Modern parents are afraid to let their children roam,
Not even on the daily trek to school and back to home.
In their own youth some rode a bike while most just used their feet.
Good exercise was earned each day just walking on the street.

But now we see a waiting throng outside each school’s front gate.
Parental cars all ready, hoping their kids won’t be late.
For even after school today the children are not free
They go to netball, scouts or squash, swimming or rugby.

Today the traffic is obscene; the roads are choked and slow.
You need to multiply the time to get from go to whoa.
The bus lanes and the bike lanes are attempts to ease the crush
But only staying home will make much diff’rence to the rush.

Crawling round a roundabout, then stop/start down the straight.
Everybody driven by the fear of being late.
Impatient drivers duck and dive but seldom make a gain
That’s worth the stress and agro that’s involved in changing lanes.

The radio informs us of disasters on the way
Advising us of detours to reduce the new delay.
A breakdown or an accident can cause us all to stop
While sirens sound the message “Let me through for I’m a cop”

First Encounters: John Grant and the 203

The first Peugeot I owned was a 1955 French assembled 203C which I bought at 30,000 miles for about £200 after I had been in NZ for a year. I needed it for everyday use and to tow my MGTC on an A-frame to race -meetings as it had become too highly tuned to drive on the road.
It proved very reliable – just kept going and going. It cruised and stopped very well – even when towing – something you could not say about a lot of its contemporaries. I started trialling it in the winters and my navigator, John Dowling, and I saw most of the back roads in the North Island as we entered Trials organised not only by the MG and Auckland Car Clubs but by others in Northland, Hawkes Bay, Manawatu etc.
We ALWAYS finished.
However we were not often in the top ten as there were just the two of us while serious rally competitors had a team of four – driver, navigator, time keeper and map reader. Keeping on course could be a real problem as the instructions were often designed to mislead. As timing was vital, if you went off course and had to backtrack, it was very difficult to make up the time – often impossible within the speedlimits. In addition there were frequently secret checks – on and off the correct route – which would record the passing and time of all entrants. However we had a lot of fun and as petrol was only about 2/- per gallon in those days it was not even too expensive, particularly as we usually stayed in cabins in camping rounds. We never actually slept in the car, even though that model had seats designed to lay back for that purpose.
After I had owned it for a year, I got Campbell Motors to bring a special inlet manifold out from France. The carburettor had twin chokes, one on either side, and that increased the top speed by 10mph – up to 85mph.
The only mechanical failure it suffered was near Te Puke on the way home after a rally. The universal joint blew apart and as that was in the days well before cellphones, we had to knock on a door and ask to use their telephone to ring the AA. A towtruck came out from Te Puke and towed the car to Maurice Washer Motors while we went back to Auckland by train. Campbell Motors sent down a new universal which they fitted and I flew down to the Mount and then took the bus to Te Puke to pick the 203 up. This had been the same weekend as the DC3 crash in the Kaimais and the airline subsequently became very wary of flying in cloud.
Many of the roads we used were not even gravel. Let alone sealed; real mudplugging. I had thoroughly rustproofed the car but inevitably the stone chips accumulated, so I got Ivan Cranch to repaint it and change the colour from its original grey to a pale blue – just as I have had done to my present 1955 203C which I acquired in 1992. [Its chassis number is about 100 cars later and it has had several changes, eg wider springs].
I sold this first 203 in January 1967 as I was going overseas for a year or two. I took it to the Grey Lynn Testing Station to get the required WoF – and a front spring broke at the centre bolt while they were slamming on the brakes. We pulled the car out of the way and I went into Queen St to Campbell Motors, bought a new spring of the correct size, took it back to the testing station, and as I always had my toolkit on board, was able to fix it on the spot – and get the new WoF. The new owner then drove me and my luggage down to the Arcadia to see me off on February 10th 1967.
A day or two later I met Jeanette on board – but that is another story.
About 15 years later, I was In Wiri on business and saw the car. I went into the office and found it still belonged to the guy I had sold it to. I had increased its mileage from 30,000 to 280,000 miles – without doing any work on the engine. He was living at Swanson and driving to work at Wiri every day so it had been round the clock a couple of times more. All he had done to it was one new tyre, and new spark plugs and points in the distributor. I’d like to see a modern car match that!

A.G.M. 2018

TIME – 4pm on August 19th
PLACE – Armstrong Motor Group – 227 Gt South Rd
COMMITTEE – The current committee members have all indicated their willingness to stand again, but Don & Wynne Howarth have made it clear that this will be the last year for them. Don has been on the committee in one role or another since 1990 and Wynne has been secretary since 1995.
John Grant has been on the committee since 1979 and Jeanette has been doing the newsletter/magazine since 1982, so I really really think it is time we had more new blood on the committee.
You don’t need to be nominated. You can actually volunteer.
Contact Brent or any other committee member if you would like to help.

After the election of officers, the Treasurer’s Report will be presented and the fees set for the coming year. No increase is anticipated. One major item to discuss at the AGM is the fate of the website. Contact Wynne if you want any other item/s added to the Agenda.
The trophies will be presented.

