Southward Museum Trust by Mark Sukhija

We stopped at the Southward Museum Trust whilst en route to Wellington from Taranaki .

Founded in 1972, the Southward Museum is the largest collection of vintage vehicles in the Southern Hemisphere. Over 250 vehicles are owned by the museum of which over half are on display at any one time. The exhbition itself when we visited was quite varied and included the 1895 Mercedes Velo, a 1912 Buick, 1955 Mercedes Gullwing, 1911 Triumph, 1950 "Gangster" Cadillac and a 1938 Mercedes 540K.

Of the many exhibits on display during this visit, the Gangster Cadillac and the Mercedes 540K stood out. The Gangster Cadillac was a genuine impressive exhibit. The Cadillac was and a bomb-proof floor. The windows were riddled with bullet holes as if to demonstrate their robustness. The Mercedes 540K stood out for quite different features. It is one of only two ever made. The Merc has obviously well maintained and is polished to a high sheen. It is a 1938 model. It is left-hand drive. The dials are calibrated in miles. Left and drive and calibrated in miles? A 1938 Merc? The rumour is that this was to be a gift to the King of England (a suspected Nazi-sympathiser) from one Adolf Hitler who would place him on the throne when Germany won the war. Intriguing?

The collection boasts many vehicles with the bulk being pre-1970 and on display on the ground floor. In the basement below, are many cars from from 1960's and 1970's in addition to many fire-engines. Of course, there are two planes and many bikes on display as well. With a variety of Benz, Messerschmidts, Rolls Royce, Wolseley, Tara, Cadillacs, and Vauxhalls this is a truly fascinating and impressive exhibit. Mark and his not-at-all-interested-in-cars companion can recommend a visit at Southwards.

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Further reading

New Zealand - A personal guide to things to do, see, eat and drink in New Zealand

New Zealand - Arachnocampa Luminosa - Information on the Glowworms of the Waitomo Caves in New Zealand

New Zealand - places not to miss - Recommended places to visit in and around New Zealand

New Zealand - recommended tours and tour operators - Recommended tours and tour operators in New Zealand

New Zealand - The Kiwi Today - Comment on the state of the five species of Kiwi today

New Zealand pictures - A gallery of pictures from my travels in New Zealand

New Zealand, November 2007 - New Zealand travelogue for November 2007, covering Taranaki on the North Island and a trip around South Island

Wellington - 7 great things not to miss - Great wineries to visit on Waiheke Island near Auckland

Driving through New Zealand - View of New Zealand while driving

Pancake Rocks, Shantytown and onto Christchurch - New Zealand travelogue for November 2007, covering Taranaki on the North Island and a trip around South Island

Key facts

Name: Southward Car Museum
Otaihanga Road, Paraparaumu 5230

About Mark Sukhija

Mark Sukhija is a travel and wine blogger, photographer, tourism researcher, hat-touting, white-shirt-wearing, New Zealand fantatic and eclipse chaser. Aside from at least annual visits to New Zealand, Mark has seen eclipses in South Australia (2002), Libya (2006), China (2009) and Queensland (2012). After twelve years in Switzerland, Mark moved back to London in 2012. You can follow Mark on Twitter or Facebook