On Saturday 27th January, my cousin Josh is getting married. Back when we were younger, Josh lived with us for a few years, so I’m closer to him than most of my other cousins. He sent the invite out last year and so I decided that Id take a week off work and use the wedding as an excuse to road trip the Fiesta through to Wellington.
Dad decided to join me for the trip, so we left Invercargill about 9am on Thursday morning. I had previously booked accomodation in Christchurch for the night, so we knew that we only had to cover 600 kilometers for the day. Pretty easy going, really.
After a rather hot, sleepless night in Christchuch (as they had a 30 degree day), we were up early and on the road at 6.30am. We wanted to leave a little early, so that we could beat rush hour traffic in Christchurch and to also make sure that we left enough time for the journey. If State Highway 1, through Kaikoura wasn’t open, then we’d need time to make about a two hour detour through the artic triangle. I haven’t driven the arctic triangle since I originally brought the ST back in 2016. Luckily, the road was open, but with the roadworks still in full-swing, there was probably about an hours delay all up.
It’s the first time I’ve driven the road since the major earthquake hit at the end of 2016. I’ve seen plenty of news articles and looked at plenty of images, but honestly didn’t realise quite how much devastation had been caused by the quake. Roads, bridges, and train tracks had literally disappeared under rubble that had fallen from the surrounding hills.
At the time, Kaikoura was completly blocked off, from both North and South, with supplies having to be helicoptered in. It’s taken a long time for the roads to be reopened and the hard working teams still have a long way to go, but they’ve made some impressive progress.
Eventually we made it all the way through to Picton and arrived with a little bit of free time to have some lunch before we had to be at the ferry terminal. I settled for a steak, bacon, and cammenbert cheese pie and washed it down with a bottle of diet coke. The perfect Kiwi lunch!
I noticed a little Ice Cream Parlour across the street, so we visited for a quick sweet treat before hitting the road. I grabbed a two-scoup cup of dark chocolate!
We boarded our Ferry, the Bluebridge, and parked the ST between a few larger commercial and camper vehicles. It’s pretty small in comparison.
Heaps more planned for the weekend. Stay tuned!
Honda Civic Kilometers:
My younger brother, Ryan, was on the hunt for a new car. Ryan’s only a one-car kind of guy, so the car needed to be practical and easy to use around town, as well as have the capability to go away on longer trips. His only requirement over his old car, was that the new one needed a working heater. A must-have kind of item, especially during a chilly winter in Invercargill!
We found a really tidy and presentable 2006 Honda Civic S Sport for sale, at a local dealership. After having a bit of a chat with the salesman, we tee’d up a test drive. The salesman told us that the car had previously belong to a retired gentleman who, in the end, was becoming too old to drive and his family decided that it would be best to sell the car. Good news for us, as the interior of the car is in superb condition and the car has only seen 87,000 kilometers over a 12 year period.
The car all cleaned up by the dealership in the first shot and Ryan looking chuffed with his purchase in the second!
A few shots of the car after leaving the dealership. My favourite part of the car has to be the unique digital speedometer at the top of the gauge cluster. How cool is this?
The day after purchasing the car, we decided to jump in and take it for a trip out of town to get some lunch at a cafe. We had driven the car briefly on the open road during our test drive, but were eager to see how the car performed with four people and a full tank of gas weighing it down. I’ve got to admit, that the little 1.8L SOHC motor performs really, really well. As it’s his daily car and it’s for a specific purpose, he wanted an automatic. The 8th generation Civic came with the new 5-speed automatic box, which, as an option, you could get the sport gearbox – meaning you also got flappy-paddles behind the steering wheel. The gearbox is super smooth and slick and does a good job of finding the right gear for the right stretch of road. Plus, if you want to have a bit of fun, you flick it down a couple of gears and get the motor up into VTEC for that extra bit of kick.
The first stop on our trip had us looking at a lifeboat in Colac Bay that was recovered from in Foveaux Strait back in 2012. It made national news back then and appeared to have fallen off a Greek bulk shipping carrier, although nobody actually knows when.
