President’s Ramble – April 2021

Hello all,

This Ramble is brought to you with a big disclaimer – I am busy, too busy, overworked, therefore the ramble is going to be brief.

The committee have decided to confirm our intention to have a presence at the May 30 edition of Caffeine and Classics. It is held at Smales Farm on Auckland’s North Shore from 9am on the last Sunday of every month. WE – the Club – will assemble at 8.30am at Karaka Street in Takapuna and then proceed in convoy.  Anyone without a “classic” Peugeot is more than welcome to join us there, park and get a lift to the event – it is walking distance from the parking location- or alternatively if you have a classic and it’s not a Peugeot come and join us anyway.

The event is referred to as a ‘brunch’ event, I haven’t been for a good five years or so, so I don’t know what brunch options are available, but I do know that there are options for coffee so I will probably stick to that.  Once settled I intend to spend some time sticking round my car, other times I will be wandering.

We also have decided to again have a club team attend the Trivia Evening at the Horse and Trap in Eden Terrace on the 8th of June – John Cooney – whose number is in the contacts of the magazine will be organising – we have a team we call “Little Joe” – code for Peugeot – Peu being the French word for little and the “geot” sounds a bit like “Joe”.  Come join us, it starts at at 7pm, I and others will arrive around 6ish to have dinner first which is always good quality.  Let John know numbers at least two weeks ahead of time as bookings and numbers are essential – it is that popular people get turned away.

And that is it from me this time, just taking care of business.     Brent

President’s Ramble – March 2021

Ten years ago I began the Ramble with “Frankly anything I write, say, think or do is meaningless when I think about Christchurch.  My heartfelt sympathy goes out to all that have been impacted upon and especially to our members who have got personal connections to the area.”

Last December I visited Christchurch for the first time since the quake (though I had previously made it to Rangiora, Kaiapoi and the airport in the intervening years, I hadn’t made that extra step into the city itself), it was an eye opener to say the least, whilst the regeneration in places is obvious so is the lack of progress in others.  In some locations entire city blocks are still empty, and this isn’t including the vast areas in the red zone that were once thriving suburbs and is now parkland.  I observed a number of older buildings (often but not exclusively stone/concrete churches) still cordoned off scattered around the suburbs, their fate of restoration or demolition still not decided.  But amongst these signs of destruction and decay there was also the opposite.  Christchurch has a number of small and not so small memorials which show both the character of the cities occupants to grieve but move on.  My favourite was the chair decorated with smashed china that can be found in Hagley Park, they had made a thing of beauty out of the destruction.  Another of what I consider novel ideas is a mini-golf course that has all of its holes commemorating the past of Christchurch, most but not all have artefacts from buildings and structures that were destroyed in the quake.  The only thing wrong with the course is that when Jessica and I played I was winning almost to the end, then she shot the last four holes with low scores and grabbed victory from me. Still to decide whether to be bitter or be brave and demand a rematch with the risk of defeat again!

Personally I haven’t felt an earthquake during my just over 5 decades on earth. The closest I suspect I have experienced to it is being in a pole-house two stories above the ground in Matata in the Bay of Plenty, it swayed significantly every time a freight train passed on the logging run between Kawerau and the port in Tauranga.  After last week’s earthquakes and tsunami threats, which thankfully didn’t materialise, I overheard a 92 year old that I know being asked if he felt the quake.  This 92 year old is very quick of mind (and frankly pretty good physically as well) and retorted immediately

How would I know, I wobble and sway so much these days!”

 Our latest Covid Level 3 lockdown has resulted in a delay to the Brit and Euro, and thankfully occurred after the Gymkhana (see the report elsewhere) so it would appear we haven’t lost any events as somewhat miraculously the Brit and Euro show has been postponed to 11 April.  So put this in your diary, come along and support our club as well as have a look at the fantastic display put on by many others.  If you couldn’t display on the original date but think you can now, have a word to Don Howarth on 883 2123 or 021 0266 1953, we might be able to fit you in.

