New Plymouth businessman, founder of Americarna and self-confessed car enthusiast John Rae talks to Tara Shaskey about what he's driving and what drives him.
Q: How did the Americarna concept come about?
A:I was at an event back in 2006 and I looked at this event and I thought of what Taranaki/New Plymouth had to offer. I knew we could run a very unique event and that the enthusiasm from the people of Taranaki would add flavour to that event. We have a lot to offer in the infrastructure, and the layout of the town and the number of schools were all key to making Americarna work. We knew we could do it.
Q:What is your current position within the Americarna organisation?
A:Well Americarna is owned by myself and I am still very actively involved. I have just handed over more of the public profile to Toni Fabish and Bob Anderson.
Q:What continues to motivate you to run such an extravagant event?
A:Obviously it's my interest in motor vehicles but it's also the buzz the event creates in the community. To see all the schools and people that come out to witness the spectacle, that's where I get my buzz from. It just makes the hairs on my neck stand up.
Q:How many American cars do you own?
A:I have a few. It started with a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air two-door sport coupe I bought for my wife. I have been involved in motorsports for many years and she has always supported me so I wanted to give something back. We have a 1932 Ford roadster hot rod, a 1933 Ford four-door sedan, I have a 1969 Mustang Fastback which my eldest daughter believes is her car, and I have a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle which I deem to be my car.
Q:In past years Americarna has been taken to Invercargill and Hutt Valley. Are you looking at taking Americarna out of the Taranaki region again?
A:Not at the present time.
Q:Are you hoping Americarna will become an annual event in Taranaki?
A:I would like to see the event become an annual event in Taranaki. However there would need to be some changes made to make that happen and I am working on that at the moment, so it is definitely a goal.
Q:What economic impact does Americarna have on the community?
A:We have to do some pretty accurate figures for Venture Taranaki and there are formulas that you need to apply but on average it has been between $2.2 and $3 million of revenue for the city, per event.
Q:What does the future have in store for Americarna?
A:To see some plans and processes put in place to take Americarna to the next level so it can reach its full potential.
- Taranaki Daily News
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