A rare treasure for rally

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Ready to rally . . . Stephen Kidd tests the horn on his 1913 Darracq SS13 at his Dunedin home in preparation for the Brighton Veteran Car Rally tomorrow. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

A fiery French-built car is set for the Brighton Veteran Car Rally tomorrow.

Retired Dunedin man Stephen Kidd believes he might own the only 1913 Darracq SS13 in the world.

The rare car is one of the more than 30 vehicles registered for the 64th annual rally, open to vehicles made before 1919.

The car has a 3-litre petrol engine, a four-speed gearbox, kerosene headlights and was in original condition with faded factory-original “French grey” paint.

The complete lack of safety features meant there were no seatbelts or working speedometer, he said. A handbrake had to be used to slow down or stop.

“You have to be cautious because it’s pretty easy to set the brake on fire if you’re not careful.”

For its age, it handled well, and cruised at more than 60kmh.

Original condition . . . The 1913 Darracq SS13 owned by Dunedin man Stephen Kidd

Mr Kidd bought the car from the Southward Car Museum, in Paraparaumu on the Kapiti Coast, in 2016, where it had been stored since the early 1960s.

He entered two motoring events a year and chose the Brighton Rally because it was the oldest continuous veteran rally in the southern hemisphere.

“A lot of people don’t appreciate how important it is.”

Paris to Dunedin . . . The front of the 1913 Darracq SS1

Rally organiser Colin Winter said thevehicles registered for the rally came from Invercargill to Christchurch.

The rally would proceed in “rain, hail or snow”.

Participants would park their vehicles in the Octagon carriageway from 9.45am. The first vehicle would depart about 11am.

Former television presenter Dougal Stevenson will comment on each vehicle before Mayor Dave Cull flags it away.

The fleet would travel to the Exchange, up Maclaggan St, down Stone St, along Kaikorai Valley Rd, and stop at Leslie Groves Hospital in Wakari. A time trial would start at the hospital, as drivers travelled back down to Kaikorai Valley Rd, through Green Island and Waldronville to Brighton Domain.

He expected the first vehicle to reach the domain by noon. There, the participants would be put through several “field tests” to assess their driving skills.

The fleet would remain at the domain until about 3pm.

The rally was organised by the the Otago branch of the New Zealand Vintage Car Club.

Participants were invited to a dinner and prizegiving at the clubrooms in Forbury Rd on Saturday night.

About 20 vehicles and participants were expected to meet at the clubroom from 10am on Sunday to make a “leisurely drive” to Carey’s Bay Historic Hotel for lunch.