Murray Hunt with his 1950 Triumph 650 Thunderbird at the Nelson Classic and Vintage Motorcycle Club’s annual showcase. Photo: Phillip Rollo.

Classic bikes take centre stage

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The largest collection of classic and vintage motorcycles in New Zealand had a certain feel of nostalgia about it over the weekend.

Ask any member of the Nelson Classic and Vintage Motorcyle Club and they will tell you the reason they own a two wheeler that’s more than 25 years old is because it reminds them of their youth.

Murray Hunt has restored nine classic motorcycles in his lifetime and currently has a 1950 Triumph 650 Thunderbird and a 1960 T120C Bonneville. He had Triumphs when he was a teenager for two reasons; they were the only ones he could afford and they were the motorcycles that the girls liked.

“When I was a teenager they were all the rage. I’ve had a Triumph since 1959. They were the ones that used to get the women,” he laughs, speaking to the Nelson Weekly at the club’s annual showcase, held at the Stoke Memorial Hall on the weekend.

Murray had his first motorcycle for five years but the longest he has kept one was 33 years.

Now in his retirement, Murray says he enjoys restoring motorcycles mostly because of the chase in finding parts that were made so long ago.

The internet has made life a little easier when searching for spares but local business British Spares is usually the first port of call.

“They’re very good but also swap meets too. A lot of this stuff on the internet has been reproduced. The original parts are still the best.”

Most of the restored classics are worth more than current day motorcycles but they are a lot harder to handle with tighter steering. “Technology is better than old technology but I still find it nicer to ride an old bike.”

Manning the barbecue at the showcase, club president Peter Wood says the club welcomed around 450 visitors through on the weekend, which was similar to previous years’ figures.

“It’s a good turnout. Sunday is when we had the swap meet, which brings more people into the show,” he says.

The showcase is held to help fundraise for events throughout the calendar year. The club is the largest of its kind in the country, which is partly due to its loose restrictions.

Some similar clubs in other provinces tend to specialize in certain makes, rather than allowing members who own anything that is more than 25 years old.

For more details on the club, email [email protected].