Will Wilson and his father Jeff Wilson set off from Tauranga this morning to motor up to the Repco Beach Hop event in Whangamata.
They didn’t make it very far.
Driving his prized 1973 Holden Kingswood V8 with a Chevy 454 motor, Will had Jeff’s wheelchair on board and friends Chris Wilton-Jones and Jeremy Webster along for company. A short way out of Tauranga, the car broke down near the Omokoroa turn off on State Highway 2.
The front wheel had locked up on the V8 due to a bolt falling out. A quick call to the AA and Mike Deane turned up to get them back and running again.
Will Wilson pulling wheelies while friend Jeremy Webster calls AA.
On their way safely once more, they made it to Whangamata and spent the afternoon checking out the cars on display.
“The cars are amazing. It’s a great atmosphere. Thousands of people here!” says Chris. “We’ve come later on in the day so it would have been packed earlier.
“We had no traffic issues getting into town. We just cruised in, didn’t have to worry about roads and parking. Maybe because we came a bit later than we planned. I’ve been here earlier and you just can’t move.
“Today it’s so nice here. Lots of music, live bands. Good atmosphere. It’s really still, not too hot, good cloud cover, it’s really nice weather.”
The group plan to drive back before dark.
The Repco Beach Hop event includes cars, music and dancing with plenty of rock ’n’ roll.
Many of the bars are featuring bands, with the Hop Idol final, a retro caravan show, vintage market, nostalgia fair, auto swap meet and a prize draw for a Ford Mustang Beach Hop Special GT being further highlights of the weekend.
From classics to hotrods, rounded off with a rock ’n’ roll church service at the local Baptist church, the weekend has drawn thousands of car lovers into the beachside town.
They made it! From left, Will Wilson, Jeremy Webster, Chris Wilton-Jones and Jeff Wilson.
BEACH HOP IN PHOTOS
PHOTOGRAPHER – CHRIS WILTON-JONES
PHOTOGRAPHER – CAITLIN DARBY