Event > Brits at the Beach V
The 5th running of the Brits at the Beach festival was held in Whangamata this past weekend, and after attempting to get along to this event in the past few years, I finally got a chance to check it out. It was a bit of stroke of luck that I made it though, as earlier in the year, my family had organised a surprise weekend away for my wife and I as a post-wedding gift for this particular weekend. When 'Brits' organiser Colin McCabe contacted me about being a guest judge at the show, I thought I was going to have to turn him down due to the clash of dates. After mentioning it to the family, they confessed that the planned weekend away was actually in Whangamata (without them having any knowledge of the upcoming Brits Festival), so it all worked out perfectly!
We arrived at the Whangamata Beach House Bed & Breakfast on Friday evening, and experienced the heaviest and windiest night that I have witnessed in a long time. Not ideal weather conditions for an outdoor festival, that's for sure!
Saturday's weather was pretty hit-and-miss for most of the day, with frequent showers coming as quickly as they went with the cool breeze. There were plenty of jokes amongst those who attended about the authentic 'British' weather, and the organisers did well to push on with the event regardless.
Ah, this is what I like to see - Ben's Mini displays a couple of KiwiMotoring stickers from our monthly email newsletter giveaway a few months ago.
Some folks dressed up in British themes - tweed suits, punk rockers and even Willy Wonker - complete with an Oompa-Loompa handing out chocolates.
I met up with the other 2 judges for the Great British Motoring Show competition, which included Larry Barnett - owner of Classic Cover Insurance (one of the event's major sponsors). Together we examined every car in the show and created a shortlist of about a dozen standout vehicles.
But there could only be 1 winner, and we all agreed that this 1970 Wolseley 18/85 Mark II was worthy of 'Best of Show'.
The attention to detail, combined with a loving restoration of an everyday vehicle of the 1960s and 70s meant that it just felt right.
I was pleased to hear many positive comments from the crowd of onlookers when the Wolseley was driven into the winners circle too.
Next up was the announcement for the Brits at the Beach car giveaway...
...and this lucky couple won the MG convertible, simply by purchasing a $5 programme and entering the draw.
Thankfully, Sunday's weather was a great improvement, which allowed the entrants to take part in the 'Bonnets Up' car show.
This de Joux Mini GT is a very rare car indeed, and was designed by one of New Zealand's most talented automotive designers, Ferris de Joux.
The de Joux is about 9 inches lower than a standard Mini, so those low-backed seats must really make you feel like you're dragging your bum along the road!
My sister had an Austin 1300 in a similar shade to this one as a first car, and I remember when someone tried to steal it one night. It was found at the bottom of our road the next morning, as they were unable to start it. Thank goodness for British reliability!
This amazing 1931 Bentley 4½ Litre drew huge crowds all weekend.
Only 55 of these cars were built with the supercharged version of the 4.4L 4-cylinder engine, popularly known as the Blower Bentley.
This piece of automotive history truly is a work of art.
Wow - I had no idea that electric fans were so advanced back in the 1930s! All jokes aside, keeping the old girl cool would certainly help to maintain reliability. The owner clocked up plenty of miles over the weekend, with regular trips around town and even took part in the out-of-town cruises.
I've got another 70-odd photos to show you, so look out for another update within the next few days.
- Brent Shaw