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.