Thirty years of muscle

by Andy Bryenton

Muscle Car Madness was established 30 years ago because of Rolleston resident Craig Stare’s passion for cars of all makes, models and vintages. It’s an obsession, which afflicts many fellow Kiwis and that deserves celebrating; hence Craig’s determination to make a chrome-plated, flame-painted, nitro-burning show of it.

“I have been infected with the car bug since I was 13 years old. We drove past the Rangiora Showgrounds one time, and I decided it would make a great camp-out place for a weekend event,” says Craig.

“The first weekend attracted 44 cars and 88 people and last week we saw 963 cars and 2,500 people camping on-site with another 800 cars arriving on the Saturday.”

Craig says that people from all around the world come to see the chopped, channelled, tuned and supercharged exhibits, with visitors calling it ‘the best car show in the world’. Alongside classic heavyweights from Detroit like Dodges, Chevys, and Fords, there’s everything you can think of in the classic and vintage ‘jukebox’.

“I mean everything; from early 30s hot rods to the late model and near brand new muscle cars,” says Craig. “The 50s and 60s range are always popular — hence the beauty pageant is based on that era. We even had a two-year-old girl from Rolleston in the pageant pushing her pram!”

Cars entered from Whangarei to Bluff, with one ferry sailing carrying 220 classics. People entered ‘mad car’ designs such as replicas of the Wiggles’ red car, Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine, and a spa pool and bar vehicle.

The People’s Choice Mothers Polish award went to Russel Lowe, who brought in a Model A coupe with an aero engine. The Rodders Choice Silvester V8 award went to Josh Trybula for his 1941 Buick ‘led sled’, and while the patrons enjoyed the displays, the music and the food on offer, local Civil Defence and the Waikuku Surf Lifesaving Club were the recipients of the day’s charitable donations.