Snells Beach engineer Roger Grant was looking for something a bit different to celebrate his 70th birthday and decided to drive a clapped-out old motor all the way to Bluff.
Roger will be joined by friends Michael Campbell, from Omaha, and John Fletcher, from Matamata, for the 2019 Bangers to Bluff charity car rally. Michael is also participating to mark turning 70.
The Bangers to Bluff event is organised by the Half Moon Bay Rotary Club and raises money for Multiple Sclerosis NZ and Hopeworks Foundation, which assists people with brain injuries.
To enter, the trio had to supply their own banger and managed to secure a once rather snazzy-looking 1985 Holden Royale for $300. The car had been destined for the wreckers.
The previous owner could not get it going, so the men set to work replacing plugs and filters, fixing the wheel bearings and having a shock absorber installed.
After spending $700, they were able to make the car roadworthy. The men are calling their team “VK Royale-T”.
There is a trophy for the car judged to have the “most character” and Roger thinks the Royale’s distinctive ‘white and rust’ colour scheme might put it in with a chance to win.
He says he’s looking forward to the 12-day trip though admits he is not absolutely certain the car will make it.
“We are going to have to nurse it. It’s an old car,” he says.
Once the rally is over, the car will be sold to bolster VK Royale-T’s fundraising effort.
Roger says they already have a buyer lined up who is willing to pay $4500 for it, assuming the car does not deteriorate much during the long journey south.
Apart from that, VK Royale-T are hoping Mahurangi businesses will sponsor them to raise a further $1500 to $2000.
Anyone can sponsor at givealittle.co.nz and searching under Bangers to Bluff 2019.
Cars depart Bucklands Beach on April 2 and should arrive in Bluff on April 13, chiefly using less travelled routes.
Last year, the event raised $40,000.
To help with sponsorship, phone Roger on 0274 777 564.