There were envious oohs and aahs as a crowd enjoyed the shiny chrome and chugging of powerful engines at the Wanganui Road Rodders' 40th Birthday Show 'n' Shine yesterday.
"Seeing them is only half the fun. You've got to hear them too," one woman said.
More than 100 hot rods lined up in Moutoa Quay and nearby parking spaces, with more than half of them from out of town. The oldest dated back to the early 1920s.
But age doesn't count for as much as looks in a hot rod, club president Tristan Teki said. Most of the cars were American, and modified. Some race, but that's not really the point, either.
They are for fun, for looks, and feed a nostalgia for the era of Elvis and rock and roll dancing.
"It's just all about the cars and having fun," Mr Teki said.
A ramp was set up on the riverbank where a small crowd gathered to watch rocker cover racing. In it rocker covers from V8 cars, adapted into mini vehicles and prepped for speed, raced two at a time down the ramp. The crowd were asked for a gold coin donation, the proceeds going to Hospice Wanganui.
Wellington owners Robbie Ferns and Theresa Ramirez were clearly besotted with their 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air in "tropical turquoise blue".
Mr Ferns said he imported it from North Carolina seven years ago, and it was easy to get parts because they were now being reproduced new.
The weekend's birthday celebration started on Saturday.
To give the visitors a new experience, one of the club members organised for them to be welcomed on to Whangaehu Marae in the morning. Then the group of 200 was treated to a hangi lunch.
After that, and full of food, they went to Turakina Domain for an afternoon of driving games. One of the highlights was tandem motorcycle racing. The club had made up two tandem motorbikes.
"The person in front could only steer. The person at the back could only balance, so it was quite a laugh," Mr Teki said.