Vintage cars to go on show

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International Ford Model A day is almost upon us, and tomorrow three vintage cars will go on show at the Plaza Arcade in Balclutha.

This will be the second year Model A enthusiasts from the Clutha district have publicly displayed their cars to tie in with international gatherings.

Local organiser Paul McNabb invites the public to come along and get the chance to drive in a classic car almost 90 years old.

“We set them up outside Regional Ford last year and had a great response, so this year with the help of the Clutha District Council, we moved over to the arcade to reach a wider main street audience.”

Since 2009, enthusiasts around the world have celebrated Henry Ford’s ingenuity on International Ford Model A day.

Mr McNabb describes owning a vintage car as a labour of love.

“Owners can spend years tinkering with them, restoring them to their former glory.

“I’m still working on one that I brought nearly 40 years ago, as I have to hand-build all of the wooden body frame struts that have rotted away.”

This retired contractor started his lifelong passion for the Model A in 1977, when he brought his first Ford vintage car.

Since then he has owned a few, and in 1981 he spotted the one pictured and tried to buy it.

“I had to wait a few years until it came up for sale, but I have driven it to many rallies and it’s still a good runner,” he said.

Mr McNabb said it was still a lot of fun to drive today, 90 years after it was made in Canada.

“Because of import duties, most Commonwealth right-hand drive Model A Fords were made across the border from Ford’s main plant in Detroit, at a facility in Toronto, and then shipped down here.

“This one came via Blenheim and passed through many vintage car club owners’ hands before I got it seven years ago.”

Mr McNabb said that Henry Ford designed the cars to work on rough roads, and the three-speed crash gear box, coupled to a very basic three-litre, four-cylinder motor, propels it along at a steady 70kmh.

“It very nice to drive and tour in – this model is always dry, warm and comfortable, while other versions of the car can be draughty and cold.

“Next year the 14th national meet for Ford Model A cars will be held in Te Anau at Easter, and we are expecting about 130 cars to attend.

“Most will attend the daily road tours offered, driving on dirt roads and visiting sheep stations in the backcountry.

“These old cars are made to be driven and not stored forever in a shed somewhere.”