College – Issue 34

Joe Studholme Memorial and Vintage Car Day

This year, on our 16th annual day out in the car, we enjoyed beautiful weather, great support and wonderful hospitality. By the time we got to Holmeslee we had gathered up 25 cars and 60 people. The first stop on our journey was the McLachlan Collection at Leeston. It was a great hit, especially when Simon Nutt (7079) took over from John McLachlan who was giving us a demonstration on how to start a Field- Marshall tractor. Apparently, Simon’s father had three of them on their farm at McQueens Valley so he grew up with them and hadn’t forgotten the starting process, which involved a cartridge, a burning taper and a big hammer! There were several Cadillacs, particular favourites of John’s father, which spanned the period from 1907– 1955, including two huge 1929 sedans still original, unlike many others of this model which were imported from the USA in the 1930s and turned into buses for Newmans and others. There were three veteran Caddies including an early single cylinder, which John started up, and a 1918 V8 which John’s father restored after being given it as a basket case by Ian Giltrap. They were all in very good order. There were GMC ex WWII army trucks, including an original 6x6 with the army body, and others modified for handling bulk grain on the farm. The collection also included old tractors, the first one on the farm from the 1920s and never sold, and an Australian Sunshine Harvester, which John said was not well suited to the much longer straw here compared with Australia. Other vehicles and machinery, also much used but never sold completed this fascinating collection. The ex-Matthew Wills Mahan Marine plywood jet boat which was the first sold by Hamilton’s in the 1950s was also in the collection. It still looked useable despite the story that Matthew lost steering one day and drove the boat up onto a shingle bank crashing into a parked car in which there was a courting couple sans much clothing!

Holmeslee, on the south bank of the Rakaia River, was a contrast, and we were warmly welcomed by Anne Seay, offering a glass of wine or juice as we arrived while Tim greeted everyone and admired the cars. We set up our picnics on their beautiful shaded tennis lawn and enjoyed the very relaxed atmosphere. Tim (6570) and Anne spoke about the property they bought in 1997 along with 60 acres. The interior of their grand home had not been touched for 50 years and required replumbing, rewiring and restoration in order for it to be made livable. The garden could be explored by small pathways, which also led to a very old wooden slab potting shed and a large barn and stables. Rhododendrons are a feature of the garden and are a magnificent spectacle in spring. The whole property was immaculate, with all credit due to the Seays who have very little on site help. Cars this year included a ’37 Packard convertible, two lovely Jaguar XK150s. Other Jags included an E type, three Mark IIs, an S type, an XJ6, two XK8s. Also, two Bentleys, a Rolls-Royce 20/25, TVR Griffith, Datsun 240Z, Alfa 2600 Spider, Morgan V6, Mercedes SL, Ford Fairlane, an early Range Rover, an MX5 and, of course, the Top Hat Austin Seven all added to the variety. Long standing regulars, particularly the McFarlanes, Careys, Rivers and Hopes, were once again enjoying themselves and it was good to see younger members (some only slightly!) coming along for their second or third year, driving some younger classics. The hard luck prize should go to George Wallis (5809) of Wanaka who had his little Austin Seven loaded on a trailer all ready to come north. Unfortunately, he had to cancel the trip at the last minute. Our thanks to our generous hosts, and to all who attended this very enjoyable day. We hope to see more of you next year.

Martin Vincent (7240)

Christ’s College Canterbury


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