Back in the UK…

Keith Adams

Ford Anglia 105E spotted in New Zealand
Ford Anglia 105E spotted in New Zealand and still in daily use

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, has a nice ring to it…

Keith Adams


  1. Keith,
    Don’t forget that it’s winter in NZ now, so lots of classics are SORNED or whatever the Kiwi equivalent is! If you do go back (during our winter), I can put you in touch with the classic Rover crew out there.

  2. Their love of Japanese cars is probably similar to those of the Aussies, they just want something that goes, and goes reliably. Don’t know about NZ, but in the Australian outback miles from civilisation I would rather be in an old Toyota than an old Landie. Sorry!

    The close proximity to Japan probably helps with shipping costs too (although there is the email, which may be fake, of the Nissan bus at the mine that needed parts…).

    Ireland has similar car buying habits, they love their Japanese saloons (in fact, you can buy brand new Nissan Tiida and Toyota Corolla saloons that aren’t sold in the UK!).

    UK buyers tend to want German badges that they believe will impress others.

  3. G’day Keith -glad you liked our place! I guess the Anglia was spotted south of Auckland (largest city in NZ, with 1.4m people, for non-Kiwis), as most Brit cars seen in Auckland are 1990s Rovers and (non-BMW) minis, with occassional Triumph 2500’s. Fair number of SD1s round too, but more in the wreckers yards than on the road ;(

    The Jap car obsession is actually a consequence of the 1980’s shift to liberal capitalism – NZ’s Labour government (think Blair) liberalised trade in cars c.1990 and the value of my 76′ mini nearly halved overnight – he’s been sulking in the garage for the last 19 years as a result… Up to then, Brit cars had good market share, with Yank/Aussie metal making up a lot of the rest (Ford, Holden=Vauxhall). But trade liberalisation plus Japan’s strict WoF regs after 7yrs saw a booming 2nd hand car import business shift the balance (private citizens even flew to Japan to buy and ship back 2nd hand cars).

    That, and the shift from Austin to Rover badge (with price premium attached) plus the exchange rate killed a lot of Austin-Rover sales. Which is a shame as most BL cars are better than their competitors – I compared my Montego estate with Dad’s 2008 Holden station wagon to find the Motego nearly 2ft shorter, but with similar internal dimensions! Sadly, rust saw the Monty sold to a Tongan fella for shipping to his island, where the Monty’s rust was ‘no problem’ (none of it was structural, but it wouuld fail a WoF here).

    Biggest Kiwi BL shame – lack of Maestro’s sold new, making them rare as hen’s teeth now (never seen one!!!). Which makes my Mk3 Metro lonely 😉

    Anyhow, try Tauranga or Christchurch for Brit cars, though now things are thinning more evenly.

  4. Here in Christchurch the drive to work this morning netted the following classics scurrying along in the commuter traffic:

    Mk 1 Escort panel van
    Mk 2 Escort 1.3L sedan
    Triumph 2500 (chopped into a 2-door convertible!!!)*
    Mk 3 Cortina
    Isuzu Bellett
    Fiat 124 Coupe
    Standard 10 pick-up
    Chrysler Valiant Regal

    These were just what I happened to notice during my 4 km commute, and there’s a nagging feeling I’ve forgotten a couple.

    * Before anybody asks, it wasn’t a Stag!

  5. Hi Josh, great to hear from you. I was on a trip to see Greg Beacham, and took a stroll around Havelock North to see what interesting cars I could see. And there was yours.

    It is indeed a small world. How on earth did you find this picture?

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