Car show transforms Tahunanui

UNDER THE HOOD: Gavin Martin with a modified 1990 Toyota Hilux powered by a V8 Lexus motor at the Nelson Car Show at the Tahuna Beach Holiday Park.
UNDER THE HOOD: Gavin Martin with a modified 1990 Toyota Hilux powered by a V8 Lexus motor at the Nelson Car Show at the Tahuna Beach Holiday Park.

The ninth annual Nelson Car Show revved and revelled at a "beaut" new venue which a co-organiser said was "like a little village" for the more than 400 show cars and thousands of enthusiasts.

"We are finally here," said co-organiser Steve Steele.

"We have been trying to get this venue for years. It's here now and here for the future. It's good."

The muscle cars, custom hot rods, super charged imports and other head-turning automobiles rolled into their new show home at the Parker's Road end of the Tahuna Beach Holiday Park on Saturday morning.

The three-day car show officially started with a 126-car "super cruise" from Richmond to Nelson central on Friday night. Mr Steele said the cruising convoy stretched two kilometres from lead car ‘General Lee' to the rear, making for an impressive sight and sound.

"It was the biggest cruise we have ever had, by about three-times."

Trophies were awarded on Sunday afternoon for the various categories of show car, including people's choice, best American, best British and European, top Aussie and top painted panel.

Mr Steele said separating the main car show from last weekend's burn out competition, held at the old venue next to Mitre 10 Mega, had proved a good move.

"Some people [in previous years] were put off, trying to talk through the noise and with the smoke in the air.

"A lot of people today are here enjoying a nice and quiet day.

"Making them two events has actually increased interest," he said.

Profits from the show would go toward the development of the Tapawera Motorsport Park.

"If that opens it makes Nelson the place to come for motorsport in New Zealand," Mr Steele said.

The car show had been "so far so good" on Saturday morning, according to Leanne Martin

"At least, the weather has put on a show for us," she said.

Her young relative Jorja Carter was born with a congenital heart defect and Heterotaxy syndrome - a condition that meant her internal organs were arranged around the wrong way,.

Nine-year-old Jorja was enjoying the show while acting as a representative for children's charity @ Heart on Saturday.

"She's going to twist Gavin's arm to take her for a ride on her birthday [which is today]," Mrs Martin said.

Her husband Gavin Martin, of Richmond company Rodz Ridez and Restorations, said he wanted to do something for Jorja and the one-out-of-every-twelve babies born with a heart defect, so he was raffling rides in his brother's customised ‘Ute' - a 1990 Toyota Hilux, lowered on airbags to within a mere 5mm of the tarmac and painted bright buttercup yellow with a top speed of "fast" - with proceeds going to the @ Heart charity in Nelson.

"No one's heard of it. We are not making any money, all proceeds are going to the charity," he said.

Mrs Martin was also looking forward to @ Heart charity's heart-stopper challenge fundraiser, planned for April - a challenge involving a five-minute ice-water bath for the brave and eager.