NZ Classic Driver



By Barry Birchall

ISBN 978 0 473 57917 3

Review book supplied by the publisher

The author draws upon a vast number of historical sources – including classic NZ books such as Douglas E. Wood’s Flat To The Boards and Roger Gardner’s Ford Ahead: A History of the Colonial Motor Company Limited; early copies of the New Zealand Herald and Auckland Star and period car club and industry magazines. Many of these early publicatio­ns are held in the Auckland Veteran & Vintage Car Club’s extensive library.

A genuine vintage car enthusiast, Barry Birchall owns a number of interestin­g cars – including 1903 and 1911 Cadillacs – and is a long-standing member of the Horseless Carriage Club of NZ, all of which means that he’s more than qualified to write about early motoring in New Zealand. And don’t get put off by the mention of ‘Auckland’ in the title, Barry’s book ranges much further afield.

As well as sections on the progress from horse and cart to motor car, this book also looks at early commercial vehicles, the evolution of our roading system (from clay to bitumen) and period regulation­s as well as the motor and petroleum industries.

All this is well illustrate­d with dozens of historic photograph­s and period newspaper advertisem­ents. To complete the author’s snapshot of New Zealand’s early motoring scene, he also adds in appendices detailing automobile and motorcycle sales in the 1920s and ‘30s, plus details of cars and commercial vehicles registered in New Zealand during the same period.

Fascinatin­g stuff – essential reading for all those interested in New Zealand’s motoring heritage.

$40 | Review by Allan Walton

*Copies of this book are available at $40 plus P&P and can be ordered direct from the author at: barrybirch­

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