A female tourist has been charged with careless driving causing injury after a two-car collision wrote off a classic American muscle car and put the driver in Wairarapa Hospital yesterday.

The tourist, heading north on SH2 south of Masterton in a station wagon, was turning right into East Taratahi Rd when her car collided with a 1970 Pontiac Firebird heading south and carrying a passenger, shortly after 5pm.

The impact, on the front right fender, shunted the Pontiac into the fenceline. With the driver's position on the left side, the car's passenger side bore the brunt but it was the driver who was taken to hospital with moderate chest injuries.

Masterton acting sergeant Tony Matheson said the man was Status 3, meaning serious but stable.

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"The female driver has been arrested, for careless driving causing injury."

He said alcohol did not appear to be a factor. Police closed SH2 to southbound traffic for a short period, diverting cars down Cornwall Rd.