It’s the first year Colin Readings will be entering the Auckland Brit and Euro Classic Car Show, except he won’t be turning up with a car.
He’ll be showing his beloved BMW R69US motorcycle – a treasure he’s owned and looked after for the past fourteen years.
Built in 1969, the vintage shaft-drive BMW motorcycle fitted with a boxer twin engine and drum brakes is best known for its reliability.
It’s the perfect bike for long distance and high speed travel, Mr Readings says, despite the “funny kickstart” that “takes a bit of getting used to – and a certain knack for it”.
He purchased the car from his brother, who bought a total of eight BMW motorcycles while in South Africa, but started selling them off after moving to Australia.
His current bike was one of two motorcycles left in his brother’s collection when Mr Readings purchased it, and is now one of four motorbikes he owns.
The recently retired design engineer spent more than two years doing up the engine and making sure the bike was up to scratch when he first purchased it, and now, his only concern is “keeping the dust off” – a job made easier by his decision to keep the bike off the road.
“Initially, I was going to ride it… but I just thought it was too valuable to take out on everyday roads.”
The upcoming Brit and Euro Classic Car show is an obvious exception to the rule, he says, after a friend he used to pit crew for in his racing days encouraged him to take part.
Sponsored by the Howick Local Board, as well as other commercial outlets, the non-competitive public event has 617 registered vehicles, as confirmed by chairman of the organising committee, Rev Dr Richard Waugh.
It’s a significant increase on last year’s numbers, and Rev Dr Waugh said the large number of registrations will “ensure a memorable time”, for car and motorcycle owners, as well as East Auckland locals.
Howick Historical Village will also be hosting a Live Day on March 5, featuring entertainment, Victorian era games and activities for the whole family for a small admission charge.
Mr Readings moved to New Zealand with his family in early 1975, first settling in Upper Hutt, and then moving to Howick, where he has lived since.
He boasts an impressive family history when it comes to motorcycles and car racing, starting back in a small town in the UK where Mr Readings grew up.
In 1907, the world’s first purpose built racetrack – the Brooklands racetrack – was built in Surrey, where Mr Readings’ father worked for famous motorist and world record holder John Cobb.
Mr Cobb set world automobile speed records in the late 1930’s and 1940’s, boasting the fastest lap record at the Brooklands race track and breaking the land speed record multiple times, reaching speeds of nearly 400 miles per hour in his piston-engined car.
“When you consider the design of those [cars] against what the aircrafts were in those days, it was spectacular,” said Mr Readings.
“I was advised at an early age, mess about with cars and that, but don’t go into the business,” he laughs.
“You’ve got to bear in mind in those days the money wasn’t there…but you can understand the impact [my father’s work] had on my upbringing.
“Now, it’s ingrained in my blood.”
The 2017 Brit and Euro Classic Car Show will be held on Sunday 5 March, 10am-3pm at Lloyd Elsmore Park. Entry is free and registrations for vehicles have now closed. For more information visit: www.briteurocarshow.nz.
By: Laura Brookes