Wheels at WANAKA

6 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJune 19, 2019

15,000 people flocked to Wanaka‘s Threes Parks site at Easter for the inaugural Wheels at Wanaka vintage show. It seems organisers hit the jackpot in terms of content, action, and organisation.

Photo: Gerard Daldry from Protranz Earthmoving won a Judges Special Award with this impressive Mack Titan illustrated with wonderful airbrushed tributes to Kiwi icons Murray Ball and John Clark.

The event was conceived initially as a 60th anniversary celebration for the West Otago Vintage Club and escalated following discussions with fellow vintage vehicle enthusiasts and Upper Clutha contracting identities Kevin Capel, Allan Dippie and Robert Duncan. Wheels at Wanaka was formed as a charitable trust with surplus funds being directed to community organisations. This year‘s benefactors were West Otago Vintage Club and Coastguard Wanaka Lakes.

Four normally separate events were set out across the picturesque 50-acre Three Parks site: an expansive car, motorcycle and truck show, the tractor and farm machinery exhibition, along with a vintage fair housing trade, market and food stalls, and the Earthmoving Extravaganza. A well-formed parade ring was located in the middle of the grounds and ran almost non-stop for both days, with each category having time in front of the audience. As the vehicles were parading an informative commentary was provided by a guest commentator with knowledge of the specific field. More than 100 trucks, both classic and modern, representing operators from both islands, were displayed, including the first New Zealand-assembled Mack, now owned by Motor Truck Distributors.

Photo: Many trucks lined up in the centre of the parade ring for an impromptu display following their final lap on Sunday afternoon.

The Mack FR was displayed alongside original owner Graeme Manson‘s restored Mack ED. One of the headline acts was the Gough‘s CAT-sponsored Earthmoving Extravaganza planned to run both days, but unfortunately being cancelled on Saturday due to heavy rain the night before.

Come Sunday morning the grass embankment above the specially constructed arena was well patronised by members of the public, who were treated to an absolute spectacle of working machinery covering the period between the early 1940s and the late 1970s. A massive effort by many people saw machinery transported to Wanaka from around New Zealand, including three pieces from the collection of Cambridge-based C & R Developments Ltd, and more than 20 machines from Earthmoving Extravaganza co-organiser Paul Clarke‘s collection that included a recently acquired 74 tonne Caterpillar 660B motor scraper. Wheels at Wanaka is set to become a biennial fixture, with plans already afoot for Easter 2021.

Photo: The 16V71N Detroit Diesel powered PayHauler 350B dump truck brought back memories for many who worked on the South Island earthmoving projects of the 1970s and 80s.

Photo: A scene reminiscent of much of New Zealand during the 1950s and 60s – classic Caterpillar D8s towing scoops.

Photo: Paul Clarke‘s restored ex MOW International F230D and International R190.

Photo: Central Machine Hire.

Photo: Names from days long since past on Canterbury‘s roads – Burnett‘s Motors Ltd and Mt Cook Line.

Photo: Tandem pushing – ‘The Buzzin Dozen‘ C & R Development‘s recently acquired 1956 Euclid TC12, the only operating example in New Zealand, moving an impressive bladeful with the help of a 1972 Caterpillar D7F.

Photo: Graeme Paul Motors Ltd is a well-known Otago institution when it comes to the Ford product; this 1972 D1013 has a genuine 30000 miles on the clock.

Photo: Paul Clarke‘s Caterpillar 660B scraper was a crowd favourite – seen here being push-loaded by a 310kw (410hp) Caterpillar D9H bulldozer.

PRIZES Wheels at Wanaka

Light Commercial Mack ED Graham Manson
Pre-War Chevrolet Johnson Family
Classic Thames Trader Ryan Pullar, K Worth Holdings
Modern Mack Super Liner John MacDonald, Road Metals
Judges Special Award Mack FR Murray Sowerby, MTD
Judges Special Award Kenworth LW924R Maarten Durent, Southpac Trucks
Judges Special Award Mack Titan Gerard Daldry, Protranz Earthmoving
Best Classic Bulldozer Vickers Vikon bulldozer Vic Draper
Classic Earthmoving Equipment LeTourneau LW16 wheel dozer Rick Goodman
Horsepower Award Caterpillar 660 B motor scraper Paul Clarke
Performance Award Euclid TC12 ‘The Buzzin Dozen‘ Ross Brothers C & R Developments
Judges Special Award Euclid 16TDT motor scraper ‘Brutus’ Paul Clarke
Judges Special Award Furthest travelled with the best kit Ross Brothers C & R Developments