Since my last visit, a few years back, it’s now been turned into accommodation – and they’ve added an outdoor kitchen back in November 2017. As you can see from the photos, it’ll sleep a few people. A unique place the spend the night, I’m sure! You’ve got to sign the guest book if you stay. Feel free to check out their Facebook page.
It looks out onto the ocean too, which is a nice bonus. Dad, Ryan & his girlfriend, Loren are pictured.
Our next stop along the trip was a small seaside village, called ‘Cosy Nook’. Cosy Nook was once a bustling trading centre and had boats coming in and out in the 1700s. Now it’s a tiny little village with only about 3 or 4 cottages. If you drive to the end of the lane, you can park you car and climb up a little hill behind to get some decent photos.
Ryan was kind enough to let me take the wheel from here and I got to take the car for about the next fifty kilometers of the twisty stuff. The little 1.8 was eager to rev out and kept us comfortably at the speed limit. The steering wheel is superb and with a decent rake/reach, means you can get it comfortably where you need it.
The next stop was Monkey Island. I’ve visited before, but never been able to actually get onto the small island as the tide has always been in. The mainland around here is open to freedom campers and since we’re in the middle of summer, there were heaps of tents, caravans and campers around the area. We climbed to the top and I managed to snag a few photos.
From here, we journeyed on and stopped at Orepuki Beach Cafe for some lunch. The place was humming with visitors on a warm Saturday and we all had a decent feed. As you can see in the pictures below (credits to TripAdvisor & Google Maps), you can see the place before it was turned into a great little cafe. The first picture was from 2010.
Ryan’s pretty rapt with his new car and plans on keeping it for the next decade. No doubt it’ll appear on here many times over the coming years.
Stay tuned next week, as I depart on a 3,000-odd kilometer roadtrip to my cousin’s wedding!
Being the middle of Summer in New Zealand and having a few days off work after the Christmas and New Years break, we decided that we’d catch up with Robbie & Nathan who were staying at the Alexandra Camping Ground.
With a leisurely start, we left home around half eight and headed to Alexandra via Gore. It was a pretty sedate trip, as during the holiday break there’s a zero speed tolerance enforced by the police – which is to try and reduce the number of fatal road accidents during these periods. I found it mildly entertaining that when driven gingerly, the Fiesta will happily consume a measly 5.3L per 100km.
After arriving, we caught up with Nathan & Robbie for a bit and then Nathan whipped up some burgers on the BBQ for lunch.
Once we had finished lunch, we jumped into his Prado for a bit of off-road exploration. The last time we went off-roading was last year when we visited the southern arm of Lake Manapouri.
The destination was Fraser Dam, which is easily accessible at this time of year if you have a car with all-wheel-drive and decent ground clearance. Once you’re on Fraser Dam Road, you just keep following the road and it leads directly to the Dam. Easy!
Completed in 1937, the Fraser Dam was constructed as part of the Earnscleugh Flat Irrigation Scheme. As Alexandra and surrounding areas in Central Otago get such dry summers, the Dam was created as a catchment to hold water and release it off to the farms and properties when required. The concrete structure pictured above is 32m high and 137m in length. The catchment area of the Dam is 119km².
On this side of the Lake, there are a few walking/hiking trails that are open to the public, however, it was far too hot when we visited and we were much happier inside the Prado with the air conditioning running!
After we got back to the camping ground, we were back into the Fiesta and went home via Frankton – calling into my favourite Ice Cream shop in Arrowtown for an afternoon snack.
How about starting your Sunday morning with a couple of fast laps of a spectacular racetrack & a cooked breakfast? We’ll that’s what we ended up doing.
We arrived just after 9am and pulled into the main carpark.
Entering the reception area, we paid for our breakfast and laps. The reception staff provided us with chits for breakfast, which are to be handed in once our laps had been completed.
Once back outside, we had to place a sticker on the top corner of our windshields and then make our way over for the safety briefing – which basically told us to be sensible, don’t pass anyone and to tune our radios into the local station, so that the safety crew could communicate to all vehicles if something went awry.
Once the briefing was complete, we waited for the prior group to complete their laps before our group could make our way onto the track. The group that we went out with were really good and kept good pace behind the safety car. I had to try and keep pace with the Euro Accord Mugen that was in front of me! Speeds were limited to around 130kph, as nobody had roll-cages, helmets or overalls on.
