Although New Zealand has a pretty decent petrolhead culture with a grand history of racing, touring and collecting great cars, we miss out in the construction stakes compared to our Aussie cousins across The Ditch.
If you’re interested in great-looking vehicles from this part of the world, then chances are you’re going to be looking to import an Australian car.
So here’s our list of some of the best-looking cars built by our trans-Tasman cousins.
Ford Falcon XB
So, chances are the reason why we’re so in love with the Falcon XB is because it was the basis of Mel Gibson’s original 1979 Mad Max chase scenes, providing the canvas for his black Pursuit Special and the Main Force Patrol’s pursuit vehicles.
But it’s also the car that took motorsport great Allan Moffatt to two Aussie Touring Car Championships in 1976 and 1977 and is the subject of a 2009 doco by Australian actor Eric Bana called Love the Beast, which also features Jay Leno and Jeremy Clarkson.
The FJ is simply what you picture when you imagine classic 1950s Australia – and that’s not surprising when you consider that 170,000 vehicles were produced in the first three years it rolled off the production line from 1953. It’s been the subject of film and song and the ute and panelvan versions conjure up real images of the rock n roll era downunder.
Chrysler’s R-series Valiant
The modern, spaceage look and heaps of power under the bonnet made the R-series more than a match for the embedded Fords and Holdens when it burst on to the scene in 1962. Aussie motoring writer Gavin Farmer says the model “changed the landscape in Australia”.
Famed for the “Hey Charger” adverts, this iconic Aussie muscle car is about as 1970s as it comes. It also enjoyed huge racing success on this side of the Tasman and has a large following today – for more information contact the Chrysler Restorers Club of New Zealand.
Any Ute or Panelvan
Does anything smack of Australia more than the shag-pile luxury of a classic panelvan – customised to within an inch of its life by generations of surfers and petrolheads. Panelvans gave birth to endless summers and the sort of long-haul roadtrips we just don’t get on this side of The Tasman. There’s also a whole heap of wonderfully restored classic utes – of any of the major constructors – if you’re keen to bring a bit of Aussie car history to this side of The Ditch.
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