And my quest to hit 500,000 kilometers in my Fiesta ST.

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Charity Car Cruise – May 2016

On Sunday 19th May, we went on our third Charity Car Cruise. With winter soon approaching (officially here now), we had a very chilly day with steady rain.

I was piloting the massive American tanker (Chrysler 300), which I haven’t driven in months. I had Dad, Alister & Hayley as companions. We used a good half a tank of gas over the 170-odd kilometer trip, whoops! Car went really well over the course of the trip and was really pleased that the heater was well up to the job.

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We had six cars at the starting point, with Aaron and Vanessa having to pull the pin as they had excessive play in their steering – and I do mean excessive! Disappointing that they couldn’t join in, but I’m sure that they’ll be in attendance next time.

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It was a trip out Western Southland way, heading out to Ohai and Nightcaps, using some of the out-of-the-way roads that provided some scenic driving. We departed Invercargill at 10am on the Sunday morning. Sunday provided some quiet roads, with minimal traffic. We stopped once or twice along the way (including a stop at Nightcaps for hot pies and drinks at the small Four Square convenience store they have).

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We had Isaac join us in one of his Mitsubishi Colts. Loved the green that the car had been painted in! As we cruised around we had a discussion in our car about the Colt, as it looked so familiar. Turns out, the car used to belong to a friend of ours – Terry. All four of us had last seen the car about halfway through its restoration four or so years ago, when we had been invited for a few drinks in his garage after an out-of-town car show one Saturday! Crickey! It’s running twin carbs, so sounds the part and went really well. He has another Colt that he uses as his daily runner, with a single, more fuel-efficient carby.

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Ricky and Raewyn were out in Ricky’s 1971 Plymouth Satellite, his latest purchase. The last time they joined us, they were in Raewyn’s Morris Minor (with modern running gear, suspension & interior). The Satellite has had a full restoration and purrs like a kitten. He’s really happy with it.

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Nathan brought his purchase from earlier in the year, his 1987 Corolla GT. The car has a nice wee raspy exhaust tone to it, which makes it sound so good. A very cool car!

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Rod was out in his EH Holden “parts car”. When he brought this EH, it was just to take the parts off for one that he’s restoring. As it goes sometimes, once he had the car, he realised that it was just too good to part out. So, while he’s continued with the restoration of his EH, he’s driven this one around.

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As the rules go with the run, you are required to bring 2x cans of food for the local foodbank and 2x cans of pet food for the SPCA. Both go to good causes, and it’s good to give a little bit back to the local community.

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In the end, we wound up at the top pub in Winton for a bit of lunch, before we departed back to town.

Lawrence Car Show 2016

The Lawrence Classic Car show was held on Saturday 19th March 2016.

We’ve only ever had spectacular weather at this event. Usually it’s stinking hot and I go home with significant sunburn.

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The blue Cobra pictured below had just returned from a full paint job, by about a week. The owner said the car had been off the road for a few years and this was its maiden voyage out after being painted. We even checked for stone chips on the bonnet and front of the car. There weren’t any!

His wife was in the XF Falcon S Pack. This was my favourite car of the show, as I grew up in the back of our ’87 XF Wagon and had some wonderful memories. Her car looked the part and being the S Pack, with manual transmission, made it all the more desirable. Great having a chat with the owners.

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A brand new V8 Mustang from Central Otago. This is the first manual that I’ve seen. Had a great chat with the owner, who at this stage had only done around 1000 kilometers in the vehicle, but had some big trips planned for it. In the boot he had a fitted car cover that he purchased with the car. He went on to say that the car looks just as aggressive with the cover on as it does in the flesh.

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Pictured below is the stunning looking Mk1 Mexico replica and my Mk2 Capri GT. I’ve been thinking about putting a wider graphic down the side of my Capri, somewhat similar to that on the Esky. Thoughts???

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The wee Austin A35 as below was owned by an older gentleman and was a real throwback to classic British motoring. He was delighted when his car one people’s choice.

