Life in the slow lane suits


The lure of travelling 2700km at about 70kmh around the South Island in 1920s to 1930s-era Austin A7 cars was too good to pass up for a group of vintage drivers from Otago.

Between them they were driving four Austin A7s, an Austin A30 and an A40, plus a rare 1928 Austin 12 truck.

“It will take us about two weeks or so, but we are aiming to have a lot of fun as we cruise sedately along the back roads of the countryside,” tour leader Robbie Jones said.

Wellington man Kim Rose drove his car from Wellington to join the Otago drivers and said when he boarded the ferry, someone asked him what he was doing.

Mine works . . . Rob Labes (right) of Dunedin jokingly comments on his cars ability to start as he watches tour party members prepare their own Austin A7?s for the next leg of their trip south through the Catlins. PHOTO: JOHN COSGROVE

“‘I’m taking this bloody car to Invercargill’, I said, and ‘yes I saw the movie’. The guy just laughed and said he too had seen the movie [Goodbye Pork Pie],” Mr Rose said.

Mr Jones said Covid-19 had interrupted the group’s plans to go to the North Island, so they settled on a slow cruise around the South Island.

“The A7s are a fun car to drive. They have got terrible brakes but you only have to use them on the downhills anyway, but you do have to have a lot of patience to drive them, plus good mechanical knowledge,” he said as his party interjected with comments about also needing oil, spanners, tow ropes and spare tyres.

They usually drive along the back roads to avoid highways and big trucks.

Mr Jones said that on the highways, they tried to leave a good space between their cars so other road users could pass safely, but ‘‘most of the time we just potter around on the back roads discovering New Zealand’’.

The group travelled to Invercargill over the weekend then motored up the West Coast.