behind Republic Day, said there was no way they could put on these events without the support of the community.
In true Whanga style, shearing, dog trialling, wood chopping and whip-cracking demonstrations in the main street were part of the day's entertainment.
Shane Hurliman, of New Plymouth, took his restored Dodge Challenger out for the ride.
"It's a hell of a lot of fun, it's a real good social thing."
Whangamomona passed with flying colours on its first time hosting the event, Mr Rae said.
"The weather was stunning and Whanga turned it on.
"The week just keeps building."
- © Fairfax NZ News