Southward Car Museum

On our last trip to Wellington we sheltered from the rain at the Southward Car Museum at Paraparaumu. Even I, the least enthusiastic of car watchers, enjoyed the nearly 3 hours wandering around the gleaming, lovingly restored machines.


A huge warehouse was covered with cars from every era, from the earliest vehicles that looked just like horse drawn carts and wagons but powered by an internal combustion engine to a gull winged Lamborghini.


Above one wall ran a loft full of motorcycles.


And that wasn’t all. There is also a basement full of cars, trucks and some novelty vehicles. (To be continued…)

From the website, this is how the museum started. 

Sir Len Southward

The founder and benefactor of the trust that owns Southward Car Museum, Sir Len Southward, with his wife Lady Vera Southward began collecting cars in 1956 when they purchased a Model T Ford for 40 pounds. This vehicle was the start of what would become one of the largest privately owned car collections in the world, the model T remains in its original condition and has pride of place in the museum.

Knighted in 1986 for his services to the community, Sir Len Southward has been associated with the New Zealand motor industry since 1919, when he started work as a message boy in a Wellington motor warehouse. He and a partner later set up their own motorcycle repair business.

In the 1950’s he gained headlines throughout Australasia for his championship in his speedboat “Redhead”. On the 22nd of February 1953 he powered “Redhead” across Wellington harbour to become the first man in Australasia to travel at over 100 mph (160 km/h) on water.

However over the years his fascination with vintage cars gradually became a full time occupation. As the collection continued to grow, it was decided to establish a permanent museum on this six hectare site close to state highway 1. The Museum was opened to the public in 1979.



One comment

  1. Have been there twice now!! Once a few years ago & the other about 40 years ago!! Really enjoyed it!! If you want to see old British vehicles you need to go home via Napier & go to the British Car Museum at Haumoana, it was fantastic even though the way they are displayed leaves much to the desire!! It has the best display of English Cars I’ve ever seen including in the UK!! My favorite vehicle museum was the Vespa Museum in Italy!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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