In order for you to classify for the fast laps, all passengers need to be adults. If you have children in the cars, then you have to wait until the last run of the day at 10am, where the safety car doesn’t go quite as fast. A pretty cool experience for the kids none-the-less!
Once the laps are complete, you park up and head in for your breakfast. Below are a few shots of cars that had already completed their laps.
As the Central Otago weather was delightful, we sat outside on the balcony for breakfast where we could watch the next couple of groups do their laps. Notice the rental Toyota Corolla that somebody decided to do laps in!
Before we left, we had another look around the carpark. Here were a couple of my favourites.
* The brown MK2 Cortina looked great. Can’t wait to get my Cortina finished and on the road next year – I’ll have to bring it to Cromwell for a couple of laps.
* The Peugeot 205 GTI in black was in amazing condition. I’m pretty sure the owner said that he’s had the car for 19 years. We used to own a red 1991 GTI.
* The TVR Cerbera in this very unusual blue/silver colour that changed depending on where you were standing. When the owner was doing laps, this car had the most aggressive sound of all the cars on track and was very distinctive.
Heading back to Invercargill via Frankton, I decided to pull the ST onto the edge of the Lake at Kingston for a couple of photos. This didn’t end so well… With the assistance of some very friendly fellow-Invercargill-ites that happened to be in Kingston, a Dodge Nitro and a Rav 4 had to end up dragging the car via the rear axle back onto solid ground. Won’t be doing that again!
Overall, a very cool outing for a Sunday morning and I’m looking forward to repeating the experience again in another vehicle next month!
Anyone that’s a car fanatic will have read or watched reviews of the new Ford Focus RS and know that it’s one of the best enthusiast cars on the market today. You know the manufacturer has aimed the car at the enthusiast demographic when you see that the car has a ‘drift mode’.
Bill Richardson Transport World in Invercargill now have a fleet of performance cars available for rent in Invercargill, one of which is a new Ford Focus RS.
Paying our $300 rental bill, we grabbed the keyfob and jumped into the seat of the RS, prepared for an extended roadtrip on the Saturday.
To try and make the most of our time with the car, Dad and I had planned a route that would allow us to fully experience the car (except for drift mode).
Our major destination for the day was the Haast, which meant that we got to drive the car around the lake roads. Some fantastic scenery and a few pretty cool corners made the car a blast to drive.
Dad and I standing beside the RS parked on the outskirts of the Haast township.
We stopped at the ‘On the Spot’ convenience store for a mid-afternoon Ice Cream. The Nitrous Blue of the Focus RS was a pretty close match to the fence colour!
We left Haast after another driver change and headed back in the direction we had come from. Pulling into the township of Hawea (beside Lake Hawea), I pulled the car down beside the Lake so that I could snap a couple of cool photos.
Heading back through the centre of the island, the roads were very quiet. The Focus RS ate the kilometers up and we made pretty good time. We drove the car in sport mode pretty much the whole time, which made the car feel more responsive and also made the exhaust pop and crackle a lot more. We did flick the car into race mode for all of about a minute, but the ride was just far too harsh.
At one stage we took a wrong turn and ended up encountering traffic of another kind…
We stopped for another couple of shots that show the subtle, yet aggressive exterior of the Focus. Since this car is fairly new, there isn’t a massive number of these on the roads in the South Island. Unlike an out-and-out sports car, like a Ferrari, the RS attracts the eyes and comments of only proper enthusiasts that know what this car is and what this car is capable of. To everyone else, this just appears to be a bright-coloured Ford Focus.
The interior is pretty much of standard Focus spec, with the addition of the recaro shell seats. I do feel that these seats are an inch or two too high, which you’d get used to if you owned the car. The thing that surprised me the most about the shell seats, is that they didn’t provide a lot of lateral grip, especially around the shoulders. The standard recaro seats in my Fiesta do a far better job of holding you in place. I know the standard seats are an option elsewhere in world for this car, but unfortunately in New Zealand we only receive the shell seats.
