Paraparaumu, New Zealand – January 16,2017
For the entire year, we have been in New Zealand; I wanted to visit the Southward Car Museum. Today is finally the day.
Leslie, Lorraine, and I left home at about 08:30 for the roughly one-hour drive to Paraparaumu. The facility is on the northern edge of the city.
When we arrived, our car was one of only three others in the parking lot. My idea of visiting a New Zealand attraction on an American holiday, Martin Luther King Day, was a great idea.
Sir Leonard Southward began collecting cars in 1956. He bought a Model T Ford in Britain for £40. That led to another 399-plus vehicle collected over the years, the most extensive private car collection in the southern hemisphere. Sir Southward passed away in 2004, at 98 years of age.
Just inside the door, one looks head-on to a beautiful red Ferrari. I remember years ago in Scottsdale, Arizona; I sat in a red Ferrari. I did not fit! The problem was the headroom. To drive that car, I would have to either remove the top or drastically recline the seat. The angle of recline in the seat meant my arms barely reached the steering wheel. However, I showed them…I did not buy the Ferrari!
Just beyond the Ferrari was a 1915 Stutz Indy Racer. It is so much larger than the Indy car they race today. In mid-February 2017, Al Unser, Jr. is driving the vehicle at an event in New Zealand.
One of the more unique vehicles on display had to be the 1920 Dodge “Copper Car.” I must admit I do not fully understand why it had a copper body, but it was interesting.
There were many hood ornaments; some were very intricate. That is a lost art. I used many as the main focal point of my photographs.
Before this visit, I had not seen a Stanley Steamer. A 1920 model sat on display with the bonnet propped open. It is odd to see a steam boiler under the hood rather than a gasoline engine.
The badge on the hood of the 1951 Ford Custom V8 reminded me of the Ford pin my grandfather used to wear. He was a car sales representative when I was younger.
The main floor of the museum must have had at least 100 vehicles on display. Much to our amazement, there was a basement too. In the basement, there were about 40 vehicles, several of which were old fire engines. By far, my favorite vehicle in the basement was the car used in the Woody Allen movie, Sleeper.
It was lunchtime when we left the museum. We drove to Paraparaumu Beach. Directly across from the beach, we found the Ambiance Café. Our lunch was delicious.
On the way back home, I opted to drive over the Paekakariki Pass. It is not a road for the faint of heart. It is quite narrow, about 1.5 lanes even though the painted markings try to coax one into believing it is genuinely a two-lane road. Near the summit, there is the Kapiti Island Lookout. The view from there is unbeatable. The lookout is at the crest of an incredibly steep slope. One can easily see the town of Paekakariki, Kapiti Island, and the beautiful Tasman Sea.
About 20 minutes after leaving the lookout, we were back home.