Revved up after 60 years in club

At this time of year, it is rare to see Colin Winter in broad daylight, mingling with other humans.

Usually, the 77-year-old is ensconced in his man cave, spit-polishing his 1900 Wolseley Voiturette in preparation for the Brighton Veteran Car Rally.

But this year, he has decided to pay less attention to the detailing on his 124-year-old car, and more on receiving a major award this weekend, marking his 60 years’ membership of the Vintage Car Club of New Zealand Otago branch.

"I’m quite chuffed that I’ve lasted 60 years.

"The only thing that’s been in the club longer than me is the car.

"It’s been in the club for 70 years.

"Chances are, it will still be a member long after I’ve gone."

Mr Winter said he joined the club at age 17.

His father Mervyn bought the Wolseley in 1946, wanting an older car to drive in Otago’s 1948 centennial celebrations.

After the centenary, the car was destined for obscurity again and might have languished in the garage, until the club’s Otago branch started the Brighton to Dunedin Veteran Car Rally in 1955, giving the car a new purpose.

Colin Winter polishes a lantern from his 1900 Wolseley (nicknamed Grandma), in preparation for...
Colin Winter polishes a lantern from his 1900 Wolseley (nicknamed Grandma), in preparation for the National Veteran Car Rally and the Brighton Veteran Car Rally in Dunedin this weekend. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Mr Winter said it was inevitable he would become a member because after helping his father restore the car, he had been bitten by "the bug".

He inherited the car and had been taking it to the rally since.

"Driving around in the Wolseley brings back great memories of working on it with Dad."

He had also taken on many other restorations over the years, including motorcycles, and had helped other veteran car enthusiasts with their restorations.

"It’s the challenge of it that I enjoy.

"It requires a good sense of humour because it can drive you mad sometimes — mainly because they don’t make the tools you need to fix these vehicles any more.

"So you have to improvise.

"Or if you’re lucky like me, you have a son who’s a toolmaker and can build the tools you need."

His latest project was a 1904 Wolseley that looked more like a "jigsaw puzzle" than a car.

"The problem is, there are 500 pieces missing."

Rally organiser Mark Wilkinson said Mr Winter’s continuous service to the club had been outstanding.

"Fifty years is a big milestone, but 60 years — that’s a fantastic effort.

"He’s had a big impact on the club over the decades.

"He’s helped others with their restorations, he’s organised lots of runs — including the Brighton rally for quite a few years — he’s served on the branch committee.

"He’s got so much mechanical knowledge on veteran cars.

"His experience and commitment have been invaluable."

The Dunedin to Brighton Veteran Rally will take place this Saturday, January 27.