Jensen run

New Zealand Classic Car - - Nationwide Events - Words: Dean Payn Photos: David Knightly, Raymond Ruthven

Mist hov­ers over the pad­docks as I open the cur­tains in the kids’ room. Wakie wakie, time to get up. It’s 5.30 on a Sun­day morn­ing, and I need to del­i­cately nav­i­gate the sit­u­a­tion of get­ting two ex­tremely sleepy boys into the car and cross to the other side of Auck­land to meet a group of car en­thu­si­asts in Drury.

As we are pol­ish­ing off our hot choco­lates in a cafe, my younger boy goes, “Dad, is that a Healey?” I re­ply, “Yes and no, Son.” He looked at me puz­zled. “What do you mean, Dad?”

I sud­denly found my­self rem­i­nisc­ing about my­self at Harry’s age. I have a deep-rooted emo­tional at­tach­ment to a spe­cific mar­que. That car, which had eluded me for more than 33 years since, had its ori­gins with a be­spoke coach builder in West Bromwich, Eng­land, who de­vel­oped a car to com­pete against As­ton Martin as a ‘car for the stars’.

Now, in front of my eyes, my pas­sion had be­come a re­al­ity.

As we ap­proached the group, I was wel­comed by Ray Ruthven, whom I had met at the Eller­slie Clas­sic Car Show a cou­ple of years ear­lier. He owns a per­fect ex­am­ple of a Jensen In­ter­cep­tor Se­ries 3, and, be­fore I knew it, we were sur­rounded by Jensens. This was the start of our great day out.

On the first leg of our jour­ney to Mata­mata, we met up with an­other half-dozen Jensen own­ers. It soon dawned on me how pas­sion­ate Jensen own­ers are about their cars. Sud­denly, amidst the hive of con­ver­sa­tion, my heart missed a beat as I heard the sound of a straight-six. I knew straight­away what I was about to wit­ness for the first time since my fa­ther had re­luc­tantly sold his, 30-odd years ear­lier. I was about to come full cir­cle and wit­ness a Jensen 541 in all its glory. As she parked up, I in­tro­duced my­self to De­bra and Bob, who own this fine clas­sic. I was made up!

The next leg of our run was to meet up with other par­tic­i­pants at the his­toric Clas­sic Fly­ers Cafe in Mt Maun­ganui. Af­ter a leisurely brunch, we were off again on a short leg to the home of our host for the day, Bruce Topp.

Be­fore we de­parted, the own­ers of the 541 kindly of­fered to give my two boys a ride. My el­der son summed up the ex­pe­ri­ence, “It was like sit­ting in a rocket ship, Dad; be­ing so close to the ground, it was cool” — a spe­cial thanks to De­bra and Bob for their kind ges­ture.

The venue was per­fect for such an event, from its stun­ning back­drop of Bruce’s gar­dens to his house and col­lec­tion of cars. It was a highly en­joy­able day, and my boys and I were made so wel­come by the group. A spe­cial thanks to Ray, Phillip, Bruce, De­bra and Bob.

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