In Nelson we have always had a number of car enthusiasts restoring and driving vehicles from the past, and the public have always supported and encouraged old cars in a good humoured fashion – perhaps the film ‘Genevieve’ in 1954 influenced this to some extent.
In 1958, following the success of the Picton Rally, Nelson members of the Canterbury branch were asked to provide a display of veteran cars to help the celebration of the Centennial of the establishment of Nelson as a City. Requests to members in Christchurch resulted in a spectacular turnout of cars whose owners were paid expenses and provided with accommodation.
Though the Nelson Branch VCC was not formed until 1964, a number of local enthusiasts had been meeting for several years as a limb of the Canterbury Branch and in 1960 here were 16 local members on the roll of the latter branch.
Two very successful events were run prior to branch formation. In September 1958, 20 cars and two motor cycles – all veterans and mainly from Christchurch, were here to help celebrate the centennial of Nelson’s City status. And in 1964, at Easter, a hugely popular rally was staged in Motueka and this really emphasised the desirability of having our own branch.
From this, we have progressed steadily if undramatically to our present membership (1985) of 135. Vehicles in the possession of members and numbering around 200 cover the whole spectrum from RR to Model Ts, we also have our share of enthusiastic motorcyclists who have their own informal annual run.