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"Dedicated to the preservation of Standard Cars 1903-1963"

Dedicated to the preservation of Standard Cars 1903-1963

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VCC Tour of New Zealand

Two early Standards complete gruelling 2000 mile tour around New Zealand

The Standards pictured during a well earned pause in the marathon tour



Every four years the Vintage Car Club of New Zealand organise a large International Rally. The 2006 event co-incided with the Diamond Jubilee of the Club. The event would be based at Invercargill, Southland, from the 14th to 28th January. Prior to this there was to be 3 days of Monte Carlo type Rallies from different starting points around New Zealand, all converging on Invercargill.

My very good friends, Trevor and Wendy Lightfoot have been asking me to go and stay with them for at least the last ten years. To combine a trip with some open-air motoring, good weather and other vintage cars, seemed like a very good idea to me, especially if it meant that I could escape the English climate in January.

I left Heathrow on 8th January, and flew via Dubai and Sydney to Christchurch. Total flying time (actually in the air) amounts to 24 hours, however all this was soon forgotten when I stepped of the plane in Christchurch to be met by Trevor and Wendy.

We only had two days in Christchurch before we had to head south, but I certainly packed a lot in, meeting up with Rick Hills, who runs the Standard Enthusiasts Club of New Zealand, and Andrew Symonds who also lives in Christchurch and owns a 1924 Standard SLO4 Warwick. Trevor also took me around the Christchurch in his 1924 V3 Kenilworth tourer, being lent the controls adding to the excitement.

Our transport for the next 2 weeks was going to be Trevor’s 1930 Standard 16 H.P., fitted with a New Zealand bodywork, known as a fabric sedan. Upon arrival in Invercargill, I discovered that amongst the 800 odd cars on the Rally, there was but 3 Standards. The other two being a 1926, model V4, 14/28 H.P. Wellesbourne tourer and a 1953 Phase 2 Vanguard.

Eleven days of Rallying passed all to quickly, and we then had to spend two days driving back up to Christchurch from Invercargill. However, our Standard hunt was not yet over, for we called on another 1924 V3 Kenilworth tourer that is under restoration, and also a 1924 SLO4 Pall Mall saloon, a very rare car that requires extensive restoration

Then back to Christchurch, and two days left before I have to head for home. That was a great shame and I just didn’t want to leave! Anyway, these two days, gave me the chance to meet up with Allan and Judy Bain who are the owners of a 1928 Standard Nine, with bodywork by Gordon England. This is one of two surviving Gordon England’s in the world. The other example is in this Country and is owned by David Groom. I think that I can probably boast that I am the only person to have actually ridden in both of them!

So all in all an excellent time, an experience that I shall never forget. We motored all over the South Island of New Zealand in a 76 year old Standard and covered over 2000 miles in 16 days. My very grateful thanks to Trevor and Wendy Lightfoot and all other Standard owners that I met in New Zealand for their hospitality and friendship.

New Zealand is a lovely Country. There are wide-open spaces; no crowding and the people are so friendly. I certainly would recommend this destination to anyone. I intend to return again, just as soon as I have saved up the money!

Leonard Barr

With so much room on New Zealand's roads, I'm surprised at the need to double park!

Report and photographs by Len Barr