Warbirds Over Wanaka - Driving in their prime!

09 January 18

They got their love of classic cars from their late husbands, now a couple of American women aged in their 70s are planning on driving the length of New Zealand as part of the Packard car rally which will end at next Easter’s Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow.

Seventy-five year old Carol Bray and 71-year-old Tlanda McDonald from Michigan are members of the Classic Car Club of America and the Packard Car Club. The car they are bringing to New Zealand for the Warbirds rally is a Railton 8 Drop Head Coupe which was built in the United Kingdom in 1934.

Carol admits she wasn’t really into cars until she met her husband Phil but it wasn’t long before she had become a fan and that passion hasn’t waned since.

Now both widowed, Carol and Tlanda have continued to take part in classic car rallies both in the United States and overseas. 

“We are really looking forward to our first visit to New Zealand.  We’ve heard so much about the country, how beautiful it is and how friendly the people are. There’s also a nice association between classic cars and classic aircraft so finishing up at Warbirds Over Wanaka seems a great fit,” says Carol.

The Railton car they are bringing to New Zealand has an interesting history.  When it was built it was one of two Railton factory cars to be entered in the famous European Alpine Trials of 1934. The event included climbing over the 5757m Stelvio Pass in northern Italy.

The 1934 Railton was a fast sports car in its time able to go from 0-50mph in 7.6 seconds and reach a top speed of more than 100mph.

Carol and Tlanda won’t be the oldest participants in the rally. That honour goes to Auckland man Bryan Boucher.

Bryan was born in 1929, the same year his Packard Roadster Straight 8 was built. The 88-year-old is a long-time member of the South Pacific Packard Car Club and is looking forward to being at Wanaka next Easter.

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