Postcard from NZ - Citroënian {P}
Hi all,

Couldn't travel to the other side of the globe and not post a message (keeping the international aspect of HJ's forum alive!)

Couple of things I've noticed about the cars here : Everyone drives Japanese stuff, it all looks the same, and the ones I've driven all drive the same too. I've not really ever been a fan of Japanese cars, but they get the job done surprising well and don't tax you when driving 100s of Kms. OK, they don't handle anywhere near as well, and some of the roads here are begging for our MINI but we quite like them. Might have a look again when we replace the Clio. I think the main problem we have with them at home is the image, not the product.

And....

All the boy racers in New Zealand have a toy that I've not seen at home. Not the side skirts or the underfloor lighting or massive ICE but a little whistle thing. I think it's something to do (or to mimic) a turbo, but it makes a whoosh noise whenever they change gear. Maybe the next big thing at a B&Q carpark near you?!

Lee.
(Freelance HJ NZ correspondent)
Postcard from NZ - Tom Shaw
Glad you didn't rub it in by mentioning the weather, Citroenian.

That pretend turbo device has already hit the UK. A mate in London was telling me about them just before Christmas, took him a while to realise that the local Mk 2 Escort owners were only pretending.

Hope they don't catch on here, scare the hell out of the sheep.
Postcard from NZ - THe Growler
Dammit Shaw you beat me to the draw again. How can anyone talk about NZ without making jokes about helping sheep over fences etc. Indeed a lovely country, like UK might have been if they'd left it alone. If you like Rugby that's the only place to be (except Alwyn's back yard).

Great place for motoring and there are still enough Morris Minors on the road for a TV series. Damn long way to go though and in Auckland on a Sunday morning you could hear a pin drop.


Postcard from NZ - Tom Shaw
Now then Growler, if you didn't spend so much time polishing the Harley you'd get here quicker.
Postcard from NZ - Ian Cook
How I envy you, Lee. A bloke in the camera club showed us a load of slides he'd taken in NZ and I was mightily impressed.

Two questions: have you noted what way the bath water spins going down the plughole, and on what side of the road do the sheep wander?

Ian Cook
Postcard from NZ - THe Growler
I have a very good Kiwi friend (a guy not a sheep) whose name is Larry. No need to guess the ribbing he gets. He also drives a BMW.

If anyone has never been to the Land of the Long White Cloud, consider binning those vacation brochures on Mustique and making the trip. Everything looks and works like home only much better, people are very friendly and have the time to be so. LIfe is much slower, people are more relaxed. Costs are very reasonable for everything and it may well be the last place on earth where motoring is enjoyable. There are cottage style motels everywhere and you don't have to worry about a bed for the night. The scenery is breathtaking and you can get a good game of Rugby of a weekend in any small town.

Be prepared to eat lamb from breakfast on served up in a wide variety of guises. Steinlager is not my personally favorite beer but it will get the job done.

It does take a lifetime to get there, I know.

One of my pals there drives a Cortina Mk 2 c. 196-something.
"Ah, yeah, mate, she's a bit old I'll grant yer, but she gets me to the pub and back"........
Postcard from NZ - Tom Shaw
Sounds just like Wales, Growler.
Postcard from NZ - Monaro
I'm living in NZ at the moment and it is great.
The car market is quite strange here - instead of buying a new car, 2/3 of "new car" buyers buy a used Japanese import of upto 10 years old. The turbo boost sound that is mentioned is very annoying, but I have even seen 20 year old Honda Accord with it. The latest must have here is some extra (or dupicate gauges on the inside of the 'A' pillar, or if you are really with it, on the bonnet, that is if you have decided to acually fit your bonnet which doesn't always happen. Cars of choice here for the boys racers are Imprezas, and various Evos, esp Lancer Estates made up to look like evos. If you have a new car you are rich, if you have a small car you will get jokes everytime you fill up, and a early 90s japanese saloon (Intergra, Primera) is what most people have. And with no emissions testing in the MOT equivalent the cars stay on the road longer. The cars that Kiwis aspire to are - the Toyota Hilux Surf (a 4runner) from about '97 and Legacy Estates full stop, they love them. And Peugeots, Citroens and anything else European are considered prestige!

Paul C
Postcard from NZ - Citroënian {P}
Hi all again,

Paul, I saw a Nissan 300ZX with enough extra dials on it to confuse an airline pilot, impressive looking but a bit OTT...Thanks for explaining the Japanese import thing, makes sense now. Can you explain what the "LSZ" signs are when you enter some towns - can't for the life of me work them out.

