It may not look like a fire engine, but this 1969 Transit is just that. It’s part of a line-up of historic Transits celebrating 50 years Ford vans at the All Ford Day at Smales Farm on Auckland’s north shore, on Sunday April 12.
Its owner, Chris Kitson, is a member of the Ford RS Owners club that’s one of five Ford clubs organising the annual event, which brings together Ford owners of every era and type.
Chris says the purchase of the fire appliance is a long story, “A friend in the UK bought it from Germany, a New Zealand friend bought it from them, when they sold it I went for a look and drove it home. It’s really unusual, it has never been repainted and still has the sirens on and it’s just immaculate.” It’s only done 30,000km from new, and is now run by Chris’ business, “I put Instantshade Umbrellas signwriting on it and it’s a practical promo vehicle, but fires must have burned really slow in those days because it’s slow as – it’s comfortable doing 70kph, and over that it’s revving its nuts off.” Chris admits the modest kays are because it’s been off the road for a decade, but he recently got it running again, as he’d get too much of a ribbing if his Transit wasn’t a runner for the event.
It’ll be in good company, “We’re expecting a rally service Transit, a guy towing a 1970s Sundowner RV Transit behind a V8 Transit, a working classic plumber’s van – it’s hard to know what’s out there, and will turn up.”
It’s clear you don’t need an exotic to join in, as you’d guess from a day organized by five different Ford clubs assisted by the three Auckland Ford dealers. “Anyone with a Ford is welcome to come along and display it, though generally it’s classic and collectible Fords that turn up, anything from Ford FPVs and GTs and modern Mustangs to kit cars, Model Ts, you name it. It doesn’t matter what country it’s sourced from as long as it’s a Ford, or has a Ford engine.”
There’s no fee to enter a car and driver, though passengers and members of the public pay $5 to get in, with profits going to the Foundation for Youth Development (www.fyd.org.nz). The day opens to spectators at 10am, and it’s worth waiting for prize-giving – Columbus coffee in hand to keep you refreshed. “We don't want the same cars winning every time, show cars that turn up on trailers, so we have non-judged sections, you enter your category and there’s a random draw to win – it keeps people enthused,” Chris says. “We usually have some pretty good prizes, often worth hundreds of dollars,” donated by the likes of Karcher, Mothers and Phillips car sounds.
There are also judged sections for tidy cars, such as ‘best paint’, ‘best wheels’ and ‘people’s choice’, and then it wraps up for another year.
“Anyone’s welcome to come for a look round,” Chris says. He’s keen to stress you don’t have to own a Ford, and that the best bit about the day is it’s so inclusive. No matter what you drive, if you like looking at Fords, Smales Farm is the place to be on Sunday 12.