It's called the Thunder Cruise for good reason - but only one car at day three of the Repco Beach Hop yesterday needed earplugs to be handed out to spectators.
Karl Boniface drew a crowd among the 800 or more classic cars and hot rods in Onemana when the body of his 1974 Chevy Vega was lifted up and the engine fired with fuel.
Boniface is a plumber from Invercargill, but he's also the owner and racer of possibly the freakiest car you'll see at Repco Beach Hop 20.
"It's pretty scary, because it's 1970s so there's not a lot of tuning. It's start it up, point it, and hang on."
His recreated "nitro funny car" does a quarter mile drag in 6.8 seconds, travelling at 340 km/h - and it makes a lot of noise about it.
"It's probably one of the noisiest cars you will ever hear."
Ear plugs were handed out and spectators warned their eyes would water as the car - "basically a bomb" - had an explosion of fuel in the engine after a period of revving up.
Boniface is sponsored by Castrol Edge, the major sponsor of the Thunder Cruise, and takes his drag car around the country.
But you can't even call him a petrol head.
The vehicle runs on nitro methane fuel, which he imports and must buy in bulk.
Boniface describes the experience behind the steering controls as similar to meditation.
"It's a very mental sport because reactions are the difference between winning and losing, and you've got to psyche yourself into it. You haave to prepare yourself.
Your mind speeds up almost like you are in slow motion inside the car
"Even while I'm working on the car, I'm visualising the line over and over."
When he wants to drive, two workers must lift the car body and strap him in: "You are cocooned in there cut off from the world, sometimes I actually fall asleep because I'm visualising the line. The tow truck moves and the car gets a jerk and I wake up."
He says some people buy cars like his and change their mind when they're strapped in.
"It's pretty scary in there."
Boniface has had two close calls and both were in Masterton. He once drove off the track and on another occasion, an explosion in the motor damaged the body. "Other than that it's got great reliability, which is good because they're basically a bomb."
Thousands of spectators lined the rural road into Onemana south of Whangamata for the event and convoy and display by the surf beach.
On Thursday, Whitianga's main streets were closed and a relaxed street party atmosphere filled the air as record numbers drove north for the Beach Party.
Waihi Warm Up Party on Wednesday featured an Undie 500 in which Hauraki mayor Toby Adams joined a team to relay race through town with undies as the baton.
Saturday and Sunday are the biggest days of the festival for Whangamata with rock and roll bands, a rock and roll club parade up Port Rd on Saturday from 9.30am and the Grade Parade of motorbikes and cars from 10.15am.
Originally the Whangamata Rock'n'Roll Festival, which drew 4500 people, the 20th anniversary event attracted 38 classic cars lovingly restored and this year's major prize was a red 1965 Ford Mustang.