It was a beautiful day for a picnic at Horseshoe Bend Tokomaru Reserve on last Sunday and an exciting one for petrol heads. Around 215 hot rods were driven to the reserve for the 19th annual Sopranos Street Rods picnic.
Classic car enthusiasts enjoyed the smell of polished chrome, V8 engines and the shiny leather seats on display and lots of banter about their beloved cars. Hot rodders came from all over the lower North Island with their motors.
Shannon man Shane Pratt, and member of the Tararua Rodders in Levin for 33 years won the President's award with his 1930 Ford Model A which he has spent the last 10 years building, making many of the parts himself, and with help from The Shed Panel Beaters in Foxton.
Shane is a sheet metal worker which helped him build the car. It is fitted with a 1957 Cadillac engine. The award is given in honour of a much-loved member of the hot rods' community, Lloyd 'Flamez' Lampp.
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Rochelle Pratt, Shane's wife, said she was very proud of her husband.
"It is the most coveted award and a very heartfelt one. We were close to Flamez".
Soprano's Street Rods spokesman Craig Counsell said the picnic raised $3175 for Palmerston North's rescue helicopter.
"Flamez was taken by the rescue helicopter to Wellington following a stroke but very sadly didn't recover. We all felt we wanted to remember him with this trophy and raising funds for the rescue helicopter that was there when he needed it".
As well as the President's Trophy, hundreds of prizes donated by sponsors were given away to car owners and their families.
Fans of vintage fashion known as pin-up enthusiasts were out in force in their 30s, 40s and 50s clothing, hair and make-up.
Nevannah Ramage, aged 9, won the junior pin up award with her black spotty 50s outfit. "We just enjoy getting dressed up," said a group of women in their vintage gear.