By Greg Stokes
Every year in mid January is one of New Zealand’s largest car show and swapmeet weekends. The annual Kumeu (say Koo-me-you) Hot Rod & Classic Car Festival is typically the first major event after Christmas and the diversity of vehicles is what has made the event so popular. More often than not it’s the event within an event which appeals the most to the hardcore traditionalist so allow us to introduce the Retro Junction display. This traditional rod & custom (read Hop Up guy & gal) display is organised by the kiwi native Bakersfield based Squeak Bell and his fellow Whakatane Rod & Custom Club members. Ya’see, Squeak spends his summer in the USA each year then flies back to New Zealand in December to enjoy the summer there and he sure enjoys his time back home.
The Retro Junction display celebrates all things which the avid Hop Up reader enjoys and it’s become a drawcard to the main event if you like. This year was no exception with all kinds of neat hot rods and race cars and a couple of customs on display. It was neat to see work in progress projects and already people are planning to bring cars to the Retro Junction display next year. As you will see, the traditional style is very strong in New Zealand with rodding dating back to the fifties despite the smaller population and back then the lack of speed equipment available. What New Zealand lacked in parts or products was made up for with innovation and ingenuity. We plan to take a more indepth look at New Zealand hot rod history in the future but for now enjoy the cool selection of rods and customs at Retro Junction.