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Beach Hop Whangamata New Zealand

By: Richard Fleener

I love my cars and all we get to do with them but it is really about all the great people we meet when Katrina and I take them out. One example of that is Robert Pegler of New Zealand. Robert and I first met through this web site. Last summer he made one of his regular trips to the US and found time to stop by and visit with us and check out some of our cars on his way to the Daytona/Superbird and Talladega 40th Reunion at Talladega Speedway.

On his return to New Zealand (with a couple of new American cars in tow) he remained in touch and even provided photos of what the car culture in New Zealand is like.

One of his favorite shows for the Kiwi car lovers is the Beach Hop held every year in Whangamata! (Sounds like a great name for a big hamburger!)

They just held their 10th anniversary event in late March of 2010. Remember the Kiwis are on the other side of the planet so just as most of us are beginning to celebrate spring they are just going into the fall season down under.

The event has a number of different car shows going on at the same time in different locations with all venues connected by free bus service. The cars are all American and of top quality; everything from hot rods to muscle cars. The Festival is not limited to cars. It also features Rock and Roll bands and motorcycles. For the past couple of years they have had some of Australia’s top bands perform at the Beach Hop.

One of the biggest draws each year is the car give-a-way. Last year they gave 3 Mustangs away. This year they had a Hot Rod, Motorcycle and a custom Buick Station wagon.

This is the Hot Rod they gave away in 2010!

This Hop at the Beach is sponsored by many of the same car related companies we have right here in the States as well as some local New Zealand car fanatics. I don’t know how many cars showed up for this year’s event but in 2008 they had a reported 1,300 plus cars!

If Katrina and I ever go “down under” this is an event we will try to take in!

If you would like to know more about the Beach Hop check out their web site at www.beachhop.co.nz. If you really want to get into the spirit check out this video. This reminds me so much of attending the annual Route 66 Rendezvous in San Bernardino CA!

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I grew up and lived in Iowa for a good portion of my life before moving to Southern California. After 20+ years we now live outside Nashville Tennessee. I have been into cars since I was old enough to remember. I don't have a brand loyalty although I do prefer American Muscle especially the 1969/1970 NASCAR Aero Cars. (Check out our other web site at www.TalladegaSpoilerRegistry.com site) As long as it has four wheels and an engine I get excited. Few men are lucky enough to be able to share their passion for cars with the woman they love. Fortunately, my wife, Katriana, is also a gear head and many of our activities revolve around the cars. We have a small collection that includes at least one car from each of the Big Three. It includes a Best of Show winner, a survivor, a driver with lots of patina and several others. Katrina prefers all original cars while I like to modify them so we have a few of each. When we aren't playing with cars we are out working with or showing our miniature donkeys. You can see more about that part of our lives at http://www.LegendaryFarms.com.

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