Couple’s Model T world tour in aid of orphans

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Pit stop . . . Retired couple Dirk and Trudy Regter take a break from repairing their 1915 Ford Model T in Dunedin on Tuesday. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Dunedin is the latest stop for a retired Dutch couple on a nearly 130,000km trip around the world in a car more than 100 years old.

In the summer of 2012, Dirk (66) and Trudy (65) Regter, of the Netherlands, began a journey in their 1915 Ford Model T, with a plan to visit more than 50 countries and span every continent.

This journey is being made to raise money to support the work of SOS Children’s Villages International, an organisation working to meet the needs of orphans.

The couple had planned to tour New Zealand in 2016 but the Model T was hit by a truck in Belgium in 2015 and it took two years to fix.

They arrived in Christchurch on January 26, followed by their car in Lyttelton 10 days later.

The world tour resumed on February 12.

So far, the couple have visited Haast, Doubtful Sound, Invercargill and Gore, arriving in Dunedin on Monday.

“New Zealand is a very beautiful country and we have seen a lot of the world,” Mr Regter said.

“You are lucky,” Mrs Regter said.

The couple, who had been married 45 years, have driven the Model T across about 30 countries.

The car is powered by a three-litre petrol engine and was built to its 1915 factory specifications. The only exception is the tyres are fatter than on the original vehicle, resulting in a softer ride.

The couple planned to depart for Twizel today after a weather delay.

The New Zealand leg was scheduled to end in Auckland on March 20, where the Model T would be put on on a ship to Brisbane, the couple making the trip by plane the same day.

After touring Australia, they plan to tour Indonesia and India, cross the Himalayas to China and then on to Mongolia, and then drive the Silk Road on their way home to the Netherlands.

When The Star visited the couple on Tuesday, Mr Regter, a retired architect, was fixing the starter on the Model T.

When asked why he decided to attempt the world tour, Mr Regter replied: “It is a beautiful trip, I like driving a Model T and it’s very special to be fundraising for orphan children.”

The couple paid all tour costs themselves and every dollar donated helped provide orphans with a home, he said.

To give: www.ModelTWorldTour.com.

THE JOURNEY

Dirk and Trudy Regter in their Ford Model T:

2012, Europe to Africa: More than 24,000km in 160 days between their hometown of Edam in the Netherlands and Cape Town in South Africa.

2013, North America: More than 27,000km, crossing 22 states, in 180 days from the west coast of the United States to the east coast of Canada.

2014, South America: About 26,000km in 180 days between Columbia and Brazil.

2015: A planned year-long sabbatical to spend time with their four grandchildren. On a trip in the Model T to Luxembourg in August, the Model T is rear-ended by a truck in Belgium.

2016 and 2017: The Model T is repaired.

February 2018: World tour resumes in Lyttelton on February 12, and passes through Dunedin this week.