Organisers’ final outing

David and Christine Mehrtens prepare for the start of their last Autumn Colours Outing and...
David and Christine Mehrtens prepare for the start of their last Autumn Colours Outing and Mainland Classic Tour on Saturday. PHOTOS: GERARD O’BRIEN
A baby blue Triumph GT6, a scarlet Lotus Elite, and a neon green Chevy Camaro provided only a sample of the polychromatic parade of cars leaving Dunedin on Saturday.

Along with a maroon Jaguar, a yellow BMW, and several red Ferraris of various hues, a platoon of colourful classics departed Olveston Historic Home on a foggy autumn morning.

About 9am, 45 automobiles turned right at the end of Cobden St, before heading north along Queens Dr at the start of a 312km journey to Arrowtown.

It was the first leg of the 18th and final Autumn Colours Outing, organised by David and Christine Mehrtens.

Participants assemble for a briefing at Olveston on Saturday morning.
Participants assemble for a briefing at Olveston on Saturday morning.
The Dunedin couple had organised 33 previous rallies since 1992, including all 18 Autumn Colours Outings, Mr Mehrtens said.

But they had decided to focus more on family, and driving, than organising now.

Mr Mehrtens said he originally planned to organise 10 rallies, but got press-ganged into the rest.

"There are a lot of nice toys here," he said on Saturday.

"I do like it."

Dunedin city councillor Lee Vandervis flags away Brian Stewart in his Ford GT40 replica.
Dunedin city councillor Lee Vandervis flags away Brian Stewart in his Ford GT40 replica.
Mrs Mehrtens said meeting so many lovely people along the road had been a highlight.

This year’s Autumn Colours Outing was pitched as a relaxing drive through Central Otago to take advantage of the "beautiful Otago colours" of autumn.

The two-day drive would dovetail this year with the Penrite Mainland Classic Tour that runs from Wanaka on Monday out to Milford Sound and back, through to April 17, when it returns to Dunedin. Many on the Autumn Colours Outing planned to take part in both events.

John and Wendy Gray, of Blenheim, head off with the top down in their Jaguar XK8.
John and Wendy Gray, of Blenheim, head off with the top down in their Jaguar XK8.
This year’s autumn outing was flagged off by Dunedin city councillor Lee Vandervis who called the rally a "fun, fossil-fuelled, festival with flair".

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