At a starting price of $72,990 + on-road costs, it’s a pretty expensive vehicle. Mind you, the engineering and sheer capability of the car go a long way to justify the high cost.
The burning question is, would I pay double the price of my Fiesta ST for this car? Not at this stage. The Focus RS is just so capable, that it makes 80% of general driving pretty boring and mundane. It’s really only when you get the car onto a tight road that you get a sense of thrill or excitement out of it. Since I’m not someone that’s tracking or drag racing the car, I’m unlikely to ever use the full power or mechanical grip.
I loved the idea that we can now rent such an epic car and enjoy a spectacular day out and plan to hire their V8 convertible Mustang next.
Since I’ve been really slack, I’ve neglected detailing a few of my adventures over the last few months. In this post we’re going to jump back in time to Sunday, September 24th 2017 – where I attended the Central Otago Wings n Wheels event at Alexandra Airport.
Departing early Sunday morning, we hit the road in the Fiesta travelling to Alexandra through Gore. Being a Sunday morning, the roads were really quiet and we have a superb run, without being slowed down by any traffic.
The Wings n Wheels event was a reasonable-sized affair, with an assortment of cars, bikes, boats, trade stands, market stalls, as well as aircraft displays. I didn’t enter my car in the show, so just ended up parking in the public parking. The only downside to the public parking was the dirt road that we had to exit on – the poor Fiesta look pretty second-hand by the end of the day.
Getting straight into the car display, I spotted this sweet looking 2-door ’66 Ford Falcon (Futura). Dad used to own a 4-door NZ new ’67 Falcon, so this brought back some memories. I think the colour of the car is probably a bit like marmite (love it or hate it), but I thought it made the car pop.
While we’re talking about classic Falcons, the next car to grab my attention was this 1977 Ford Fairmont. For those who are unaware, Fairmont is basically the luxury trim level for Falcons. It’s pretty rare to see that someone spec’d out a wagon in Fairmont trim & this car has covered very few kilometers since new and was in immaculate condition.
The final Falcon in my list was the 1980 XD, above. This car is original & has never been restored. In GL spec, this car was the cheapest one that was offered when new and even featured the “cheap mans” 4-speed manual gearbox. Makes this car ultra desirable today. I’d love to try and get my hands on an 80s Falcon, as my favouite childhood memories were made when we had an ’84 XF wagon!
(At some stage, I will dig out some out pictures and detail some of the cars from my past).
The show had a nice variety makes and models, from brand new cars, to classic British sports cars.
When new, Valiant must have been pretty proud of their new motor, as they decided it was worthy of placing a badge on the side of the car. I assume this scared a few people when they glanced sideways at a set of traffic lights!
The strangest looking car of the show was this Maserati Merak, which had these weird rear-braces (I’m not sure what you’d actually call them). It almost looks like some kind of weird ute/pickup in a sports car format. I couldn’t get a decent photo inside the car, but the entire dash wrapped around the driver. Pretty interesting and unusual.
A bright red Honda S2000 was in attendance and the owner was pretty chatty about how much he loved this car. This thing would be the perfect Central Otago car in the summer. Roof down, twisty roads and hot summer days = the most fun a man can have.
I’m not an aircraft fanatic, so can’t tell you too much about the planes that were flying in & out of the airport or performing stunts. There was an extremely enthusiastic MC informing us about each of the aircraft and their pilots. I can tell you that the camo-coloured jet above is an L-29 Delfin, which is owned by a guy in Queenstown. The noise this beast made when it started up and took off was incredible!
A charted plane that you could pay to go for a ride on.
We traveled back to Invercargill via Frankton, making it a round trip and arrived home in time for dinner. Overall, a great way to spend a Sunday. Stay tuned over the next week for a few more catch-up posts.
It’s been a couple of years since we last attended the Auto Spectacular in Dunedin as there have been clashing events in our calendars. The cool thing about the Auto Spectacular is that there is always a focus on a particular era, genre, make or marque of vehicle/s. This year the focus was on Japanese Classics, Ferrari and the Chevrolet Camaro.
We left town a little after 7.30am on Saturday morning in Nathan’s TRD Camry, with Nathan, Robbie, Dad & I in attendance.
