Veteran cars ready to shine in rally

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"Real character" . . . Stephen Kidd is set to drive his 1914 Talbot in the Brighton Veteran Car Rally on Saturday. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

A blue veteran car is set to shine in the 66th annual Brighton Veteran Car Rally on Saturday.

Stephen Kidd, of Andersons Bay, salvaged a 1914 Talbot from a farm near Pukerau in Eastern Southland in the early 1960s.

The parts of the car were strewn between five large sheds.

“It was among other parts of farm machinery.”

He found every part except a shock absorber and the accelerator pedal.

When he visited the farm about 20 years later, all the sheds had collapsed, and he found the missing pedal in a drain.

He stored the parts for about 50 years, got a shock absorber built and he put the car together in about three years, finishing the restoration project about five years ago.

“It’s a car with real character.”

When asked why he spent the time and money restoring veteran cars he replied: “Cars as old as this are my life admired them since I was a kid.”

His love for cars began when he started working at an after-school job at Gough’s Garage and saw his boss’s car – a 1914 Buick – for the first time.

“That started me on my way.”

He planned to drive his 1914 Talbot in the rally on Saturday.

The event would be the first time he had driven the car in about two years ago.

Other people had driven it in that time, as he lent his friends his fleet of veteran cars.

“I like to see them running .. . if they don’t get used they deteriorate.”

At the rally, friends would drive his 1909 Briton and 1913 Darracq.

Rally organiser Colin Winter said the rally was open to any vehicle made before 1919.

About 40 cars, motorbikes and a truck had registered for the rally.

He was “quite chuffed” with the number of entrants.

The rally was the oldest event of its type in the southern hemisphere and is loosely styled on the British London-to-Brighton run, which started in 1896 and continues as the oldest annual motoring event in the world.

The vehicles would begin to arrive at the Octagon about 10am and start leaving for Brighton at 11am.

The fleet was expected to start arriving at Brighton Domain about noon, where the fleet would complete field tests.

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

“We’re bloody pleased with the rally showing their cars in the Octagon.”