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Chris Goodsell (left) with Hayden Beissel (right)
(the Museumís Promotions and Events Manager).

NZ's Southward Car Museum

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by Chris Goodsell  (from Road Ramblings)

22nd July, 2012

During our recent New Zealand we were speaking to a local as we prepared dinner in the community kitchen at a cabin park in Levin. The conversation drifted to cars, as it often does with me. Then I heard the words ďthe best museum in the country is only a few kilometres from hereĒ. Promptly I get the details. It's the Southward Car Museum that we'll be looking for. Yeah, I thought, Iíve seen some pretty good motor museums in my travels.

Next day we stop outside these enormous gates leading to a palatial complex. Better have a look I thought. We go inside and are welcomed with open arms by Stan Bellamore who shows us around the complex. Let me say right now, this is the best motor museum Iíve seen. A big call when youíve been to museums in Australia, the UK and Europe. But I stand by that assessment.

Designed and built by the late Sir Len Southward, this customised facility houses the southern hemispheres largest private car collection. The building also contains extensive conference and function facilities, a theatre (complete with operational pipe organ) and a cafe and restaurant, all set in six hectares of park-like grounds. The museum itself is home to over 400 automobiles and various other exhibits including aircraft, bicycles, a range of vintage tools and other automobile memorabilia. If you get to one museum while you are in NZ make sure its this one. On the internet, they are at: www.southwardcarmuseum.co.nz (opens in a new browser window).


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