Under-strength lights and overcast weather combined to cast a gloom over yesterday's hot rod display and swap meet in Tauranga's downtown Spring St carparking building.
Bay Rodders president Dean Anderson said the lack of lighting caused grief for people trying to sell parts and car owners attempting to show off their toys.
Their frustrations were compounded when they discovered lights, which had been turned off, were unable to be manually over-ridden by the carpark attendant.
Complaints to Tauranga City Council's after-hours service and councillors eventually resulted in a little more light piercing the gloom on the bottom floor.
It took the shine off what had otherwise been a successful weekend involving 153 hot rodders descending on Tauranga from all over the North Island for Saturday's Winter Blast and medieval-themed banquet and Sunday's car display and swap meet.
Councillor Murray Guy, who took some of the calls, said the installation of dim lighting in the carparking building had been a cost-saving measure that backfired on the rodders.
"Good lighting is a critical element for their use of the building."
Mr Anderson said the lights above the rows of carparks at the outside of the building had been disconnected and the lights on the inside rows were so dim and spread out that it was dark in yesterday's overcast conditions. The bottom ramp going up to the first floor was "really black".
"When some of the best cars around the country are on display, and you can't even see the engine bays, it is disheartening for us and the owners."
The display and swap meet, run in conjunction with the Tauranga branch of the National Street Rod Association, was part of a "hugely popular weekend".
"I can't think of another event that is quite like ours, for a winter weekend," said Bay Rodders media liaison officer Cathi Barker.
She said $800 was raised for CanTeen by the auctioning of a unique banner painted by Kim McNaughton. It was bought by Neville Irvine and was designed to be put up in a garage or bloke's shed.