Drive of a Lifetime

Couple take 63-year-old classic car from Barnsley to New Zealand
When a teenage Robert Douglas forked out £150 on a sports car more than four decades ago the main attraction was its cost.
The classic 1948 MG TC came with a simple engine he could quickly learn how to fix and, more importantly, it did not have too hefty a price tag.
Since its purchase in 1966 the car has seen more action than most of its peers – with Robert and wife Lynne driving it across the U.S., Australia, and South and Central America.
Long way home: Robert and Lynne Douglas are planning to drive their classic 1948 MG TC from Barnsley to New Zealand
And this Wednesday, 45 years later, the couple will once more hop into their beloved convertible to set off on a four month, 30,000 mile trip from Barnsley to New Zealand.
Lynne, 60, said people thought they were ‘totally, completely and utterly mad’ and readily admitted the car would break down at various points on their mammoth trip.
She said: ‘We’ve had it restored twice and they’re really easy to fix.
‘If we did a trip like this in a modern car we wouldn’t stand a chance if we broke down, whereas with this type of car we can carry basic spares and fix it on the road.
‘Mechanics in places like Laos and Cambodia will also know what to do with it – whereas if we turned up with a Mercedes and the central computer had broken, we’d be stuffed.’

The couple, who met two weeks after Robert bought the car in 1966, said they were prepared for ‘any emergency’ and had already coughed up £2,500 for visas, to ease the process of crossing borders.
They have fitted extra storage compartments to carry luggage, camping equipment and spare parts for repairs.
Arrangements have also been made with the MG car club in China, where modern MGs are made, to get any necessary repairs carried out.
Robert, 64, said: ‘It’s taken a lot of organising, getting visas and working out how to get money, but now we’ve got that all sorted and we’re raring to go.’

Head for heights: Lynne Douglas, with her 1948 MG TC, on a previous trip in Argentina
The driving duo from Dodworth, who have no idea how much their adventure will cost, plan to stay in campsites and cheap hotels.
And they estimate it will take four months to cross Europe, Russia, China and south-east Asia.
Lynne said: ‘We’ll be going through Europe, heading down through Venice and then through the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and entering Russia between June 14 and 17.
‘We’re then driving up through St Petersburg, down to Moscow, through Siberia and crossing into Mongolia.
‘We’ll then drive west to east, ending up in Ulan Bator and then south east to the border with China.
‘We’ll spend 31 days driving in China, following the road down south into Laos and then north Thailand.
‘We’ll pop into Cambodia, where we want to see [the temple complex of] Angkor Wat, then south into Malaysia and into Singapore, from where we’ll ship the car to New Zealand.
‘We are driving through the Channel Tunnel and will be on dry land all the way.’

Mapped out: The route Robert and Lynne Douglas will take from Barnsley to New Zealand
Click here for video impression.

By LEE MORAN

2 Responses to Drive of a Lifetime

  1. Pingback: Drive of a lifetime | MG Owners Holland

  2. Jan Carel says:

    Weet je dat er over deze reis zeer veel te vinden is in de Safety Fast. Belevenissen in China, kosten om door China te rijden etc.etc. Ze zijn inmiddels weer thuis of in ieder geval ver gevorderd. TC’s zijn nu eenmaal de beste auto’s die er zijn of in ieder geval het gemakkelijkst te repareren onderweg.

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