About 65 members of the NZ Alvis Club, including Marlburian Ashley McKenzie, pictured, will treat the region to a rally of the iconic vehicle. Photo: Matt Brown.

Alvis rally comes to town

A rally to celebrate the 100th birthday of a popular vintage car will take to the roads this weekend.

One century on from the first commercial Alvis running off the production line in Coventry, England, about 30 of the 1920-styled vehicles will be touring through the region.

Alvis aficionado Ashley McKenzie has helped organise the rally and hopes the public will turn out to admire the vintage vehicles.

“I want to show the passion and dedication that people put into their vehicles,” Ashley says.

About 65 members of the NZ Alvis Club, from Kaitaia to Invercargill, will enjoy local roads and tourist venues, including a mailboat cruise through the Marlborough Sounds.

Ashley says Covid nearly put paid to the rally, and about five participants from overseas had to pull out.

“What overseas entrants that were here have left the country.”

But New Zealand’s Alvis showing is strong, with the oldest vehicle from 1925 to one of the last 1967 models expected to be on display.

Ashley’s 1952 Alvis TA21 needs strong arms as power steering is uncommon on early British cars.

Its 3-litre 6-cylinder 100bhp engine posts a top speed of about 95 miles per hour – about 150kmph.

“It’s a very drivable car,” Ashley says, although there’s a bit of a knack to getting in the front suicide doors.

“You sort of do a half circle and get in,” he says.

Ashley came by the car by chance in the 70s.

“I went to the wreckers on Main St on a Friday. The wrecker said, this is the car you should have.

“I took it away for $50.

“I hate to think what it’s cost me since.”

The 3-litre 6-cylinder 100bhp engine.
The 3-litre 6-cylinder 100bhp engine.

The Alvis Car and Engineering Company produced racing cars, aircraft engines, armoured cars and other armoured fighting vehicles.

Ashley says cars were secondary to the company, behind their military contracts.

“The majority of them [cars] were bought for their performance; even in the 20’s they were way above the market in terms of performance.”

Alvis were ahead of their time in many ways, pioneering front-wheel-drive vehicles, independent front suspension, servo-assisted brakes and the world’s first all-synchromesh gearbox.

Ashley says there are a lot of Alvis vehicles in New Zealand, despite the factory only producing 23,000 vehicles in its lifetime.

“New Zealand was their largest market outside the UK – their biggest sales area,” he says.

“There was a strong dealer network here.”

The vehicles are still being found in barns and garages around the country.

Ashley says one recently sold in Nelson that had just one owner since the 1950s.

“They’re generally pretty well priced.

“There’s one online now for around $18,000 – you wouldn’t find a more quality car.

“They’re sought after.”

Keep your eyes peeled for a convoy of the 1930’s styled vehicle this weekend, and for a closer look head to Patchett’s

Green, just behind the Vintage Car Club rooms at Brayshaw Green, on Sunday from 9am to 1pm.

Heagney Bros chief executive Mickayla Kerr with their new Scania logging truck. Photo: Matt Brown.

Trucking toward the future

Six-hundred and twenty horsepower, automatic deflating tyres and a computer that scores the driver on their skills – Heagney’s newest logging truck, Truck #35, has everything but the kitchen sink.

Purpose-built for logging to exacting specifications designed by Heagney Bros owners Peter and Patrick Heagney, the trucking stalwarts embraced the opportunity to include the latest safety and environmental features in the Scania Euro V.

Heagney Bros chief executive Mickayla Kerr says the latest noise reduction technology in the heavy vehicle is a welcome feature – especially when travelling through built up areas.

The 620 horsepower, 16-litre V8 boasts an impressive 3,000 newton meters of torque. 
The 620 horsepower, 16-litre V8 boasts an impressive 3,000 newton meters of torque.

“Our drivers are out as early at 3.30am in the morning collecting their first load of the day and with more and more forests being located near or having to travel past residential areas this feature reduces the distinctive noise and rattle of logging trucks,” she says.

“Scania is known for a quiet ride and has a retarder rather than an engine brake making its braking system quiet in built up areas.

“This combined with the lay over bolster system removes the distinctive rattle of the pins as logging trucks drive by.”

Fitted with an 8-speed automatic gear box, the 620 horsepower, 16-litre V8, 54 tonne Scania boasts an impressive 3,000 newton meters of torque.

The EBS braking system and the onboard computer, which measures the trucks weight, adapts to ensure braking is efficient, safe and reliable.

Winches constantly tighten the chains while driving, ensuring that even when a load settles that chains do not come loose while the tyre inflation monitors keeps all the tyres at the correct pressure, reducing tyre wear.
Winches constantly tighten the chains while driving, ensuring that even when a load settles that chains do not come loose while the tyre inflation monitors keeps all the tyres at the correct pressure, reducing tyre wear.

Patchell Group sales manager Glenn Heybourn weighed in on the design of the purpose-built Patchell logging frame and trailer.

“The design length of the trailer was created specifically with safety in mind to enable 6.1 meter logs to be double bunked rather than a single stacked,” Glenn says.

“This reduces the centre of gravity of the load making it safer giving it one of the safest SRT (Static Roll threshold) on the road today.”

Mickayla says the truck has all the tricks, like air operated winches, early bearing failure detectors and central tyre inflation monitors.

The winches constantly tighten the chains while driving, ensuring that even when a load settles that chains do not come loose while the tyre inflation monitors keeps all the tyres at the correct pressure, reducing tyre wear.

It also provides warning if there is a flat tyre and enables the driver to reduce tyre pressure to increase the surface area of the tyre when the conditions require extra traction.

Rob Graham, a member of the Heagney Bros team for more than 15 years has been selected as the driver of the new truck.

The truck was purpose-built for logging to exacting specifications designed by Heagney Bros owners Peter and Patrick Heagney.
The truck was purpose-built for logging to exacting specifications designed by Heagney Bros owners Peter and Patrick Heagney.

Truck #35 will evaluate Rob’s driving, using a Communicator 300.

The reporting tool provides weekly and monthly reporting scoring the drivers performance on fuel, efficiency, and emissions.

But the truck is also built for comfort.

Rob enjoys leather seats, all the safety features and even a fridge to keep the sammys cold.

Redesigned windows, more mirrors and a forward driving position gives him unparalleled vision – especially useful when navigating tricky skid sites.

“It’s a great example of a local business leading innovation and safety,” Mickayla says.