9 months ago

Tour of New Zealand South and North Islands by Mike Heins

Tour of New Zealand South and North Islands by Mike

Tour of New Zealand North and South Islands in 2017 by Mike Heins In early January 2016 I received a telephone call from a member of the Bentley drivers club (Cedric Cooke), who I did not know, asking me if I would be interested in entering my Lagonda 2 litre High Chassis tourer in the Bentley Drivers club 2017 tour of New Zealand’s North and South Islands. The tour was limited to 25 cars and prior to telephoning me 21 Bentley owners, from various part of the world, had entered and paid their deposits. To ensure a full entry Cedric contacted the Lagonda club chairman and asked if he could suggest any Lagonda owners who might like to join the event. My name was put forward hence the telephone call. The tour costs included 42 nights’ accommodation in New Zealand, mostly dinner, bed and breakfast, car shipping/insurance, traffic Insurance, breakdown cover, road tax, warranty of fitness (MOT), customs procedures and selected social events and an allowance for air flights. Cedric Cook had arranged for a New Zealand based tour operator (Tony Haycock), who owns a vintage car, to help organise the event. Tony joined us on the tour and dealt with all the local issues. Each entrant paid a percentage to cover Tony’s costs. The Lagonda was shipped from Southampton on 2nd November 2016 along with 3 other Lagondas and 13 Bentleys (17 cars in total).Prior to shipment the car was checked over mechanically, selected spares packed into the car and it was scrupulously cleaned all over. I had to make absolutely certain there was no mud/soil anywhere under the wings or on the chassis. If there was the car would not be allowed into New Zealand. The cars were packed into containers and securely strapped down. Cedric spent about 30 minutes giving me full details of the tour which included the tour dates (starting on 23 rd January 2017 in Christchurch), an outline of the places to be visited, air flights, car shipping arrangements, insurance issues and the overall cost. He then asked me to let him know, if possible, within 4 weeks if I wanted to go. He was very surprised when I told him there and then I would like to enter. I made up my mind whilst he was giving me details of the event. I told him I would take part in spite of having absolutely no idea who would accompany me. Over the next few days I completed the entry form and sent off my deposit. It took 7 weeks before they arrived in Christchurch. Tony Haycock sorted out the customs clearance, Warranty of fitness and road tax. The cars were then stored in Christchurch until our arrival. Hazel and I left the UK on 16 th January 2017 flying from Manchester to Singapore, via Dubai. We spent 2 days sightseeing in Singapore before flying to Christchurch, via Sydney arriving on 20 th Jan. We spent 3 days based in Christchurch where we met up with relations, and looked around the extensively earthquake damaged city which was a very sad and sobering sight, as is illustrated on next page.

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