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Two very original cars (even if the Cordia has been fully restored). I’ve seen the Cordia before, but this was the first time seeing the Mazda below. Note that the first owner of the Mazda had the vehicle for 38 years! Very impressive!

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The show was all wound up by about 2pm, so we headed on our way. I left Lawrence and headed into the back of Balclutha on what I can only describe as some of the best driving roads I have driven in ages. It’s probably the hardest I’ve ever pushed the poor Capri, however, I didn’t break the speed limit at any stage – just tried to maintain it! Can’t wait to toss the ST around some of these roads when it arrives.

Otautau Classic Car Show 2016

Another year of the Otautau Classic Car Show. Held on the 16th Feburary 2016, with the weather holding up in chilly Southland.

It’s been one of those shows that I come to year after year, as originally it was an ‘All Ford’ day, but has now opened to all marques.

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Here is a shot of the field from up the hill, showing most of the vehicles in attendance. A good assortment of cars to keep anyone interested for a couple of hours while you wander around and have a look.

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Tena had her XC Falcon Coupe out. Looks stunning with the houndstooth interior and the state she always keeps it in. Sounds like she’s in the process of restoring her late father’s coupe too – no doubt the cars will make a stunning pair once she completes it.

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One of my picks from the show was this 1961 Buick LeSabre. Looked superb inside and out, would have to suspect it took hundreds of man hours to get it to this stage. I just love the sweeping chrome trim that runs the length of the car. Stunning!

It’s not often that you see disc brakes this large on a classic like this – which makes me interested in what the owner has tucked under the hood? Thinking it has to be a pretty impressive drive-train for this much stopping power.

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A cool Pontiac that was sitting down in the grass. I’m not normally a huge fan of colour-coded bumpers, but they just suit the theme of this car. Same goes for the air-brushing – not normally my cup of tea – but it was all executed so well that, as a package, there was so much to like. Well done to the restorer!

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Of course, I had to get a shot of my Capri – as well as the couple of classics to the right (Rod in the EH Holden and Nathan in the MK4 2-door Cortina) that we cruised out and back with.

Overall, was a decent way to spend a Saturday and have a few laughs and enjoy what was on offer. Let’s hope the sun stays for the show next year!

Classic Speedfest 2016

I try not to miss a race meeting at our local race track – Teretonga Park, in Invercargill. One of my favourite events every season is the Classic Speedfest, which this year was held on the 20th & 21st February. This was the 24th installment of this particular event and I know that they’re in the process of planning something rather special for the 25th one in 2017.

Dad & I always make sure we take something “classic” out for the weekend. This weekend, it was time to give the XR4i a bit of a blast.

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As I love my British vehicles, there’s a few Escorts pictured below including the very rare 1975 Zakspeed Escort that goes and grips like nothing you’ll ever see. Must be a blast to drive! My highlight of the weekend was the Historic Touring Cars. It was probably the biggest ever field of these vehicles that we’ve had attend in recent years and they were superb to watch. My friend Nathan sent me through a link of these cars racing at Silverstone back in 1992. Some very gripping footage (see below).

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Unfortunately there were a few scrapes and dings during the weekend. Overall, most of the drivers involved were pretty well behaved – as the Classic Speedfest tends to attract the slightly older and mature crowd. The poor Jag below ended up having a very major collision with a tyre wall in the second last race of the day and didn’t fare very well.

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The first time we’ve seen this newly-built 5.8L GT40 replica, which had only just been completed. Would have been great to have seen it on the track, but unfortunately the car got jammed in gear on Friday during one of the practice sessions. Hopefully we’ll see it out next season.

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Spotted this very, very tidy and original 280 Brooklands Capri. An imported car, I believe that this is the first one that I’ve actually spotted in person. The 280 was the run-out Capri, before it was taken off the market. This car came with a limited-slip differential and 2.8L V6.