Nathan’s had his Camry for just under a year now and this was the first trip I’ve been on in the vehicle, other than a jaunt around town. The Camry was one of ten built by Toyota New Zealand, featuring the following customisations over the standard Camrys:
* 3.0L Supercharged V6
* 5-Speed manual gearbox (this car was only ever offered in an automatic variant here)
* Custom TRD-embroidered leather interior
* Custom body-kit & front grille
* Remus exhaust
* Fancy alloy wheels
* Did I mention the Supercharger?!?!
I’m sure there’s plenty of other features that I’ve neglected to mention, but this car was pretty much loaded with everything Toyota could throw at it in 2001. Each of the ten cars built by Toyota had their own specification sheet, detailing the unique features of the cars.
We made fantastic time through to Dunedin and even with four people in the car, had no struggles getting past slower traffic. The smooth power delivery and bags of torque propelled the car forward at a very impressive rate!
Before we even entered the show, we had a decent glance around the parking lot & surrounding streets, as there were plenty of interesting cars parked up from like-minded enthusiasts in attendance.
As a fellow Capri owner, I had to catch a few shots of this German-assembled MK3 Capri parked out on the street. A very tidy car!
Considering that we’re not long out of winter, the weather was superb. During our last visit to the Auto Spectacular, we froze on the way up & then inside the stadium it was like an icebox. It didn’t make for an enjoyable event that year.
A couple of really cool rat-rods were in attendance and attracted a rather large crowd. At first glance they just looked like they’d been hacked together, but once you started looking at all the little details, you saw how much work and attention to detail had gone into their construction. Look at the size of those rear truck tyres on that Ute!
Someone’s pimped-out Toyota Century, the top-of-the-line luxury limo that they made for nearly thirty years. The second generation Centurys, currently in production are now powered by a V12, which would make a superb cruiser.
The Celica above is a genuine World Rally Championship model, which Toyota had to produce 2,500 of, in order to meet FIA requirements so that they could rally these cars. Producing 252bhp, with 4wd, I’m sure this thing can move rather promptly.
My favourite car of the show, a 1937 Graham Supercharger 116 Sedan.
Containing a 6-cylinder motor, with a flat aluminum head, it produced 106bph. Back in 1937, this must have been one quick car. Only 5,000 116 Sedans were ever produced by the Detroit-based car company and this car was one of them. Sold new by a dealership in Methven, this car has remained in the country & is now owned by a couple in Waimate.
Another couple of gems that attracted my eye during the walk around, including a 458 Speciale.
The above Mk4 Cortina was one of the tidiest examples I’d ever seen. The current owner brought the car second hand back in 1981 and it was used as the family car through until June 2005, where it went into storage. In March 2008, the building where the car was being housed, suffered a fire and the poor Cortina suffered a fair bit of damage.
In mid 2014, the car was stripped down to a rolling chassis and had rust & body repairs done before being repainted in the original colour. A number of new and replacement parts were fitted in order to restore the car to the way it originally left the factory. The owners, Bryan & Marion McConachie must be very proud to have such a superb car.
Hitting up Wendy’s for sustenance, we hit the road and traveled back to Invercargill. A great way to spend a Saturday!
September 3rd this year was Father’s day and to celebrate, Dad wanted to attend the Petrolhead breakfast that just happened to fall on the same day. Petrolhead breakfast is basically the equivalent ‘Cars & Coffee’ event here, however, as it’s named after the magazine, it’s open to everything except Japanese cars! I’ve never attended before, as I’ve always disliked the idea that it’s not openly open to all enthusiast drivers of all makes and marques, but made an exception as it was what Dad wanted to do.
We arrived early in the Chrysler & headed in so that we’d be able to get breakfast at ‘The Grille’ cafe, which is attached to Transport World here in Invercargill. The hotcakes, with bacon and banana were delicious!
Here are a few shots of the cars that were outside at the time I snapped my shots. The breakfast does run from 8am through to 10am, so the cars change throughout the morning.
