New Zealand Classic Car - - Book Reviews -

By Steve Reid ISBN 978 1 86953 872 9 Avail­able from Oc­tane Books Re­view copy sup­plied by the pub­lisher Re­view by Mark Hol­man


Nzclassiccar con­trib­u­tor, Steve Reid, cov­ers 47 cars in this new hard­cover book. Stick­ing to the ‘proper’ def­i­ni­tion of vin­tage (1919–’31), there’s ev­ery­thing here from a 1922 Sil­ver Ghost to a 1929 Dodge DA, a 1923 An­saldo to a 1921 Brook cy­cle-car, and even an Austin 7 hearse! Each car gets a brief note on its back story to­gether with a pot­ted his­tory of the marque, and all are il­lus­trated with lots of pho­tos. A cou­ple of the cars have had long-term fam­ily own­er­ship while oth­ers have had many keep­ers. Just about all have been sub­jected to thor­ough restora­tions, of­ten over long pe­ri­ods of time.

What you get here is a mix­ture of well-pati­nated cars and some mint ex­am­ples. But what I re­ally liked is that there’s not a sin­gle, pam­pered con­cours show pony amongst them. Many of the cars are shown in their garage or drive­way, but all of them clearly get well used on club runs and the like, as il­lus­trated by the 1924 Beard­more Sports on the cover, with its well-wrapped crew. Some of the cars have clocked up im­pres­sive mileages, and it’s clear that a forth­com­ing big rally can be a great in­cen­tive to fin­ish off a restora­tion that’s been lan­guish­ing for a while! An­other lovely touch with the book is that, as well as see­ing the cars as they are now, many own­ers ob­vi­ously opened their photo al­bums for the au­thor, so there are de­light­ful snapshots of their car in the hands of pre­vi­ous own­ers or un­der restora­tion, all of which gives a real sense of the his­tory that th­ese vin­tage cars pos­sess — the youngest of them is now 83 years old. This is a de­light­ful book that makes you re­al­ize how for­tu­nate we are to have so many great vin­tage cars around New Zealand, and that there are plenty of own­ers who are will­ing to share their cars’ sto­ries.

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