Veteran rally set to rumble

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Thirty-five different vintage cars are converging on Oamaru for the National Veteran Car Rally beginning today.

Vintage cars in the rally date from between 1900-19 and feature all different makes and models, with the oldest car being a 1900 Wolseley owned by a Dunedin man.

Organising committee convener John Chynoweth said it would be good to get the rally going.

“Everything has gone smoothly and now we just have to hope the weather plays its part too. We hope it’s a little bit hotter, but will be happy if it doesn’t rain.”

The headquarters for the rally will be at the Loan & Merc. Registrations have been taking place there since 4.30pm yesterday and the dinners and prizegiving will also be held there.

The number of cars competing is very pleasing.

“We’re awfully happy with the amount of cars that have decided to come to Oamaru to take part. We hope to show off North Otago, its fantastic scenery and just what beautiful roads we have.”

Mr Chynoweth said to match the occasion organisers had asked drivers to come dressed in clothing from the same era as their car.

“We feel it will be a bit of fun and add a bit more to the rally.”

Mr Chynoweth said he was looking forward to getting his 1919 Buick EX 45 out and about.

“I’m looking forward to driving it on the roads and seeing how fast I can actually get, while experiencing the sights of all the other cars on the road, too.”

Drivers can sign up for either a 40km journey or an 80km journey.

Field testing will take place at Clarks Mill tomorrow afternoon.

People can come along and watch the cars as they leave the precinct from 9am, with car enthusiasts set to gather about 8.30am outside Scott’s Brewing Co.

Some vintage cars will be on display, such as the Dennison car reproduction, which is a model of the first ever car to travel more than 100 miles (161km) in a journey in New Zealand.

It was made by Frederick Dennison, of Oamaru, who also made the first bus in New Zealand in 1906.

The Dennison car was unable to complete its Christchurch-to-Oamaru return trip and burnt out on the journey back to Christchurch. The vehicle reproduction was made in 2000.

By Brayden Lindsay

PHOTO: BRAYDEN LINDSAY – John Rush, chief engineer in the remake of a Dennison car, Ralph Weir and Bruce Watt, both members of the North Otago Vintage Car Club. The Dennison car (pictured) will be on display at the Loan & Merc during the National Veteran Car Rally that begins today.