The sound of a roaring engine; for us, was usually the beginning of an adventure and the collection of good and not so pleasant memories. Through laughter and short tales, we remembered the good ones attached to various vehicles we have owned over the years; as we sent off across the road to ogle and argh at the vintage cars on display. Each year the Bay of Plenty Vintage Car Club members proudly show off their prized toys, whoops I meant cars. Dreams are free and it’s fun to ignite those inner youngster yearnings which still bubble close to the surface.
As we slowly walked around the various cars, stopping to admire and chat with a few proud owners. On one particular stop we had a longer chat with a chap who happily regaled an adventure of a couple he knew who took an extraordinary journey with their prized vintage car. So, with my sketchy notes and the Squires recall, here is the story as we remember it.
A journey covering 4886 miles in a 1917 Dodge car.
Many of our New Zealand roads are steep and windy. A bit upsy and downsy. I have included photographs from our previous roadtrips to give you an idea of the terrain in some areas of this adventurous journey.
The trip started, when a couple left Tauranga travelling over the hill and through the Forgotten Highway to Stratford. From Stratford to down through Patea and Hawera, to Wellington.
After the Ferry crossing, they proceeded through the newly opened Kaikoura Highway (after the earthquake) to Christchurch then onto Ashburton. There they went up over the Lewis Pass finishing at Reefton. The next leg of the tour took them to Richmond, to Nelson.
The brave couple headed over the Takaka Hill to Golden Bay and returned down the West Coast through Franz Joseph and Riverton to wind up eventually in Invercargill. After a short break and visiting the sights of Invercargill, they then continued their journey through the Catlins and back up the coast to Ashburton. Through the backcountry tracks of the Ben Nevis, Maniototo, Waikouaiti, returning to Ashburton.
Back on the main highway again they followed the coast back up to Picton arriving a month and a half from when they left Tauranga. Arriving in Wellington, they then ventured up over the Rimutaka Hill and through Pahiatua arriving in Palmerston North. From there it was a trip over to Whanganui, up through Stratford then Mokau to return home seven weeks later. The only mechanical issue was a loose rivet on a drive pulley which was fixed with a nut and bolt. The car was serviced during the trip and only required, other than the servicing, 1 pint of oil and the occasional top up with water.
I thought this story regaled by a local car enthusiast was worth repeating as it was indeed an adventure most people would think twice about completing in a modern let alone a Vintage car.