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Southward Car Museum, Paraparaumu

Set in 6 hectares of beautiful grounds in Paraparaumu on the Kapiti Coast is a veritable treasure of automotive memorabilia.  Over 400 automobiles, planes, vintage tools, bicycles and fire engines - all the legacy of a passionate collector, the late Sir Len Southward who was seemingly fortunate to have had the graceful support of his wife Lady Vera. Southward Car Museum is the southern hemisphere's largest private car collection and is in fact set over 3 stories - the main floor, a mezzanine area largely filled with bicycles and a basement where you can find the gorgeous vintage fire engine and some slightly more modern beauties.

Starting with a Model T Ford in 1956, the collection has grown to include such rare treasures as Marlene Dietrich's 1934 Cadillac Town Cabriolet, a 1915 Stutz Indianapolis race car, a gull-winged Mercedes-Benz, a 1950 Cadillac "Gangster Special" that had belonged to gansgter Mickey Cohen and an 1895 Benz Velo imported to New Zealand in 1900. 

Our family all had a different favourite - thank goodness for digital cameras as we would have shot through many reels of film!  We ventured here on our journey from Auckland to Wellington, and it is certainly worth taking the route via the Kapiti Coast in order to fit this in - you will be impressed with this family's love of the motor car and the fantastic tribute to motoring magic they have created and made available to the general public at Southward.  Entry fees are reasonable at $13 for adults over 15 years, children 5-15 years are $3 and pre-schoolers - No charge.  I believe they will also consider workshop tours for groups from motoring clubs if arranged in advance.

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Angela Hallberg is Omega Rental cars Marketing Manager – one of New Zealand’s most trusted car hire companies.  Like Omega on Facebook or follow on Twitter @OmegaRentalCars.