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Weekend touring with the Bay of Plenty Jaguar Drivers Club

10 November, 2016

The temperamental weather did not put a dampener on the plans that the Bay of Plenty Jaguar Drivers Club had for their weekend trip to Whanganui on Sunday, November 6. Part of their lower North Island tour included a trip on the MV Wairua riverboat as part of the itinerary, which meant that the Whanganui public could come out to view the fine array of Jaguars on display by the Riverboat Centre, drawing out some of the local Jaguar owners as well.

The impressive display started with the unmissable E-Types glistening away under the intermittent sun. For me, my favourite was the Carmen Red V12, which sat their on display in all its magnificence. You just can’t beat the E-Type in red — it’s much like trying to say the word Jaguar without saying it in an English accent. Fortunately I have an English accent so it makes it much easier for me.

The range included a few MKI XKRs made famous by the James Bond film Die Another Day, XKR MKII’s, V8s, E-Types, Mk2s, XK8s, XJSC V12, plus a XJS. The XJS, although desirable to many Jaguar purists, carries a reputation of being unreliable, something that a company in the UK tried to correct by taking old XJSs and improving on everything up to, and including, the big 5.3-litre V12. Alas, the XJS before me was not one of these, but it still looked great amongst the more modern models, and more importantly it had made the journey there.

The event showed the good-natured trusting attitude of the Bay of Plenty Jaguar Drivers Club. They were happy to have their trip on the MV Wairua and let the adoring public roam through the neatly formed aisles — they certainly turned a few heads when the rumbling of V12s and V8s left to continue their journey.

Penny’s Pagoda – Mercedes Benz 230 SL

We scouted out a few different locations for photographing this car, but they all had one thing in common. At every stop, people could not help but come up and compliment owner Penny Webster on her stunning Horizon Blue Mercedes 230 SL.
There’s something about the ‘Pagoda’ Mercedes — so-called because the distinctive dipping curve of its roofline echoes that of the famous Eastern tiered temples — that encourages people to speak up.
Many classic cars attract a second look, but in most cases people keep their thoughts to themselves. It was striking how many people felt the need to express the warmth of their feelings about this car.
The expansive glass cockpit, the friendly, subtle lines, and its simple three-box shape seem to encourage openness among passers-by.

Motorsport Flashback – Kiwi rallying in the 1970s

Rallying arrived in New Zealand in 1973 like a tsunami. It had been only a few years since the sport was introduced here and shortly afterwards Heatway came on board as the sponsor to take rallying to a new level. The 1973 Heatway would be the longest and biggest yet, running in both islands with 120 drivers over eight days and covering some 5400 kilometres. The winner was 31-year-old Hannu Mikkola — a genuine Flying Finn who had been rallying since 1963 before putting any thoughts of a career on hold until he completed an economics degree. The likeable Finn became an instant hero to many attracted to this new motor sport thing. I was one of them.