She travelled thousands of kilometres but her adventure might not have been completed if it were not for a humble paperclip.
Pamela Joy, a 1929 Austin Seven, left Timaru for London in April ahead of a trip of a lifetime for a pair of longtime friends.
Owner Chris Chambers and driving mate Mel Lewis followed for the GE Classic Car Run, also called the London to Brighton Classic Car Run, in June.
They soon discovered Pamela Joy was far frm ready for the rally: she was clean and tidy but, for some reason, she had no acceleration.
The problem was soon diagnosed and a quick fix was sought to reconnect the accelerator linkage cable.
“So we hunted around for a bit of wire and all we could find was a paper clip so we fixed it with a paper clip and we drove all the way with a paper clip on the linkage… you can’t do that with modern cars.”
And so it was that the trip the pair originally dubbed “a pipe dream became “the pipe dream and the paper clip”, he said.
On the first day, the trio duo travelled more than 80 miles from Brooklyn to Brighton.
The 747cc straight four engine did not miss a beat on the narrow lanes, its three speed gear box helping her get to a top speed of roughly 70 kmh along the way.
The first leg was completed in about 8 hours. There were a few wrong turns: “it’s that adventure, ‘oh we’re lost, it doesn’t mater, we will find our way’,” he said.
The men were among 420 classic car enthusiasts to take part in the rally. Pamela Joy was one of three Austin Sevens. She “performed really well, no troubles apart from the paper clip,” Chambers said.
The men also attended the FA Cup Final, in which Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-1. Lewis said the atmosphere was “incredible” – but he was struck by how much the fans left behind.
“They threw their scarves down and their umbrellas down so I went round and picked them all up,” he said.
Pamela Joy was the first to leave for the race and, two months later, she became the last to return. Chambers said the car provided for a trip of a lifetime.
“The trip and the football was the highlight, taking the car around is fun, every time I get behind the wheel of the car, it might sound funny but I get quite excited… I could talk about it forever and a day,” Chambers said.