My favourite car on display was the 1957 Ford Fairlaine Skyliner 500 below. Such a rare and cool car that we hardly ever see over here. Aside from the fact this one was sporting a contentintal kit on the back of the car, it’s the fact that this car has a retractable hardtop. Pretty neat stuff!
Inside Transport World, they currently have two pop-up displays. The first is the Porsche exhibit, which was featuring a number of cars designed and named after Ferdinand Porsche who was born on this day (3rd September) 1875.
They had this Lego Porsche GT3RS model on display. A combined collaboration between Lego & Porsche, it took 4 years for the model to be designed. The kit takes about 20 hours to assemble. Click the link here to view the video to see just how detailed the model is.
The 2015 650S & the 1967 McLaren M4A F2. Bruce McLaren, the legendary race car driver was a New Zealander, so as a nation we are still very proud of his achievements. The M4A was designed by Bruce to race in Formula 2.
This year, a documentary was released that featured Bruce McLaren, if you haven’t seen it, it’s well worth the watch. I was fortunate enough to attend the premiere in Invercargill, which was followed up by a talk from one of his former mechanics Wally Wallmott, where he explained what it was like working for Bruce in the early days.
Then there was a Ford GT40 replica, which is owned by Grant Aitken. Probably the most-accurate replica ever built, this car was built from many original parts that Grant tracked down – including an original transmission. Check out the write-up below, it’s a very special piece of kit.
The Ford GT40 was one of the most popular cars that raced at LeMans in 1966 and was driven by the best drivers from around the world. Three of these world class drivers were New Zealanders – Chris Amon, Bruce McLaren & Denny Hulme. Bruce & Chris actually went on to win the 1966 race in the GT that they were driving. Great stuff!
Sitting beside the original, the modern reincarnation, a 2005 Ford GT in white and blue. Obviously, this year Ford have announced that they’re releasing another Ford GT, but this is still the newest one at the current point in time. Running a 5.4L V8 & 6-speed manual, I bet this thing is a hoot to drive. I’m pretty sure that I sat in this car back in 2009 or 2010 (I think, assuming this is the same car), when it was on display at the Lake Hayes car show.
Plenty of very special cars for a Sunday morning & I got to enjoy the morning with Dad, Mum & my sister Kelsey.
On Sunday 27th August, we attended the Daffodil Rally for Cancer which was run throughout the country by the Vintage Car Club of New Zealand.
Originally we had toyed with attending the Timaru event, which would have been a good trip away, but a bit too far when we’d either have to travel home on the Sunday evening or take Monday off work. In the end, we settled with attending the Gore event, which was heading through to Lawrence.
We assembled in the carpark of the Gore town & country club. There was a good selection of cars from a number of different marques.
I had to break the map down into two distinct sections, as Google maps is unaware of a ferry crossing & thus will redirect back to the nearest road. In total, we covered around 343 kilometers for our afternoon outing. About perfect distance for a Sunday afternoon.
An assortment of classic British vehicles were assembled, ready for some heavy mileage. The mustard-coloured Triumph 2500 was in superb condition. The owner said that the car only had around 80,000-odd original kilometers on it & you could tell by looking how well the car was preserved. He did admit that he had put a new engine in the car as the old engine was seized.
A couple of German classics parked up. The black 1977 Mercedes 230 was an imposing looking machine.
After our safety briefing, everyone slowly made their way out of town and up to Lawrence. The Vintage club advise everyone to depart in 1-minute increments, so that other motorists don’t get stuck behind large grouping of classic cars on the roads.
After arriving in Lawrence, we parked up on the main street and were free to wander around the township & depart at our own leisure. The weather in Lawrence, for what is still winter here (just) was great. Unfortunately, with flooding in the South Island in July, three of the Cafes had closed down. The locals did report that they would all reopen over the summer period.
I managed to score a manuka-honey bacon sandwich from a food trailer & we had a look through some antique shops.
The Capri parked outside the local butcher shop, behind a V10 M5 BMW that was also on the rally.
On the way back to Invercargill, we decided to see if the Tuapkea Ferry was running. We were in luck & I managed to get my car loaded on for a trip across the river.
The river was running a little bit lower than usual, so Terry, the operator, had to lay down some ramps so we could get the low-slung sports car loaded. The angle of attack meant that the poor clutch had to do some pretty heavy lifting to get it up.
Terry was a great bloke and extremely helpful in making it a great experience.
The ferry (or punt), was originally opened in February 1896 and is the last known punt to be in operation in the entire southern hemisphere. The ferry operates 7 days a week, unless the weather is so bad that it’s unsafe to run. It’s funded by the Clutha District Council, meaning that it’s totally free to the public. A few years ago, when the bridge at Beaumont was being renovated, this was the only way to cross the Clutha River without taking an otherwise massive detour & was operated for ten hours a day to get people across.
The punt uses the flow of the river to cross from one side to the other & back.
Feel free to visit their website for further info: http://www.tuapekamouthferry.co.nz/
Once we had crossed, we made our way back to Invercargill taking a slightly longer route than was expected. “Winging it” we ended up in the middle of a forest on some rather interesting roads. A pretty good day out to raise some funds for a good cause!
The weekend of the 3rd to the 5th of June is Queen’s Birthday and our last long weekend until October. I had plans to go somewhere for the long weekend, as there are a number of different car events on over the weekend, but decided that I had been to Timaru the past two years, so a third was on the cards. The other bonus with Timaru is that it’s not too big a trip for the Capri – which has developed a bit of a shudder on takeoff – but only once the car gets warm.
Leaving late Saturday morning, we departed on the 400 kilometer trip to Timaru, using State Highway 1. As usual for a long weekend, the police are out in spades, enforcing a “zero tolerance” on speeding – meaning you’ve got to be pretty well behaved!
The journey there went without a hitch and we checked into a small motel in Timaru that we hadn’t stayed at before. I was delighted at reception to be told that I had a room with a garage. Perfect! There was even a hose available for car-wash duties, if it hadn’t been raining.
The next morning we had to cut our live feed of the LPGA short and head off for the meeting point at Caroline Bay in Timaru. At this stage it was spitting, but just before we went to leave it started to rain pretty heavily.
Registration at the tent, where we were provided with some sweets and the instructions for the Rally.
Capri lined up, waiting to go on the run.
An unusual Vauxhall Cavalier, MG BGT, Jaguar, a couple of Cortinas and a Hillman Super Minx were waiting to go on the run.
The nicest looking Ford Sierra Cosworth, that I think I’ve ever seen. Not even a swirl mark in the paint. We had a chat with the owners, Peter and Linda, later in the day. Turns out they have quite a few Fords in their collection. Peter also informed me that his daily driver is a Ford Fiesta ST. What a fluke! His Fiesta was the first Molten Orange coloured car in the country. It was great having a chat with like-minded individuals.
Perfect convertible weather. Not…
A few unique cars, including a stunning Mk5 Jaguar and a 1956 MG ZA Magnette. The MG runs a 1.5L four-cylinder engine with twin SU carburetors, which produces nearly 60bph. The poor little 1.5L will propel the car from 0 – 100 kph in just under 24 seconds! With a four speed manual, it has syncromesh in the top three gears. It must have been a very advanced car at the time it was produced, and the car, which has been restored at some stage, looked superb and was probably my pick of the show.
We departed Caroline Bay around 10.20am and headed out on the Rally. As usual, we got taken on a number of back-roads that neither Dad, nor I, had been on before. The only downside this year, was the 1 kilometer stretch of gravel about halfway through the run. With the amount of rain we had received, all the cars looked like they’d been 4-wheel driving by the time we reached our destination.
The final destination was the Blue Cliffs Hall, where we parked up behind & in-front. They had the local school group put on a BBQ and inside there were coffee/tea stalls and a number of home-baked delights available for purchase. I had a superb piece of caramel square with my lunch and purchased some chocolate fudge for later.
After lunch, we all crammed ourselves into the hall for prize giving and to draw the raffles that had been sold throughout the day. Unfortunately, we didn’t win anything.
That completed the Rally and we departed and made our way back home again, with the dreaded shudder becoming a squeal by the time I pulled back into the driveway at home. I’ll have to do some investigation and remedy the problem – but it shouldn’t be hard to locate it now that it’s making an audible sound. Until next year!