Vintage enthusiasts gather for show

Vintage tractors are among the many vehicles on display.

A show celebrating New Zealand’s pioneering past with displays of classic and not-so-classic trucks, vehicles, machinery and engines returns to Thames again this month.

Vintage Fields at 57 Orongo Rd, Thames, on December 7-8 will have more than 100 vintage cars, motorcycles, military vehicles, stationary engines, and trucks – old and new – on display at the event, which is held every two years.

Even the parking lot is worth a look reckons event organiser Jeremy Welsh, thanks to the classic car clubs and others that come along.

Hosted by the Model Barn, Vintage Barn and the Thames Lion Club, Vintage Fields is a casual get-together in the Coromandel countryside for vintage exhibitors and enthusiasts, says Jeremy.

“Food stalls are available, but some visitors bring their own barbecue and make a day of it. Lots of people even come along in period costume,” says Jeremy.

“The exhibition changes daily. Exhibitors come and go throughout the weekend, so what’s on display on Saturday is typically different to what’s there on Sunday.”

Renowned New Zealand tractor enthusiast Edgecumbe-based Jim Richardson, who owns more than 300 tractors, is displaying a 1938 Silver King tractor at Vintage Fields.

Silver Kings were manufactured by the Fate-Root-Heath Co beginning in 1933 in Plymouth, Ohio, and were initially called ‘Plymouth’, explains Jim. However, Chrysler Corporation sued Fate-Root-Heath to stop them from using the ‘Plymouth’ name, which at the time was a popular model of car manufactured by Chrysler, so the tractors then became Silver Kings.

“The first tractors off the Fate-Root-Heath Co production line had three wheels, but, my Silver King is the lower, more stable four-wheeled version, and has a top speed of around 25m/hr, which was quite fast in its day,” says Jim.

The tractor was lucky to avoid damage in the April floods that caused extensive damage Jim’s Edgecumbe property, because it hadn’t yet been transported to his home.

Old tractors are Jim’s passion, and he enjoys restoring them to their former glory. While he made a few adjustments to get the Silver King running a bit smoother, it was largely in good nick when he bought it.

Apart from the Silver King and other tractors and vehicles on display, Vintage Fields visitors have the opportunity to peruse thousands of scale models of tractors, trucks and farm machinery in the Vintage Barn.

Entry to Vintage Fields classic and vintage day is free for exhibitors, and $5 per person, or $10 per car, with all proceeds going to the Thames Lions Club for local projects.


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