The First Car Comes to Christchurch

16 Miles an Hour Guaranteed Speed

Unique Exhibit – At Show Next Thursday, First Car to Run in Christchurch
Ellesmere Guardian, Volume LIII, Issue 84, 18 October 1932, Page 8

Of interest to everyone, a unique exhibit will be shown this week at the Ellesmere Show on the Leeston Motor Company’s stand. It is the actual car that was first to run on Christchurch streets, and the first in New Zealand.

Most of the rising generation have no idea what the early cars were like, and they will now have the opportunity of seeing the first motor car to be driven round Christchurch. The driver was Mr N. Oates, of the firm of Oates, Lowry and Co., who had premises in Manchester street. This car was purchased by Mr Oates at the Paris Exposition and the price was £250. The car did 1000 miles in England before it came to Canterbury in 1899. It is a single cylinder vehicle with solid tyres and a guaranteed speed of 16 miles an hour and 17 with a favourable wind. No gear box is fitted, the power being transmitted by belts and chains.

At the time the car first appeared there was a by-law compelling traction engines and like contraptions to stop when meeting fractious horses and to carry a red flag in front when travelling! [13]

  1. Frederick Denniston was ‘one of the cleverest mechanicians in the Dominion’, building motor cycles, patenting agricultural machinery and the ‘Denniston spare wheel’ and in 1914, whilst resident in Oamaru, he constructed a submarine which he tested on the Waitaki river.
  2. Local and General. