Taranaki Daily News
Lola’s more vintage than her loved car
WHEN 100-year-old Lola de la Haye is feeling down, nothing cheers her up like a spin in her Rover.
One turn of the key is all it takes and she feels right at home again.
The New Plymouth woman – who celebrated her 100th birthday yesterday – just might be the oldest driver in the country.
A search of news archives has been unable to find an older licensed motorist in New Zealand.
She recently had her licence renewed after passing a medical.
‘‘The other day, I’d been sick for some time with this chesty stuff and my daughter made me get in the driver’s side. I wasn’t going to but then I turned the key and, why, it was as if I’d done it just the day before,’’ Mrs de la Haye said.
‘‘But I don’t go very far these days. My doctor hit it on the head – it’s just the novelty.’’
She and her husband, who has the John de la Haye reserve in New Plymouth named for him, bought the car new in 1970.
It’s since done 45,000 miles and been joined by another, smaller Rover – the ‘‘shopping’’ car.
Although she has her daughter to help her, Mrs de la Haye also enjoys the novelty of cooking her own meals, gardening, and has even been called up for jury service.
‘‘I might just try it out too,’’ she said, standing up a little straighter in her immaculate purple twin-set. ‘‘I’d be tough, you know, and they need it.’’
Family and friends surprised Mrs de la Haye with a party on Saturday at Waiau Estate. She expects to spend the rest of the week a little more quietly.