We lucked out on this visit to Napier, as we had on a previous trip to Curaçao (see: Cruising for Classic Cars in Curaçao) and stumbled upon some real automotive beauties. But unlike our classic run-in in Curaçao, these examples for the most part predated Ursula and I by a few decades.
As such, I won’t even hazard a guess as to the years and models of the cars you’ll see today, except to say that most appear to date back to the 1920s and 1930s.
Remember when I said that Napier is considered by some the Art Deco Capital of the world? Well, apparently that extends right on down to at least one vehicle:
How about of couple of Model A Fords, starting with a typical example and winding up with a bus version?
Now, I’m an English roadster fan from way back, so let’s take a closer look at an Austin roadster I fell in love with that day:
Believe it or not, Napier is known as the Art Deco Capital of the World (although, for my money, Miami Beach deserves a shot at that title as well). You may think that strange that a city founded in the middle of the 19th century would find fame in the Art Deco movement that came to prominence in the 1930s, but there’s a reason.
This seeming incongruity derives from an event that occurred on 3 February 1931 — the devastating Magnitude 7.9 Hawke’s Bay Earthquake that pretty much laid waste to the entire downtown area.
Not all building in this area feature this architecture, however. For instance, here is the decidedly more modern Napier Civic Administration Building:
Here’s a closeup view of that mosaic-looking design feature:
This building is located on Hastings Street, about 1,200-foot/360-meter walk south of the main downtown area. And as you head south, if you turn around and look at the south-facing side of the Civic Administration building, you’ll see this rather striking mural:
Another non-Art Deco feature I found was this unusual wood façade adornment at the corner of Hastings at Albion:
Before heading back north to downtown, I’d like to show you a couple of artistic features from our previous excursion along Napier Beach and Marine Parade:
Now let’s head back into downtown for a few more architectural gems: