They came in their hundreds, the cars and the crowd.

Mustangs, Corvettes, Chevrolets, hot rods and all manner of American cars roared into Stratford on Friday as part of the Americarna event.

The popular event is the brainchild of John Rae who was in Stratford with the cars on Friday.

He said there were between 600 and 700 cars for the morning, a number he was happy with.


"It's manageable. It's a good number, lots of variety of cars for people to see and they fit along Broadway nicely."

The number of cars was slightly down on last year, something he put down to the number of events happening at across New Zealand at the same time.

"This year there were quite a few things on. From the Ben Harper concert in New Plymouth which clashed a bit, to the planned Elton John concerts in Auckland. While the Elton John concerts didn't end up happening, people had planned to go to them, which meant they didn't register their car for Americarna this year. Then there's also the drags which are on, so a lot happening all over New Zealand, and people can't make it to everything."

John said a highlight of the Americarna event for him was always taking the cars to the towns all around the mountain.

"There's always a lot of effort put in. Waitara yesterday was a great event. Inglewood really went off as well and now coming into Stratford, I have only just walked half way up the street so far and I am already impressed."

John was joined in the lead vehicle by Fiona Tarlton this year.

Fiona, the daughter of diving and underwater enthusiast the late Kelly Tarlton, said it was the first year she had seen Americarna, and she was impressed by it.

"I think especially seeing all the local towns, the school children so excited to see the cars and waving, it really is emotional in a way. It brings a tear to the eye, seeing how much pleasure they get from it."


Fiona, who is an ambassador for the Endangered Species Foundation of New Zealand, said she was delighted to have been invited to join John in the lead car and to experience all the fun of Americarna.