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Last year Tony Haycock from NZ Classic Driver magazine did a feature on the Zakspeed Escort (pictured further above in the post), taking the car for a few laps in the morning. It was particularly foggy that morning, which made some of the pictures in the feature look amazing. This year, he managed to score a drive in the ex. Paul Radisich Mondeo. It’s always interesting watching the poor cameraman hanging out the back of the Hilux while trying to get some good shots. I haven’t seen the Mondeo featured yet, so guessing it’ll be out in the upcoming issue.

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Overall it was superb weekend and I can’t wait for next year!

Wings & Wheels 2016

It’s been ten years since I attended the last show and shine day of a Vero Rally (Invercargill 2006), so when I heard that they were having another in Mosgiel, I knew I was going to head along for a glance. Some of the cars that were in Invercargill in 2006 I haven’t seen since. The show day back then was massive and I can’t ever remember seeing queues of cars lined up in Invercargill all the way from Otatara back to the overhead bridge by Levin Street.

Dad and I departed town nice and early in the XR4i, making decent time on the way to Mosgiel. It was held at their airfield and was a fantastic venue for hosting such a large show and accommodating the large number of spectator vehicles. The location made it deceiving, but I’d suspect there would be as many spectators at this show as there was back in 2006. The crowds were massive (as pictured below), but they had the field nicely setup and had the food stalls and live bands and performances well away from the cars to segregate the two – something I liked. It saved someone spilling stuff over the vehicles etc.

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We spent a good chunk of our day perusing over the post 1960s cars, with a decent variety of vehicles on show. I was suitably impressed with the number of foreigners who were piloting these vehicles – with plenty of drivers from England and Australia behind the wheel of “borrowed” vehicles from friends. I’ve got a few of my highlights from the show below.

A genuine Mk1 Lotus Cortina.

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Probably the cleanest Mk5 Cortina that I’ve ever seen in my life. Both Dad & I commented at how pristine almost every aspect of the car was – including the window rubbers that looked like they had only come out of the factory yesterday.

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A cool little Volvo P1800 – we don’t see many of these in New Zealand.

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A genuine JPS (John Player Special) Mk2 Capri. Awesome looking car, I’ve read plenty about them in the past – so was finally good to finally lay my eyes on one. Would hate to think what this car was worth now – would be huge money!

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My favourite car of the show – a 1977 Saab 96, something I’ve only ever seen in articles or on TV. This car was running the small V4 engine (as pictured) and you can see that the heater nearly took up as much space as the engine itself! This car is one of the last batch of 150 right hand drive cars produced for the UK market. It was in nearly new condition with just over 40,000 miles on the car. The owner, Philip, even got out all the service records for the car. The next stamp was due at 41,500 miles, which he was still yet-to-hit. Both he and his wife were wonderful to talk to and it was great to hear the story of the car. Thanks.

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A 1953 Frazer Nash Mille Miglia – haven’t seen one before, but this was looked very tidy considering it was restored over ten years ago.

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We had a giggle at the comment on the window card of this cute little 1913 Alldays and Onions Midget, with the owner stating ‘Can find hills where there are none’!
It was powered by a 2 cylinder, 8 horsepower engine with three gears.

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Alvis must have had a good chunk of the market back in the 30s and 40s. I’ve never seen so many in one place at one time. Here were two that I was quite partial to.

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The following Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost had some great history behind it. There’s nothing better than actually reading about the history of a car – or talking to the owner – to hear some epic stories about each vehicle. In this case, the Ghost travelled from London to Vienna back in 1913, with one of the passengers taking pictures of the car along the way. Fast-forward 100 years and the current owner decided to replicate the trip and the photos. You can read about the trip in the book ‘Mr Radley Drives to Vienna’ by John Kennedy. It’s something I’m going to do myself!

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Other than that, it was a spectacular show and something I hope that I won’t have to wait ten years to see again. Pictured below are some of the cars spotted in the spectators car park – including a converted V8 Capri that looked stellar and a 1989 Nissan Pao which I’ve never seen before.

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