2012 Art Deco

After an early start, we met up with our friends David & Sally in their 1930 Studebaker roadster at 7.15am at the Karaka Service Centre and soon after  headed south for Cambridge, for our coffee stop.   Then as we sailed through each town, we made Taupo at 11am for brunch.  A lovely trip so far with the Packard humming.  A good trip over the Taupo/Napier highway, eventually arriving in Napier around 2.00pm – yes here at last for another great weekend!

Thursday evening we were treated to a lovely BBQ as part of the Chrysler Club (Packards were the orphan vehicles!), a lovely night with lovely hosts.

Friday morning saw the guys under the bonnets, ‘tweeking’, cleaning, and making minor adjustments, so it was off to the Antique Fair for the girls!    So busy and so much to see there, we had a lot of fun but had to be back at 11am, as we were again going to Hastings.   They held a vintage market again, and many of us fossicked around—ah such fun!!.    We had  7 vehicles, 3 Packards, a Studebaker, a La Salle, a  Buick, and an Oldsmobile, so we made quite a colourful showing as we parked around the fountain in Hastings.   We soon had crowds of people around the cars, while we had lunch at a lovely café.  After lunch we were treated to a tour of the newly restored Westerman building above our lunch venue.   This was restored in the Art Deco style to keep as authentic as possible to the original, and we were stunned at the wonderful result.   Then headed back to Napier for a leisurely afternoon.


Friday evening we donned our gladrags and parked in town by the soundshell.   Some of us attended the opening Soiree, then between a group of us we set up a table and with nibbles and a glass of champagne, we were set for a lovely evening, ending with us listening to the sounds of the big band, and watching the energetic dancing, over at the sound shell. 

Some members attended a very posh dinner at the Mission Estate, to celebrate 75 years of the NZ Airforce.  From all accounts it was a fabulous evening. 


Saturday morning dawned a beautiful Napier day and saw us up bright and early to be at Napier Boys High School for morning tea provided for us  by a local school – very yummy.   This year there were only 6 Packards, as many of our members had attended the Wanganui Rally, and the Southern members did not attend this year. It was lovely to see the new addition of Alan and Brenda Davies’ 1941 120 Convertible Coupe.  We arrived in town to line up ready for the lunchtime parade through the centre of town. With around 250 vehicles it made a spectacular sight for the thousands of people lining the streets, on balconies and up at the soundshell area. The afternoon was spent lunching, wandering around town, and catching up with people we know from all over the country.


Off into town for Saturday night, where we set up the table again for an evening of friendship and fine dining. While dining ‘al fresco’ we were approached by a colleague of our daughter, (who was to look for the bronze coloured Packard).  Her fiancé was one of the Harvard aircraft pilots, who had flown over in display earlier on a picture-postcard evening.   We were introduced and before we knew it, 4 of the 5 Harvard pilots, plus the Mustang pilot, were around the car.  Next thing..would Malcolm open up the bonnet as they wanted to see the Packard engine, because the Mustang had a Packard Merlin engines.   I overheard Mal saying ‘Your engine is much bigger than my engine!!   Well we were invited to the airfield on Sunday morning to get a close up and personal look at them.  They were prepping the aircraft for their final display at midday on Sunday, but we were treated to photos and a very interesting account of the display routine from the pilot who breaks off formation to perform solo.   Boy it’s all about physics isn’t it.  We were exhausted just listening to him, and can see how it takes so, so much concentration. 


We headed into town after our visit to the airfield, to attend the memorial service, which is held each year to commemorate the ‘Veronica’s’ help in 1931.   When this ship was decommissioned, the Navy  donated its bell to Napier City, so the bell is paraded very solemnly into the sound shell area, where it is hung until the end of the day on Sunday.     Sharing a final dinner at a local restaurant, it would sadly soon be time to start packing for the trip home tomorrow.   We had a lovely trip including our final leg home. Until next year……..                                                                                                      

……….Terry Dean

Photos of this year's Festival


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