SEMA is one of the largest automotive shows on the…
When we say ‘Dirty South’ in no way is that meant to be disrespectful. Things are a little more grass roots down in the South Island, and everyone likes to get their hands dirty. Building as much of your own vehicle as you can seems to be a badge of honour that everyone wears with pride. This in no way is a bad thing, in fact it’s very kiwiana, Kiwi can-do attitude at its finest.
The southerners are obsessed with old school Japanese metal. There was mint ‘vintage’ tin everywhere you looked, in fact there weren’t many post 2000’s registered vehicles at all and this was not a bad thing, some of the nicest rides of the country were present at the ‘champs’. We aren’t just talking about modified rides either, some rare original examples were pulled out of the woodwork for the show.
Compared with the other 4&Rotary events on this years calendar, the South Island Champs has a very laid back feel and atmosphere. Even the ego’s are at a minimum, and everyone is there to have a good time.
This year the South Island Champs show and shine was moved to a larger venue. In 2013 at the Trafalgar centre, cars were packed in like sardines. So with more room to view the cars it was ideal.
A massive theme of the Champs is the engine swaps, four cars that really stood out:
RB20DET in a ford escort (which will later be swapped out to a RB26DET).
A twin turbo 1UZFE in a DX Corolla.
SR20DET in a GC8 coupe
Wheel fitment wise there was a plethora of rides pushing the limits but the stats that had us oogling were these Work Equip 18×10 +18 and 18×11 -32 on this S-Chassis.
Honourable mention to the murdered out Sileighty.
The craziest install still belongs to the PIMPNU WRX. TV’s in the engine bay, ‘nuff said. For many attendees this style is over the top. I bumped into someone that had not been to a show like this before, I asked him what his favourite car was, and he pointed to this car. It goes to show that everyone’s taste is different and this is why our scene rules.
Club k had a cool line up of rides with a majority coming up from quake city. They also had a zombie dress up theme, there were tons of concerned faces when members of this crew were seen walking alone as the wounds looked very real.
The ‘Timeless Rides/ ‘Loose Logik’ crew put together a fine assortment of vehicles that represented the scene of the upper north island.
At the show we saw a huge number of people wearing ‘Obsession’ t-shirts, worried that it was a cult I needed to get to the bottom of the mystery. We later found that they were just a bunch of mates that all hung out and cruised around together, and happened to like wearing matching tops.
Just like the obsession crew these guys also like to wear matching tops.
The drags were held at the Motueka Drag way and was run by the Nelson Drag Racing Association. This team did a stellar job of running the day, minimum delays, maximum drag racing.
Compared to last year there were a few more race entrants. But compared to the number of cars parked at the event, the turnout was poor. The next day at the show I made a point of asking people as to why there weren’t many people participating in the drags? The theme that came up time and time again was pride, people didn’t want to be up against faster cars. The question I followed with was, if the timing system was taken out of the equation and replaced with drop flag drags would they be more inclined to race? The answer was yes on every occasion. Maybe this is something to look into for next year.
The NAC ‘Project Switzerland’ Ute was on display on both days and received a great reception. Let’s be honest, could there be a better prize up for grabs? A mint condition, slammed Toyota Hilux with a 4litre V8 sitting between the struts. That is car porn in the automotive world. Check out www.nac.co.nz for info on how to try and get this vehicle in your garage.
After the drag racing was completed the skid comp started, let me tell you there was some rubber laid down!
Right at the end of the day there are winners…
And then there is this guy…
Just kidding Zombie stormtrooper, the force may not have been strong in you but your costume was awesome!
This was the second time we had attended the Champs whilst they have been held in Nelson and both times we have had an absolutely stellar weekend. If you haven’t made the trip up/down before, we highly recommend that you add this to your list of events for next year. To all the people that had their cars parked in the pits or car park at the drags. Give it a go, it’s not about the time you run but getting out there and having a go, who knows you might just enjoy it.
Here is our video highlights of the event:
And a video from last years event:
Look forward to seeing you next year!!
P.s. Part two of the gallery up next week.