Following commemorations for the 100th anniversary of ANZAC day the Central NZ chapters of the Porsche & Ferrari Club took Sunday morning run to the Wairarapa to visit Vintage Aviator. Situated at the Hood Aerodrome, Masterton it is one of the finest collections of World War One aircraft in existence.
The group included 20 Porsches – from a Kermit green 70’s long hood to a 997 GT3 RS, and 13 Ferraris – a 328 GTB to a $700k F12. It made for an impressive convoy with toots and thumbs up from passersby. We set off towards the Rimutaka Hill Road, Upper Hutt’s version of the Stelvio Pass. Such a large group meant it was a spirited drive rather than a full out time attack to get to the airfield. On the other side of the hill were plenty of sweeping corners and long straights with the odd narrow one lane bridge to keep you concentrating. The rolling farm lands and autumn colours made it a pleasurable drive. Greens, reds, yellows, blues and flashes of white cars between the trees on the twisties were a clue to the road ahead.
On arrival we lined the cars up for a photo shoot and plenty of Pcar versus Fezza banter ensued as to who was fastest. A Porsche banner was put up on the fence only to be one upped by a Ferrari flag being raised from a 458.
We had a guided tour around the hanger by several of the pilots that highlighted the difficulties, horrors and staggering development pace planes during WWI. Initially thought of as pointless in warfare their ability for reconnaissance of the battlefield front line from above soon proved their worth. To prevent updates being returned saw both sides send planes up to shoot each other down – air combat began. The average lifespan of a front line pilot, usually 19 years of age, was only 3 weeks after 15 hours flying experience.
Next we were treated to an aerial display to demonstrate just how far planes have come.
The air speed was so slow the plane looked to hang in the air. Unfortunately they couldn’t open the runway up for our own display of speed!
Some highlights of the cars- the F12’s presence was special. A replica Ferrari 330 P4 was exquisitely reproduced and a 430 spyder with ADV.1 wheels and exhaust sounded the best. Three 993 Porsches were a favourite for me. The white & red 997.2 GT3 RS looked menacing. It was great to see the DNA progression through the years in attendance of some of the models – 355, 360, 430 and 458 and SC, 964, 993, 996 to 997.
As the day concluded, one last look at the aircraft reminded all how tough it was to fly them and the sacrifices the ANZACs made for future generations. As our car exhausts filled the afternoon, the planes rolled back into their hanger to rest once again. Lest we forget.