Definitely a vintage occasion

Think Playboy and maybe one thinks of magazines and bunnies.

And perhaps of the infamous Hugh Hefner.

But look what we’ve discovered – 70 years ago this week a car bearing that name was launched, but without a bunny costume anywhere to be seen.

Bernard Egan

Introduced at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, it was produced by the Playboy Motor Car Corporation of Buffalo.

The car was powered by a 4-cylinder, 40 horsepower Continental or Hercules engine and featured an all-steel convertible disappearing top.

Fewer than 100 cars were built before the company went bankrupt in 1951.

Perhaps if the company had adopted the same marketing ploys as Hugh Hefner it may have been more successful.

Mind you it did have one thing in common with the famous magazine which bears the same name – the disappearing tops!

It would be another four years – 1953 – until the famous magazine first appeared.

Maybe Hugh Hefner came up with the name for his magazine after seeing one of the cars.

Or maybe not!

It’s pretty unlikely we’ll see a Playboy car on the Vintage Car Club National Easter Rally taking place right here in Ashburton in five weeks’ time.

But there will be plenty of other fascinating vehicles to be seen around our district.

At least 160 of them.

Organising something on the scale of a national rally is a huge commitment with organisers waiting with bated breath and trepidation for entries to arrive.

After all some costs like venue hire are the same regardless of number, but somehow a budget has to be prepared.

Predict a low number and entry fees will be too high – hope for large numbers and there could be disappointment and cost over-runs.

The organisers of the Easter Rally were almost spot on the mark.

Almost but not quite – they based their budget on a slightly lower number and are now absolutely delighted with the response.

People – and there will be a lot of them given there will be an average of at least two per vehicle – are coming from near and far, in fact from one end of the country to the other.

While most vehicles will have at least two occupants, we do know that there’ll be two people travelling solo, on motorcycles.

Our very own motoring writer Roger Hart will be one, riding the family vintage AJS motorcycle on his own. That should make for an interesting road test!

The vehicles coming to the Easter Rally range from the very old to more modern.

The event will be a great celebration of motoring and it’s a celebration the Vintage Car Club wants to share with the community.

So on Easter Sunday April 21 there will be a public display at the Ashburton Racecourse between 10.30am and 2.00pm.

And what’s more the club hopes enthusiasts will bring along and display their own cars.

Those wishing to do that won’t need to register, just show up on the day. The more the merrier, and a fun thing to do on Easter Sunday.

It will certainly be a great opportunity to mingle with other enthusiasts and see some fabulous vehicles.

And who knows, there could be an Easter Bunny there, but probably not a Playboy one.

And probably not a Playboy car.

Mores the pity.

It would incredible to see one of those.

The car we’re talking about. (Editor’s note: Yeah Right!)

The Easter Rally coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Ashburton Branch of the Vintage Car Club.