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Traveling the South Island in the lap of luxury

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Traveling the South Island in the lap of luxury

Like most luxury cars, Bentleys and Rolls-Royces are made to be seen – not heard.

About a dozen passed through Dunedin yesterday, quietly and with sophistication, for the 50th anniversary of the New Zealand Rolls-Royce and Bentley Club tour of the South Island, including a 1923 Bentley 3-litre TT which is believed to be the first Bentley to be imported into New Zealand.

Owner Katy Parish, of Gore, said she received the car as part of her inheritance.

“When dad passed away, my two brothers got the farm and us three girls got his cars.”

Mrs Parish said the car was from Dunedin and had two previous owners before her father bought it in 1976.

“He sold a few other cars to buy this one, and I think it was a particularly good harvest that year.”

For those wondering what the difference between a Rolls-Royce and a Bentley is, Mrs Parish explained: “The Bentley is a drivers’ car, whereas the Rolls-Royce is a car to be driven in”.

She said the tour was a great way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the club and the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Bentley in New Zealand.

New Zealand Rolls-Royce and Bentley Club southern region chairman Murray Hawkes said the tour started yesterday in Bluff and aimed to reach Picton later this week.

He said the club started 50 years ago, to encourage owners to get out and drive their cars and visit some of New Zealand’s scenic localities. It also created connections between owners.

“The idea was to provide mutual support. The old cars – keeping them going and getting parts for them – you had to know other owners to do it.”

That camaraderie continues today.

“It just gives you a good excuse to go, in good company, in a nice car, to nice places and meet nice people.”

“That shared interest has lasted 50 years, and hopefully it will carry on.”

During this week’s tour, as many as 50 club members would join them with their cars.

Despite the long distances travelled, he said it was expected to be a comfortable affair, given the vehicles were fitted with all of the opulence and mod-cons that come with the pricing – upwards of $763,000 for a brand new one in New Zealand.

“It’s like riding on a nice leather couch.”

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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