Sorry, I’ve been quiet of late, but a trip to New Zealand last week pretty much knocked me out of circulation for ten days or so. I have to say that the place is absolutely brilliant – although, following the extensive research I’ve done on the place, I always knew it was going to be the case.
I have what I like to call purple moments in my life. These are times when just about everything feels and seems right in the world. They don’t happen often, but I must have had half a dozen or so while on the ground down under… for a mere five days.
The overriding impression I got from the place (once I’d recovered from the shock of breathing clean air) was just how chilled people are and how outwardly friendly they are. That the scenery and roads are wonderful is a given, but there was one particular drive I enjoyed between Hawkes Bay and Taupo which, although I was behind the wheel of a JDM Honda Accord automatic, was appreciated for the stunning beauty of the scenery as well as the sinuousity (made-up word, sorry) of the road.
I was expecting to see roads littered with old UK cars but found that the typical Kiwi actually drives a 10-15 year old Japanese saloon. That might have seemed disappointing, but wasn’t because it was nice going somewhere that wasn’t riddled with the same old familiar motors – again something of a shock, truth be told. I did see a few classics in use, most of which were Japanese, but with a handful of Morris Minors, 1100s and old Jaguars to brighten up the scene considerably.
To be honest, the car mix there wasn’t an issue at all and it was only once I got home that I realised how different things are there. For one, here in the UK, we all seem to drive newer cars and buy on badge. The sheer number of late-registration ‘premium’ models being used for the most mundane of duties here in the UK is phenomenal. But less of that.
You want to see pics of classic British tin in New Zealand – and sadly, I can’t really show you any. I was on a whirlwind tour and didn’t get too much chance to point my camera at anything much. However, as I’ve come to the conclusion that I will be going back – and for rather longer – I’ll get some nice pics then. I have to say, right now, www.aronline.co.nz has a nice ring to it…
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.