Towards the end of my two-week jaunt across New Zealand, I had a free day to explore Wellington. Now, anyone who has taken an extended group travel trip knows that no matter how much you like or grow to like the other people on your trip, there comes a point where you’ve been sharing space for weeks and weeks and you just need a bit of a breather. Seeking this, I googled car museums in the area and learned that the Southward Car Museum, the country’s premier and only major car museum, was just an hour away. If this were the States, I would be hosed. However, New Zealand is far less concerned about the age of someone renting a car that we are, so a few hours later I was in a lavender colored Toyota Vitz, driving north along the coast.

The museum didn’t disappoint. Having been a car collector for at least half a century before dying in 2004 at age 98, Sir Len Southward had amassed a collection of of 400 classic automobiles, many of them priceless machines of the caliber which grace Pebble Beach or Amelia Island. I spent a couple hours walking around the museum, and could’ve easily spent longer; I didn’t give every car adequate time, much less get to all the other parts of the collection, which included a full bicycle collection and all sorts of memorabilia and antiques. Sadly I found no Duesenbergs, but there was enough other stuff of similar style to keep me happy.

This ‘29 Packard spent its whole life in New Zealand and was used in the filming of Peter Jackson’s King Kong.
The Cadillac V-16 Town Car owned by Marlene Dietrich.

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One of the most elegant classics of all time, the Mercedes-Benz 540K. I believe this was one of only two with a removable hard top/soft top combo.
Mobster Mickey Cohen’s armored 1950 Cadillac.

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Even without its history as the parade car of choice for Hitler and other high-ranking Nazis, the colossal Mercedes-Benz 770K is sinister and imposing in its own right.

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One of two Rolls-Royce Phantom Vs purchased new for the Governor-General of NZ. Like the 770K, pictures don’t do the elegance or the sheer imposing size of this car justice.
A Daimler DE36, commissioned for a 1948 Royal tour of NZ that was cancelled. It was eventually used by Queen Elizabeth during her 1953 visit, the same time as the Tangiwai Disaster.

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1936 Hispano-Suiza K6
1930 Bugatti Type 46
1938 Bugatti Type 57c

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1938 Tatra T77A
1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom 1 Town Car by Thrupp & Maberley, which was used for many years as a taxi on the South Island.

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1964 Porsche 356SC
1930 Bentley 8 Litre

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1923 Bentley 3 Litre (left) and 1930 Bentley 4.5 Litre (right)
1951 Bentley Mark Vi

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1939 Lagonda V12

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1965 Mercedes-Benz 220SE Fintail
2000 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI Tommi Mäkinen Edition

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1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 Adenauer
1938 Maybach SW38
1950 Maserati 8CLT/50

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1938 Mercedes 38/250 SSK
1937 Cord 812

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1957 Ferrari 750 Monza
1934 Austin London Cab

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1915 Stutz Indy 500 Special
1930 Alfa Romeo 6c 1750 GS by Zagato

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1954 Maserati 250F
1954 Mercedes 300SL

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1924 Vauxhall 30/98 OE Tourer
Chrysler Airflow

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1939 Lincoln Zephyr V12

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I didn’t even come close to photographing every car. Hell, I gave up even labeling the ones I did take as you can see. But if you find yourself in Oceania, the Southward Car Museum is a must-visit.