Vintage cars on trip down memory lane

Festival of Historic Motoring takes to Taranaki roads

Ilona Hanne





Taranaki is set to take a step back in time next week as vintage car enthusiasts from across the country take their cars on a trip down memory lane along the region’s highways and byways. More than 500 vehicles are expected to be out and about on Taranaki roads as the Vintage Car Club of New Zealand’s Vero International Festival of Historic Motoring gently rolls into town. Festival director Greg Terrill says he and the team are “thrilled” with the number of people who’ve registered for the festival as well as the quality of the vehicles themselves. While Covid-19 related border closures mean this year’s festival won’t boast the usual number of international entrants the event normally attracts, he says the festival is set to be as spectacular as it always is thanks to the fantastic cars set to be motoring through the district over the week. From Bugattis to Buicks, Chevrolets to MGs, the event includes cars, motorbikes and trucks with one thing in common — they are more than 30 years old. Sheila and Mark Masters are two of the local participants in the event and say they are looking forward to joining fellow vintage motoring enthusiasts in exploring the region over the week. Both Sheila and Mark are passionate about vintage motoring, and over the years that passion has led to them driving many roads less taken, not just in New Zealand but as far afield as Mongolia and Africa. Mark currently drives a 1947 MG TC, known as Tilly, while Sheila has a 1956 Morris Minor called Alice. Almost 10 years ago Sheila and Mark were driving through Africa in a Morris Minor, beginning in Cape Agalhas and heading through Botswana, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, and the Sudan, to name just a few of the countries they motored through. It was, they say, a fantastic trip, made all the better for travelling in a vintage car. “You have to talk to people, you find yourselves stopping in small villages, or towns you have never heard of before, because old cars tend to come with a regular need for repairs,” laughs Sheila. The couple have also driven across Mongolia in an MG, taken a VW Combi around South America and say every trip is an adventure they won’t regret. “We’ve always enjoyed the trips, they really take us to places we wouldn’t normally see and experience life quite differently,” says Mark. “Cruise ships just don’t appeal the same way!” He and Sheila hope people enjoy seeing the cars driving around Taranaki next week, and encourage people to come along to have a closer look at the vehicles in Inglewood on Thursday. While previous events have had plenty of advertised stop points for locals to come and see the cars, this year’s event is slightly different, says Mark. “People will see the cars touring around the region over the five days, but we had to consider Covid regulations when it came to planning stops. “Rather than have lots of times and places where people might all flock to see the cars, we have set one specific day and time for everyone to come and see them close up which will be the Inglewood Street Party.”