Rover Car Club Canterbury Inc.
The Rover Car Club Canterbury has been part of the active classic car scene in Christchurch for 42 years. It is a small social group of around 50 enthusiasts with the aim of enjoying, promoting, and preserving Rover cars in Canterbury. The club has a wellestablished formula of informal monthly meetings followed by monthly outings to places of interest, or touring the province. Rover cars were sold in New Zealand from the early 1900s until the company ceased production in 2005. They were an admired and respected part of New Zealand’s motoring fleet.
A wide range of models is represented in the club, including increasing numbers of Land Rover Discoveries and Range Rovers, which are being made most welcome.
The club’s emphasis is on enjoying the cars and encouraging their use. Although the standard of presentation has risen over the years, prospective members certainly don’t need a pristine car to join, and any Rover enthusiast is welcome.
The eclectic membership ranges from those content to derive pleasure from just a single car to the more rabid, whose collections are completely out of control …
The Rover Car Club Canterbury is affiliated with the Association of Rover Car Clubs New Zealand (rovercars.co.nz). It regularly communicates with other Rover car clubs and participates in an annual national rally hosted in a different region each time. These are popular as a means of seeing different parts of the country and meeting a wider range of fellow enthusiasts.
The club has a comprehensive library of technical manuals, and each model has a dedicated advisor to render advice or referral. A monthly magazine keeps members in touch with events and items for sale, or offers pearls of wisdom.
Watch out for the Canterbury Roverites as they celebrate 40 years of the Rover SD1 this Labour Weekend. Members’ cars will be on display in the quadrangle of Christ’s College on Sunday October 23, and other owners will be welcome to bring along their SD1.
Vauxhall Firenza Sport SL
All the samples come from Oxford Diecasts this month. First into the inspection bay is the long-awaited 1:43-scale Vauxhall Firenza Sport SL ( VF001). There has only been one other die-cast model of the car before, by Lone Star in about 1:64 scale.
The Oxford version captures the sporty lines of the original very well. There are no opening parts, so all the panel and shut lines are neatly depicted. Separate plated parts have been used for the grille, bumpers, windscreen wipers, and door mirrors. All other brightwork is represented by tampo printing. The grille centre is painted black, with the indicator and tail lights picked out in their relevant colours. The headlights are clear glazed.
The glazing is flush fitting, with both door windows being ‘wound down’, allowing the detail of the interior to be admired. There is reasonable detail on the base, with the rear muffler picked out in silver. There has been a bit of criticism in the model press about the wheels fitted to this example, and it has been explained away as the model being based on a real-life car that had obviously had its wheels changed at some time. The Firenza is painted mid blue with a black interior.
The model was late in production, as the first output from the tooling showed that it was too small for 1:43 scale, so the whole development process had to be repeated — which shows how thorough the Oxford process is.
From time to time, companies make special models for certain markets. This is usually limited to special colours and liveries. Siku has made quite an effort in this field, with perhaps the Mercedes ambulances being the most realistic, although they are all basically toys. Oxford Diecasts has just released two fire appliances in New Zealand liveries in 1:76 scale.
The first, is a Dennis F8 in Christchurch New Zealand Fire Service (NZFS) livery. The overall look of the model is good, with some small detailing evident. Items such as the hose reels are complete with separately coloured hoses. All the hinges and handles are neatly picked out in silver, as is the pump section inserted at the rear. The grille is a separate casting, painted silver, with the ‘DENNIS’ logo plate in the correct position. The headlights are clear glazed, which is a plus at this scale.
The glazing is snug fitting. The interior is moulded in black, so is hard to discern, but, at this scale, you can’t expect too much detail. There is some detailing on the plastic base, and the wheels look authentic, though the front axle is too long, but that can be fixed.
Naturally, the Dennis is painted red with a black roof (better than the first mock-up, which was in a modern red and white finish!). The locker doors above the rear wheel are signed for ‘Christchurch Fire Board’, ‘C.F.B 18’ behind the crew doors, with the NZFS logo on the crew doors. The registration plate is ‘DV3445’ (Ferrymead preserved), although the livery matches an earlier incarnation of the finish.
Obviously, there have been some compromises using a standard casting, such as the inclusion of bells instead of a siren, and the blank silver square where the spotlight is, above the offside headlight.
The second NZFS model is a forward-control Land Rover with Carmichael FT6 bodywork. This, too, is a good little model, and represents one from the Temuka Brigade (AH9891). Detailing is comprehensive. The whole top section has been moulded in clear plastic then painted, so the windows are left clear, giving a neat glazing effect. The minus side is that light can shine through and spoil the solidity of the finish.
Both the fire engines are available in New Zealand model shops, but it pays to shop around, as there seems to be a premium set on them, even though they are standard issues.