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A 26-day journey from Perth to Sydney in your classic car

8 December, 2014

There’s those road trips that regularly feature on ‘things to do before you die’ lists, around Europe and across America for example. Closer to home, the obligatory trip around both the North and South Island is always worthwhile, but New Zealand’s always had a deficit of size. For that, our neighbours across the ditch have the answer — the Perth to Sydney Classic Car Tour.

The tour covers 26 days and participants stay in motels and hotels covering 3½ to 5-star ratings throughout the trip. Classic car owners are already preparing for the next tour, departing Perth in August 2015, with cars set to be shipped from Christchurch and Auckland.

From Perth, the convoy will visit most of the best sites Western Australia has to offer. These include Cape Leeuwin, Australia’s most south-westerly point, the famed wine and surf town of Margaret River, and Albany, the original home of ANZAC, with great celebrations in 2015 to commemorate 100 years since the Gallipoli landings.

Memorable road signs in traditional Aussie fashion

South Australia is the next destination, covering the Nullarbor Plain over the course of three days, and driving alongside southern right whales and their calves in the Great Australian Bight. Port Lincoln is the destination after the Nullarbor, and Wes Davies, the event organizer, hopes that the Lincoln Classic Car Club will turn out in force once more to greet the travellers, as they did on the last trip in 2013.

A great sign on the Nullarbor

In stark contrast to the barren beauty of the Nullarbor is the city of Adelaide, reached via fertile winery regions. From Adelaide, the convoy travel through Northern Victoria to the town of Wentworth where the Darling and Murray River systems meet at the NSW and Victoria border. Providing a variety of countryside, cities, and everything in-between is the next destination of Melbourne, before heading through the Snowy Mountains, and on to the capital city of Canberra.

Early morning line up at Renmark, near the SA/NSW/Victoria border

The epic cross-country wander covers over 7500km, and 2015’s iteration already has eight couples and cars booked. Wes says that although the route has not changed, he’s learned a lot from the first trip in 2013 — hence there’s been a few changes to the support processes. All cars are now provided with handheld radios and matching GPS units, and Wes will carry a satellite phone and towing dolly as further support. You can’t be too safe when it comes to old cars and big country! Of course, these kinds of trips are as much about the experience as the people you meet, and the Perth to Sydney Classic Car Tour offers the best of both. To book your Australian adventure, contact Wes Davies on 0800 533 868.

All done — the line up at North Sydney, under the Harbour Bridge

Taipan – surpassing interest

“It’s merely a passing interest,” insists Selby — despite owning three variants of the classic VW Beetle, including an unusual VW van that was sold as a body kit for a Subaru. In his defence he points to a 1961 Ford Thunderbird, a car that he converted to right-hand drive. However, on the VW side of the ledger, since he opened Allison Autos in Whanganui 27 years ago, Selby has built 15 VW-powered Formula First cars, followed by a beach buggy, restored a derelict Karmann Ghia, and hot-rodded a common or garden Beetle into something that has to be seen to be believed. As speed is not something generally associated with classic VWs, though, Selby is still waiting for this particular modification to catch on amongst the hot rod faithful.

Travelling companion

It’s easy to see why the Morris Minor Traveller was one of the best-loved variants of the Morris Minor. Introduced in 1953, it was equipped with the same independent torsion bar front suspension, drum brakes, and rack and pinion steering as its saloon sibling but, with their foldable rear seat increasing versatility, many Travellers were used as trade vehicles, says Derek Goddard. Derek and Gail Goddard, the owners of this superbly restored example, have run Morris Minors since before they were married in 1974.
“Our honeymoon vehicle was a blue Morris Minor van — it was a rust bucket,” says Derek.