Express Wheels – 1907 Darracq Service Car


Name: Southland Vintage Car Club

From: Otatara, Invercargill

When and why did acquire it? Acquired in 1959 from Lumsden.

What is the vehicle’s history? It is one of Southland’s earliest service vehicles which ran from Invercargill to Lumsden under Stone Motors. It became one of the original vehicles to travel from Lumsden to Te Anau/Manapouri from Crosbies Bros Hotel, Lumsden.

Has it been altered it in any way? No, but it has been restored close to its original condition and returned to the “road” after its restoration by club members in April 1992. The “bones” of the Darracq were collected from behind the old Crosbies Hotel at Lumsden by club members. The motor, gearbox, levers, chassis, front axle and hubcaps are all original. Other parts were manufactured off the original parts. The Darracq was restored by various club members, and assisted by donations from some Invercargill businesses. It was registered for the road about 1993 and had done about 25,000 to 30,000 miles since then.

What’s it like to drive? A lot of patience is needed and keeps the driver alert as they have to make decisions before any corner approaches.

Where’s your favourite road trip? The Darracq is used by club members at club events, both locally and out of town. Many club members have enjoyed many trips in the Darracq, including driving it to the North Island for the 100 years of Motoring Celebrations.

Top speed? 45mph

What other vehicles of note does the club own? 1923 Chalmers Fire Engine on display at the Mataura Fire Brigade.

Describe the driving style needed for the Darracq: Patience.

What was the first vehicle the club bought? 1923 Chalmers Fire Engine.

Engine: 5000cc, twin ignition, four cylinder

Transmission: Manual, three-speed and reverse

Colour: Green

Photo: Jenet Gellatly

Southland Vintage Car Club open day and garage sale, 46 Ariki Ave, Otatara, Sunday, March 28, 10am-4pm. Displays of veteran (up to December 1928), vintage (January 1919 to December 1931), post vintage (January 1932 to December 1945), post war (January 1946 to December 1960), Post 60 (January 1960 to December 1980), post 80 (January 1981 up to any vehicle 30 years or older — 1991) vehicles.
Coffee and food trucks, chocolate wheel and rides in the Darracq will be available.