Geraldine vintage museum adds new collection, plans expansion

Only two weeks after starting its latest display, the Geraldine Vintage Car and Machinery Museum seems to be on to a winner and has plans to expand.
The museum opened a display room showcasing 24 pedal cars, more than 100 miniature tractors, trains and several small scale aircraft.
“People have really come out impressed,” museum chair Alastair Sabistan said.
“One lady from the North Island saw a small tractor her brother had, it was the same colour. She was in tears.”


Sabistan said people enjoyed the toys with the pedal cars particularly popular.
“We’re building on it, and we’d like more. They don’t have to be the shiniest pedal cars, it might be something dad built up for the kids.
“We’ve got a 1952 A40 pedal car which is worth around $12,000.”
The museum’s former meeting room was empty and this was chosen to house the collection.
Included are a small replica of the Sante Fe, a transcontinental railway locomotive once owned by the late Jim Rooney which pulled three passenger wagons and operated in the Halswell Domain, two model aircraft made by Victor Tan of Christchurch, one of a World War I fighter plane and another scaled version of an aircraft already in the museum’s collection – a 2k-ABU aircraft once owned by the late Syd Lister, a farmer from Milford.
The museum also houses 100 tractors dating back to the early 1900s, and a similar number of vintage and classic cars covering the same period up to 1990, as well as vintage motion picture projectors from the Geraldine Picture Theatre, chainsaws, stationary engines, a giant sized ship’s engine from the Rangitira and a reproduction of the motorbike Valentino Rossi rode to win the 2004 MotoGP world championship, one of only 200 in the world and the only one in New Zealand.
Sabistan said probably the two most popular vehicles were a gypsy wagon acclaimed motor engineer John Britten constructed as a teenager and a 1968 Holden Monaro built for Bathurst which he thought could be worth $500,000.
“The biggest problem we’ve got is people wanting to gift us with cars, but we don’t have enough space to put them under cover.”
He said the museum received strong support from the Geraldine community, with nearly all 80 of the members coming from the area.
Last year, a 1918 Model T delivery van was bought by Geraldine resident Brian Le Lievre and gifted to the museum.
Things are getting so tight at the museum, Sabistan said they planned to expand.
“We’re hoping to raise money to extend our classic car building which will add two thirds the size of the building.”

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