Southwards Car Museum

A few weeks ago, my family and I took aFriday off and travelled up to the Kapiti Coast to have a fun day outing including lunch. We had all been working too hard and just felt that we needed a day.  We had such a lot of fun.

Today I thought I’d share some photos of the car museum we visited. This is such an amazing collection of cars and all kinds of motor vehicles; I couldn’t possibly do it justice in this post but I’m going to try and at least share some of what we saw.


After picking up the kids (both adults), we travelled north.  Our first stop was at Plimmerton – a tiny place just north.  You know by now that beaches are incredibly important to me, so we stopped and took some photos of this one.  

Looking Back Towards Wellington

The tide was in so we couldn’t walk on the beach, but it was still nice to smell that fresh beachy air. Can you imagine living here where the sea comes right up to your fence line when the tide’s in?

Looking towards Kapiti

If you look very hard along the horizon in the distance you can just make out the South Island (not the two land masses in the front – further back).

South Island in the Distance

Southwards Car Museum

I am actually embarrassed to say that I’ve never been to Southwards Car Museum before.  My family had all been and I’m not sure why I hadn’t. It was spectacular and it reminded me so much of my Dad.  It was a joke in our family growing up that we were raised on the back of a motorbike so seeing all the bikes here made me feel quite reminiscent.  I’ll get to those later.

The museum was founded by Sir Len Southward. The 4,400 square metre hall of the Southward Car Museum is jam-packed with vehicles. Everything from vintage cars to oddities and fantasy vehicles, as well as some experimental models.  There’s also NZ farm engines and, of course, motorcycles. I was pleased to see that there was also some vintage bicycles and even a plane!

Len and his wife began collecting cars in 1956 with a Ford Model T. He was knighted in the 1986New Year Honours, for services to the community, having established the largest private car collection in Australasia. In 1976 he purchased a 6 hectare site on which to establish the museum.


The first thing you see when you walk into the Museum is rows and rows of cars of all shapes, makes and sizes.  They start at the early ones. Here’s Jesse taking in the view.

Each of the cars has its own story written so you know exactly what you are looking at. I found it really interesting reading some of these stories – honestly, you could spend a whole day here.  


I loved reading the history of each vehicle. You can see by the image below that Len’s love of motor vehicles began very early.

ABC Motorcycle

You can see in this image the vast collection of motor vehicles.  This is just one floor – there’s another one below and the mezzanine where I was standing to take this shot.


My Dad was a restorer of vintage motorcycles so this was always going to be my favourite section.  There were names that I recognized from my youth – BSA, AJS, Velocette, Trimuph… the list goes on.

Velocette LE

I remember that my Dad owned a Velocette whenI was young.  

I believe it was this bike that my brother smashed into the gate. We were out at the time and he was very worried to tell Dad about it when we returned home.  He was looking very sheepish with the bike out of sight.

Of course, there was an Indian. If you haven’t seen the film The World’s Fastest Indian then I can highly recommend it.

Indian Chief


What do you think of this sleeper car?  I’m not sure I’d want to drive it around all day.


You can also see Ronald McDonald in the background as well as an old ambulance.

The Famous

There were also a few vehicles that you might recognize. Of course, this Delorean is a 1980s made famous by the Back to the Future movies series. If you look closely, you might even notice the hoverboard in the back!  There was a video about the Delorean and its creator – very interesting.  I now know why there weren’t any more made.


This gangster Cadillac had a cool story.  Notice the opening front windows which had bullet proof glass – these were so the passenger could point their gun out the window.

Cadillac Gangster Special

Lastly, I thought I’d share this car and trailer which I thought was very cool and funny all at the same time. It’s like the Bat Mobile but a convertible with a trailer.

Cadillac Convertible with Trailer

Rosetta Café

Time just flew while we were in the museum. We couldn’t believe that a few hours had gone by when we emerged back into the sunlight.  Then, we were off for a late lunch at the Rosette Café in Raumati.

Here’s my lunch – isn’t this the biggest corn fritter you’ve ever seen?

Well, that’s all I’m going to share today.  I took so many photos but this blog post would be so long if I shared them all.


I hope you enjoyed our trip to the Southward’s Car Museum.  

Come join me again sometime soon.




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September 2, 2021