Classics Museum, New Zealand

‘Sunday, Monday, Happy Days…’

One thing the Kiwis do very well is preserve their past. The Rainy Isles contain many world class museums, including a number helping to preserve New Zealand’s motoring heritage. I’m a bit partial to looking at old vehicles, and recently visited the Classics Museum in Hamilton, an amazing place chock full of cars and memorabilia.

Classics Museum, Hamilton
Shinier than a baboon’s backside

There was plenty of 50’s style, chrome and shine on display.

Classics Museum '54 Buick
’54 Buick. Yeah baby
Classics Museum '54 Buick
Chachi might have loved the Buick’s spacious bench seat at the drive-in, but it made Joanie nervous
Classics Museum '58 Pontiac
The design of the ’58 Pontiac is rarely described as understated
three wheel car

Car museums often contain not only the spectacular, the sporty and the stylish, but also the unusual, the ugly and the just plain shithouse. The Classics Museum is not exception. The ‘designers’ of this ‘car’ have clearly got their hands on a surplus ski lift gondola.

The roof was never the same after Big Trev sat on it

The museum also included a trove of automotive advertising nostalgia. This ad includes a review of the Isetta, claiming the car took the ‘corners and bends’ as ‘stable and steady as a rock’. It failed to mention that the acceleration and top speed of the vehicle could also be accurately described as rock-like.

Isetta advertisement
The ‘sunroof’ was not installed to enjoy fine weather, but rather to accommodate the head and shoulders of the occupants. During wet weather, Isetta owners generally caught the bus
Isetta advertisement

Also of interest is the early use of Photoshop in the ad, inserting people into the car despite this clearly being a physical impossibility.

Would you let this man lubricate your transmission?

Texaco advertisement 1950s
Castrol Advertisement

Oddly, asking for Castrol products by another name caused confusion.

With so much valuable historic hardware on display the management had to lay down a few ground rules for visitors.

Presumably driving off in the cars is also frowned upon.

Don't touch the cars
Classics museum

In the old days, bumper bars were mounted on springs to absorb impact. These days, bumpers are designed to fall apart at the slightest contact, followed by the complete disintegration of the front half of the car and the deployment of 15 airbags.

Cars reflect the style and feeling of an era; whether bold and confident, lavish and opulent, or conservative and restrained. Our present ride may be the last car we’ll own with an internal combustion engine. Or perhaps you already drive a hybrid or electric vehicle? Whatever the future holds, for those of us with a mechanical bent, collections like Hamilton’s Classics Museum will continue to provide a fascinating link to our past.

To visit the Classics Museum website click here

If you liked this post, you may also like The Royal Automobile Museum, Jordan, Malta Classic Car Museum

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2 responses to “Classics Museum, New Zealand”

  1. Sonya Avatar

    What no photo of the Ford Prefect? Arthur and Trillian would be disappointed 🙁

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