The show was stunning, but possibly more stunning because of the numbers of people who turned up.

That was the situation at the Marineland Street Rod and Kustom Klub's 24th annual Hot Rod and Classic Car Festival which was estimated to have drawn more than 4000 people to its hectares of shining and glimmering machinery at Meeanee Speedway yesterday.

One long-time show-goer said the numbers took some by surprise, and it was possibly the biggest crowd in the history of the event.

The president of the "klub", Geoff Mitford-Taylor, said later: "It's a pretty popular event, probably the biggest club-run event around."

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"Typically," he said, "they come from around the North Island."

More than 600 display cars were counted, including about 200 Ford Falcons, marking the end of Australian production later this year. It started in 1960.

Mr Mitford-Taylor said there were a "couple" of the original 1960 models among the fleet of mainly Australian-made Falcons.

The club is now looking forward to its 25th show next May, with planning yet to start but already some confidence the weatherman will again produce the goods.

The weather was itself a highlight and the president said: "We have been pretty lucky."