Car maintenance, tinkering & upgrading

Kiwis have a love of tinkering or sprucing up their cars, myself included, but I am a complete amateur. Here are some gems you can get through the library:

Muscle Car Madness this weekend

Cover of Road hogsIt’s my favourite time of year when petrolheads get together to ogle the sights of the Muscle Car Madness at Rangiora Showgrounds this Saturday and Sunday.

The variety of cars, vans, utes and even motorbikes is phenomenal. So get your black t-shirt on and join us there!


South Canterbury All Australian Day Car Show

Cover of Australian muscle car magazineComing of (driving) age in Australia infused in me a love of Australian-built cars. Young Italian-Australians used to cruise around and around Fremantle, Western Australia in their immaculate Valiants as slow as can be so everyone would see.

My first two cars were Holden Torana’s 1974 LH (186 bored out to a 192 engine) and 1971 LC (171 engine) models which in all honestly were total rust buckets but I loved them dearly. I cried the day my LH Torana was compacted in the crusher at the wrecking yard. My LC Torana was so full of bog (car body filler) that it used to sink on sandy roads and there was no metal to attach a tow bar onto. Our first cars are often our lifetime love.

Cover of It happened in a HoldenNext I saved up and bought a 1988 VL Commodore which was only about 5 years old by then. It was a beautiful sky blue with a 3L engine. I thought I was pretty swish. Since moving back to NZ I had cheap Japanese imports but still had a hankering for the bogan vehicles. After a failed attempt at owning a VL station wagon dubbed ‘the Golden Holden’ (too much rust for W.O.F), I’ve finally got myself the ultimate Aussie car: a V8 Commodore. This time a 1995 VR with a column auto and a cool-as bench seat, and in sky blue again too!

Cover of Hey ChargerIf you too love the Australian cars get along to the South Canterbury All Australian Day at Caroline Bay, Timaru on Sunday 6th September 2015, 10am-2pm. Gold coin donation to see some great Holdens, Fords and Mopars (Valiant/Chrysler). Organised by the Timaru Holden Club and the Timaru Falcon Fairlane Club.

Enquiries to Craig Trimmings 021-511-150 or Murray Stevenson 021-223-1772. All proceeds to Westpac Helicopter Appeal.

I will be taking my V8 to the show with the Holden Club Canterbury. I thoroughly recommend joining a car club. They are great fun.


What is it about trains (and other kinds of transport) that is so attractive to people? I struggle to see the appeal myself but I am fascinated by the voracious appetite in the publishing world for books on various forms of conveyance, with trains being an especially popular topic.

Three such new titles have just hit library shelves. My favourite would have to be Transit maps of the world. Yes, that’s right, a whole book about transit maps. Of course, most people would be familiar with the elegant design of the map for the London Underground but failing that, have you ever considered any other maps of this kind worthy of glossy colour photos and a potted history? Well someone has, and they’ve published it. In fact the book in question is actually a second revised and expanded edition. Extraordinary!

Train fanciers might also to be interested to know that Cade’s locomotive guide, the must-have publication for railway modellers is newly arrived and chocka-block with colour photos of trains (both real and model) as well as a mindboggling array of statistics and measurements, most of which I do not understand. I can’t for the life of me imagine what “tractive effort” is but I’m sure those in the know will find this information useful.

The illustrated encyclopaedia of extraordinary automobiles has a lot within its pages to hold the interest of car enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike. Grouped by decade the automobiles detailed run (or should that be drive) the gamut from the NASA lunar roving vehicle to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the Batmobile, James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 and the “popemobile”. My favourites would have to be the sci-fi inspired concept cars of the fifties and sixties like the Ford Gyron. Very Jetsons.