Cobras strike for health


Three AC Cobra replica racing cars are speeding south to raise aware­ness about men’s health issues.

The blue and white beauties were all manufactured at Rex Garland’s AC Cobra replica business in Auckland and are scheduled to arrive in Queentown tomorrow. They are due to be paraded in the resort at 1pm tomorrow.

Garland and five clients will have driven 1500-plus kilometres since Tuesday to get to this weekend’s Queenstown Auto Extravaganza, an inaugural event supporting the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand.

Former All Black winger Stu Wilson – the face of prostate cancer in NZ and “a standard Falcon
man” himself – is flying down to Queenstown to meet the cobras.

Wilson has a close connection with the disease and he reckons the cars will strike a chord with “macho” Kiwi blokes.

“A number of my close friends have been treated for prostate cancer,” says Wilson, 54, who hung up the black jersey in 1983 to commentate from the sidelines.

“If they weren’t caught with early detection, it might have been another funeral and I’d rather go drinking with them then be standing by their grave. If [these guys] can raise money in their novel way, it’s all good.”

Garland, 62, who’ll visit his Queenstown-based son Bevan while in town, also hopes his wheels will make an impact.

“I’m passionate about the fact that when New Zealand males go near a doctor, for some reason a needle [scares them],” Garland says. “What are they, a bunch of bloody wimps?

“From 40 years onward they should be getting checks, and that’s also the age bracket when they’ve got the disposable income that they can go and buy these toys.”

Prostate cancer, the most common male cancer, develops mainly in men aged 55-plus and shows no symptoms till advanced. It kills about 600 Kiwi men every year – doctors reckon early detection could have saved half that number.

Garland and his crew will join the Auto Extravaganza’s classic car cruise tomorrow – from 6.30pm-9pm.

Then they’ll deliver to Queenstown mayor Clive Geddes letters supporting prostate cancer awareness penned by four Auck­­­land mayors.

Catch the AC Cobras and Stu Wilson at the Queenstown Auto Extrava­ganza’s car show at the Queenstown Events Centre from 10am-4pm this Saturday