AORAKI / MT COOK SPRING CLAS­SIC

New Zealand Classic Car - - Contents - Words: Quin­ton Tay­lor

Fam­ily ties were very much in ev­i­dence as en­trants set off from Dunedin on Satur­day, 3 Novem­ber, on the Aoraki / Mt Cook Spring Clas­sic or­ga­nized by the Mehrtens fam­ily. Well known for their Main­land Clas­sic South Is­land events and, lat­terly, the Au­tumn Colours Out­ings to Ar­row­town, David and Chris­tine Mehrtens have es­tab­lished a rep­u­ta­tion for run­ning some very en­joy­able and so­cia­ble events in­volv­ing vin­tage and clas­sic mo­tor­ing.

The tour left Dunedin on Satur­day morn­ing un­der threat­en­ing skies. The slow­est cars left first, led by the Mehrtens fam­ily’s 1924 De­lage DI tourer. The two-litre De­lage was re­stored in the late 1980s, and com­pleted the jour­ney to Aoraki / Mount Cook and back with­out miss­ing a beat, cruis­ing at 45–55mph (70– 90kph) for the en­tire trip.

The mix of clas­sics and vin­tage was eclec­tic to say the least, right up to a modern Fiat 124 Abarth. Steve Roy was ac­com­pa­nied in his vin­tage three-litre Bent­ley by Ross New­ton, and the two couldn’t wait to tell the or­ga­niz­ers how much fun they were hav­ing. The vin­tage ex­haust bur­ble and gear whine of the Bent­ley as the pair en­thu­si­as­ti­cally set off was some­thing to hear. In­ver­cargill cou­ple Neil and Cyn­thia Lewis were en­joy­ing the chance to stretch the legs of their newly re­stored Jaguar XK150 road­ster — fea­tured in New Zealand Clas­sic Car Is­sue No. 334, Oc­to­ber 2018.

The threat­en­ing weather fi­nally lived up to its po­ten­tial near the Danseys Pass turn-off, and, by Otem­atata, it was buck­et­ing down, mak­ing life in­ter­est­ing for those who were cruis­ing with the top down! How­ever, by Omarama, the skies had cleared, and it was on to the evening stopover at Aoraki / Mount Cook vil­lage and a very so­cia­ble evening en­joyed by all.

Mon­day morn­ing’s start was the top of the Hooker Val­ley Road, at the orig­i­nal Her­mitage site, and then off to Tekapo, where the lo­cal school wel­comed the tour.

En­tries are al­ready com­ing in for the 2019 Au­tumn Colours event, with 10 con­firmed and some spe­cial cars ex­pected.

“We have one en­trant who is not sure which Fer­rari he will bring, as he has a se­lec­tion,” David said. He also told us that, with the ob­vi­ous suc­cess of this year’s Aoraki / Mount Cook Spring Clas­sic, there would be an­other one in 2020.

Visit main­land­clas­sic.co.nz for more de­tails, or en­quire at main­land.clas­[email protected]­look.com.

Pho­tos: David Mehrtens and Quin­ton Tay­lor

David Mehrtens and daugh­ter, Anna, en­joy­ing the fam­ily De­lage un­der a threat­en­ing sky

A De­lage and a Bent­ley; ma­jes­tic cars, ma­jes­tic scenery

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