President’s Ramble – July 2018

Most Julys the committee is gearing up for the AGM and I am telling you to be there. This July you have more notice, the AGM will be in August. We are being hosted by Armstrong Motor Group at the Peugeot showroom in Greenlane, Sunday 19 August 2018, 4pm. Please put aside this time and come and attend, we look forward to you joining us there.
On the subject of Peugeots I have been enjoying the latest Peugeot SUV advertisements on television. A lot better than some of the competitors. The grapevine is telling me that the 3008 is selling well from Southern Autos and they are receiving great feedback from their new owners.
I recently had a minor repair and got my warrant for the 505 from Auto France, David informs he is looking for a new workshop, rising rents are not working in his favour. Watch their advert in the magazine to find out where he lands, it may even initially be from his house in Clarks Beach. I can tell you the same is happening for the Department of Conservation who are also shifting from their offices in Carlaw Park to the Bledisloe building, apparently not as well set up, but so much more affordable. The staff aren’t looking forward to the shift, but at least our taxpayer money is going to go further. I guess that should be no surprise to those of us who are Aucklanders and have heard so many stories about the residential market; the commercial market has similar drivers as well.
`I am a little unsure what to think about the regional fuel tax, 10 cents for the region to spend, add GST and the government gets another 1.5 cents. It is no wonder they are willing to pass more Regional Fuels taxes in the future. I will certainly be looking to fuel up whenever I am returning home whilst close, but not too close to Auckland. The already relatively cheap prices in Morrinsville will be looking that much better again! The only question is how do I get all of my vehicles there at once! Don’t get me wrong, I believe something needs doing to fight Auckland’s traffic issues, and for someone who is commuting each day having a viable train and bus service is a must, and dedicated cycleways – if used – which I believe they are increasingly so, are good for the health of the nation, both in that the cyclists are getting good healthy exercise and they are kept away from the hazards and costs of battling traffic. However I am not sure that the government should really get a second bite of the cherry pie, why should there be taxes on taxes? This of course is nothing new, GST has applied to all of the past taxes on fuel, road user charges for diesel vehicles and applied to all of the various levies on cigarettes, fire service levies on your insurances, ACC levies on your vehicle registration and goodness know what other products too.
Granted I haven’t complained particularly about them all in the past, just this time it feels like maybe it is a step too far, at least that is my opinion.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining specifically about the current Labour led government, this is an issue that runs through many decades of Governments from both sides of the political spectrum. I’m just thinking that some of these levies and GST attraction perhaps need some rethinking and made exempt, just like bank fees do.
Anyway that’s enough, enjoy your July, see you at Armstrongs in August.

President’s Ramble – June 2018

A year ago I wrote that “I am hoping that my plea for more articles on your first encounters with a Peugeot has resulted in Jeanette having a few month’s articles in her armoury. If not please send your contributions to our editor – Jeanette – at now. She will still be eagerly awaiting them.” Frankly I have seen few, and would love some of you to add to this series. Please consider the request and add to what has been an enjoyable but disjointed series.

After writing last month’s 5008 review, I then got curious about the Lexus marque and its release. As a result of that I now realise that when I reflected at the end I was reflecting through rose-tinted glasses. Not about either vehicle but about my own age, I wrote “I examined it as much as a teenage boy can from the outside.” Unfortunately for me I have since done the maths, I must have been 20; in my mind I was 17 to 19 years old. Age unfortunately plays havoc with the memory at times!

Last month, again I have been travelling a lot, and spent a week in Paengaroa again. I am glad to say that the cuisine at The Trading Post is till up to standard and beyond. Best Pizza I have ever had – definitely a cut above the rest and the seafood broth also passed all taste buds expectations. Unfortunately it was so good that the tastebuds were still expecting it well after I had finished! Lesley – the waitress there also makes a very good Gin, Lime and Lemonade. If you are spending time in the Bay of Plenty and want a location for dinner and a location change for a night I can definitely recommend driving out to Paengaroa. Make sure you book first, especially over summer, as they are often booked out on weekends.

Whilst staying in Paengaroa I have been subcontracted to another archaeologist, and we have been working on a number of farms on behalf of a variety of clients. All of them have been in the process of what appears to be the current Labour-led government policy of decreasing the bovine population of New Zealand. All have been relatively recent purchases, by three different kiwifruit orchard companies, of dairy farms, and all are looking to significantly earthwork the land flat or into gentle straight slopes to develop Kiwifruit Orchards (all of them Gold rather than Green fruit I believe). Some of these locations are a number of kms inland on steep and high hills. I have found it incredible just how far away from the sea – think tens of kms – that sea views are available – and yet none of these views are available from the roads. From some of these locations, as well as from driving down the local roads, a new appreciation can be gained of just how much of the Bay of Plenty is already covered in kiwifruit orchards. The traditional citrus, avocados and dairy farms appear to be disappearing at an increasing rate as the kiwifruit industry expands. Kiwifruit is often more intensive than dairy will ever be and requires more labour most of the year. I imagine that we will find that employment opportunities, increased need for housing, eateries and support industries will continue to grow and the Bay of Plenty economy will continue to boom in years to come. Assuming that there isn’t a collapse in the industry caused by food fashion changing or some disease.

We have all being suffering recently from the rapid rise in fuel prices. Of interest to me was that I travelled through Morrinsville during my week away in the B.O.P., filled up on both the Monday and Friday. On the Monday the BP and Caltex were 3 cents a litre more expensive than the Gull. Come Friday the Caltex was still 3 cents more expensive than the Gull; the BP however was 16c more than the Gull.

Morrinsville gets a lot of through traffic between Hamilton and the B.O.P., and granted that as the Gull is situated on a lesser used route towards Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula, it is therefore not in the sight of a the majority of travellers and possibly some of the locals as well. I can see why the BP doesn’t need to compete directly with it, but one does have to question how the BP can expect to continue when it is close to opposite the Caltex on the main drag! It often appears to me that BP is a price leader when it comes to raising the prices of fuel. That combined with recent media revelations about them trying to hike prices in the general Horowhenua region recently makes me question how much longer do they expect to last in the New Zealand market? Especially when it appears we will soon see a dominance of Electric Vehicles in the new car market, and presumably the New Zealand vehicle fleet overall.

Thanks for reading my thoughts,

Brent 