The clock wound back about 50 years for Queenstown business man Warwick Stalker when he turned 70 this month.
Stalker’s three children gave their dad the shock of his life by presenting him with a model of his original, much-cherished first ever car - a 1947 Ford Prefect.
Stalker recalls the night of his birthday two weeks ago: “I was at my house, the kids came round before we went out to dinner and they said, ‘dad, you better come outside, something’s coming down the driveway’.
“I thought there must be some person I didn’t know arrriving.
“I looked and there was just this bloody Ford Prefect coming down the driveway.”
The feeling was unbelievable, Stalker says: “I was just blown away that the kids would think to do that for me.”
His children, who’d heard their dad rave about his first car, had found the same model in Auckland.
Stalker got into the vehicle, and says that though it was never easy to drive, and despite some 50 years having elapsed, “I didn’t take long to figure it out”.
“I had to learn to drive it again because it doesn’t have a synchronised gearbox and it hasn’t got power steering, which makes it pretty hard on your arms.”
He recalls forking out 100 pounds, at the age of 17, for his Ford Prefect – manufactured in Britain a year before he was born.
At the time he was an apprentice electrician in Dunedin.
“I absolutely adored it – your first car is always a special car.
“An old lady had owned it, it had done such low mileage – she used to drive it to church.”
Stalker says he has fabulous memories of owning and driving it.
“I used to drive my father mad by taking the head off it and leaving bits of it all around the garage before putting it back together again.”
He passed the car onto his brother when he was about 20 – “it’s probably wrecked by now”.
Stalker says his ‘new’ Ford Prefect is in good nick.
“It drives very well and I’m very happy with it indeed.
“Most of the Asians coming down my street take a photo of it.”