Another event we intend to go to as a club is the Caffeine and Classics show which is held on the last Sunday of each month. at Smales Farm. It is too much I think to do this every month as a club – and the committee want to give you some notice – so here it is.  Unfortunately not all will be able to display their cars and it has grown so much now that there is no spectator parking– but you can park on nearby streets and have a good wander – the criteria the organisers have is

Vehicles at least 30 years old are welcome, and newer vehicles that are scratch-built, obscure or exotic are really what we are looking for.”

  So if you have a car older than 30 years and want to go to a free event, possibly buy a coffee please start planning now to join us there.  At our next meeting the committee will decide where to meet beforehand and we could drive in convoy style so we can be set up together.

If you are interested email me or call me, my details are in the magazine.  It starts 9am but the first typically arrive a bit before that. We could meet at 8.30am to organize the convoy.



PS The 26th Annual General Meeting of the Federation of Motoring Clubs will be held at 10:30 AM on Sunday 16 May 2021 at the NZ Vintage Machinery Clubrooms, Keating Park, 723 McLeans Island Rd, McLeans Island, Canterbury. If anyone will be in the area and would like to attend, Jeanette has more details.

President’s Ramble – February 2021

Welcome back to another year of uncertainty. Recent Covid break outs leaving us all wondering will we be going into another Lockdown, will it be regional, will it be nationwide, what level will it be at?

This makes events – whether related to this car club or just a relatively simple birthday party with a slightly extended family, difficult to plan – always that element of uncertainty hanging over you.

But in the meantime I can only be grateful for living in this country where life goes on with an element of normality, maybe even extranormality. The crowded scenes of Auckland at midnight with people (not cars) all over the road in central Auckland looked like the biggest, tightest crowd I have ever seen.  More packed than the crowds at the Santa Parade, Americas Cup and Rugby World Cup Victory Parades.  What did the rest of the world think?

Over Summer, my family went away for a brief break at Whananaki, famous for a couple of reasons but mostly a relatively quiet holiday destination; doesn’t get the numbers like some others.

There I enjoyed walking a lot, and walked the footbridge, the township’s main claim to fame It is 395m long and the longest footbridge in the Southern Hemisphere.  It was initially built to enable children living in Whananaki South to attend the school on the northern side without the teacher having to row them across twice a day, which was part of their duties!  The alternative is some 6km of roading. Perhaps you too may want to explore the estuary, the bridge and the local beaches, it is a truly beautiful part of the world.  You might even get a glimpse of Winston Peters who comes from that part of the world and was one of the children crossing the bridge for school many decades ago.

In the meantime, the events that are organised and hopefully not going to be shut down by the pandemic are the Gymkhana with Citroen in Papakura on the 21st of this month.  To be run a little differently this year, starting at 11am with a break in the middle for a picnic lunch. Come and socialise whilst we can!

And then in March Don Howarth is organising club members to display at the Brit – Euro car show – a free community event to be held on the 7th of March this year at Lloyd Elsmore Park in Pakuranga. Contact Don Howarth if you want to display – ph 021 0266 1953 or


President’s Ramble – December 2020

I feel like I had a lot to say, and am in a real rambling of the mind mode…..however the editor has informed she has little space for me, so I am going to write to the point – the main point being we have a number of events early next year – think Gymkhana and Brit Euro, would be great to see you at both – details elsewhere in the magazine.

During my work I had to head into the library at Manukau. I had to look at an historic map, which in the case of Manukau and I suspect other libraries too, means that a number of maps are kept together and you have to go through the lot of them to find the one you want – or get lucky and find it is on top all ready.  As part of that research I came across a map. It had a number of advertisers on it and I found a panelbeater advertising a somewhat “modified 403”.  I dare say that a modern insurance company would just write it off; it wouldn’t make it to the panelbeaters.