Ian, I'll check on the water for you, I've seen more beer than water and I'm not going to try the plughole thing with that :-) As for the sheep, they all seem to hide behind fences. I'm not getting into the wooly jokes until I'm heading safely home again.

Growler, you obviously know a lot about NZ, I think you sum it up quite well - there's loads of classic BMC stuff around, lots of Triumph 2000/2500, Austin 1100, Minors, Morris Oxfords, even Princesses still trundling around. Saw an Allegro in brown today with a beige vinyl roof, surely the height of sophistication if you can't get a 4Runner....As for breakfast, it's eggs, eggs, eggs, eggs. Not that I'm complaining!

Better leg it before SWMBO collars me here when I should be emailling the relatives.

Lee.

Postcard from NZ - Citroënian {P}
And Tom,

the weather here isn't too bad although it was raining pretty steadily on the west coast near the Fox & Franz Josef glaciers...er which makes the roads a bit more slippy (motoring link)

Incidentially, not seen a motorway here that looked anything more than the Ilkley bypass, and that was Aucklands main through-route.

Makes for beautiful driving country with single roads everywhere at 100km/h

Lee.
Postcard from NZ - THe Growler
LSZ roadsigns in the Land of The Wrong White Crowd (as a Japanese colleague of mine puts it) mean you can resume the national maximum of 100km/hr once out of the speed restriction zone, i.e. populated area, although I am not sure what the letters themselves mean.

After a serious night on the amber ambrosia I agree I have some difficulty when confronted with two lamb chops with an egg atop each and mashed potatoes served by a cheey busty waitress who looks like she once played for the All Blacks! And that's just breakfast.

Ah that immortal epitome of the British car industry when it was by unions instead of managers, the brown Allegro! The wondrous quartic wheel remains indelibly in my memory. My brother used to say it always reminded him to flush the toilet after use. I had another pal who owned one. He suffered a flat on the A283, jacked up the nearside rear, and the rear window popped out!

Have fun down there, a great country.


Postcard from NZ - Monaro
Having just taken my NZ test I can say that LSZ is a limited speed zone. ie if conditions are bad (rain etc) or if it is around school opening or shutting or if the road isn't in a perfect driving condition you slow down to 50kph (31mph) but otherwise just keep at 100kph (62mph). Works quite well. The number of old British cars here is amazing - and they are all in mint condition, even the Allegros!


Paul C
Postcard from NZ - CMark {P}
Apparently [1], the NZ government removed the import duty on s/h cars from Japan a few years ago. This wiped out, overnight, the homegrown new car assembly industry. They are now involved in reconditioning these s/h cars as they arrive and s/h vehicles sold by manufacturers' outlets have similar warranties to new cars.

The main rules regarding imports from Japan are: less than 6 years old, certified accident free and dual airbag.

Also keep a look out for any Legacy estates badged GT-B. These are 2-litre twin turbo producing 240 to 280 bhp in standard form and NZ is one of the very few places you can buy them officially. (Japan and Hong Kong are the others). Quite why they are not available in UK has puzzled me for some time.

CMark
[1] according to a mate of my brother I met in Tokyo who is a s/h car auction buyer specialising in the NZ market.
Postcard from NZ - THe Growler
Where's anyone going to be able to use 280 bhp in HOng Kong. Definitely not on Gloucester Road on a Saturday afternoon! Pose value I suppose.
Postcard from NZ - bafta
Growler, don't they race them round in the early hours like they do in Tokyo?
Postcard from NZ - THe Growler
Yes, Baf, forgot that, up in the New Territories. I was thinking of the Island, and then of course big hairy hot Japs (cars) would have good pose value up Lan Kwai Fong on a Saturday night.
(OT, sori po)
Postcard from NZ - Monaro
I heard something along those lines too, but I think that it has been very recent as there are plenty of cars about that are old but have only been registered recently in the country. The tax disc equivalent states when the car was first registered and when it was first registered here if different. There are alot of tricked standard Japanese cars about. I have just heard about 2 Legacys coming from Japan which are a limited edition of 150(ish) (NZ is the only country apart from Japan to get them) and one has gone straight to the NZ Rally driver Possum Bourne and the other is a promo car. Can't remember the model name though. There seem to be alot of older but mint condition Landcruisers imported from South Africa out here too.
One other thing is that Jonah Lomu is very famous for his love of modifying cars and his garage includes a 1000bhp Skyline, or so I have read. And I think a very heavily modified Camaro from the 60s, but I could be wrong about these.




Paul C
Postcard from NZ - Monaro
That was meant to go on the end of CMark's message.

 

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