For motoring enthusiast Brett Hills, there's nothing sweeter than sitting in his Lotus twin-cam Escort and turning the key.
"The sound you get is pretty special. I'll go start it up in the car shed and just sit there for a while," Hills said.
Hills has owned the bright orange Mark I Escort for 34 years and it is the subject of a special fascination for the Ford enthusiast. The car is considered to be quite rare, with only 17 others in New Zealand.
The car was among hundreds of others on show at an All Ford Day held at Blake Park yesterday.Parked among the trees with several other versions of escorts, the car showed little wear and tear from over its 50 years.
Hills said the real beauty of the car lay within the originality of it.
"The car is basically original. It has had a little touch up of paint but not much more than that."
Hills said he would have to be in a pretty desperate situation to even consider selling the classic. And there was something particularly special about Escorts, the first of which were made 50 years ago, he said.
"I've got four Escorts and I love them. You can't get away from them. They are just an iconic car. They've just got so much appeal for so many people. They handle well, they perform well. You don't have to do a lot to get a bit of performance."
Hills is a member of the Ford Muscle Car Club which organised the event.
President Barry Gordon said more than 370 cars were on display, with more still rolling through the gates when he spoke with the Bay of Plenty Times yesterday afternoon.
"We've had cars from Gisborne, a couple from Taranaki with their Escorts, Auckland and a guy who's come from Whangarei, so people have come from all over," Gordon said.
"It's all about pride of ownership. A lot of guys have grown up with their parents owning Fords at the time and the passion has just stemmed from that."
The annual event was the 19th for the club and operated as the club's main fundraiser while also raising money for local charity.
"A good chunk of that money, we are going to do a donation to the Waipuna Hospice. We like to put back to the community that's given some support to our members as well," Gordon said.