Other than wanting to write little so that there is space for the photo of the 403 it is only appropriate to finish with Season Greetings from me, and also them, the committee. We have had a bit of a difficult year and I personally will be glad to see the end of it and am equally grateful that, with an occasional hiccup, our government (including the opposition as well as the coalition partners past and present) and our government agencies, have generally managed to keep our population safe and healthy.  Let’s hope some of these promising vaccines come into fruition and we can get our commerce back on track too, especially for those sectors that have been hit hard. Merry Xmas.






President’s Ramble – November 2020

As tempted as I am, I have decided not to write about the recent away weekend in Taranaki – almost – but it will get a mention later. In the meantime I know Don Howarth has written his version of the event and hopefully Robert Morgan has too  – who I delegated the duty to do so while we were away.  Hopefully you will also have just seen me at our prizegiving and afternoon tea and you are planning to see us at the Navigation Trial that Don Hadfield has set out for us this month in our challenge with and against Citroen.

We have a new member, Mark Heimgartner, who has a RCZ-R, a very exciting automobile. Welcome to the club, hope to see you at an event soon – perhaps the Navigation Trial?

We have also lost Nick Watson. This is where I have a say on the weekend away.  Unlike many who travelled for three nights in New Plymouth, I had two, with a night in Turangi on both sides of the weekend. After leaving Hillsborough (in Taranaki – not the Auckland suburb!) at the end of the rally I proceeded to Stratford for a bite to eat and a stroll along the main street, with Mum and Dad and took the Forgotten Highway to Taumarunui. (As it turned ou,t so did Greg who was heading for Taupo in his bright yellow 404 utility).  At Taumarunui I tracked down Nick and Shona and knocked on their door, got us invited in for a coffee and I got to drive the 403 around the extended block.  When I say tracked them down it did involve a bit of detective work:– the telephone was his old work number so it didn’t connect. I tried to connect through Facebook messenger; he didn’t have it turned on, so it came down to memory.  When we had the last interclub with Wellington, Nick had us gallivanting around town answering various questions during which I noticed the unusual architecture of the Catholic Church and commented on it to him, at which point he revealed that they lived close to it.  Based on that year-old memory I drove the streets in the vicinity and must have taken the longest route to find them being on the final leg of the figure 8 when we spotted a house with a 406 parked on the road outside – the first glimpse of success, quickly followed by the sighting of a 403 parked up the driveway. Cracked it!

Knock on the door and am welcomed in.  Nick and Shona had literally just got married at the beginning of the weekend (strangely enough in New Plymouth) and I suspect that Tom, Diane and myself were their first uninvited visitors.  We took the opportunity to have a natter, drink their coffee and carry on to Turangi refreshed.  Whilst there I wished them well with their marriage and life ahead together and then on behalf of the club thanked Nick for his services to the club. In particular when he lived in Auckland he was on the committee (and appeared to be a big fan of 205 GTis). We lost him when he shifted to the South Island, but got him back when he came back to the North (with a fleet of older Peugeots – not a 205 to be seen).  He hosted us and the Wellington Peugeot Club for our biennial competitions/get togethers, arranged dinners at the local RSA (always a highlight) and BBQs at the vintage car club, lunches at remote schools, had us staying at the old Ohura Prison and driving on two way roads that are so thin that grass grows in the middle where no tyres could reach!  His Navigation Trials were always challenging but rewarding and the gymkhana events great too. On our last trip there he introduced us to Shona and she was introduced to us. For those of us that have experienced his weekends away on roads less travelled he will be missed, let’s hope we get him back from Australia in a few years’ time again!

And finally a little food report. Nick and Shona sent us away with some of their wedding biscuits. One of Shona’s friends had arranged for a number of commercially made gingerbread biscuits which were individually iced.  They came in a variety of sizes including a rear view of the 403 with cans rattling off the bumper, another of his 404 ute and a third design which captured the 403 front and side on.  They were delicious.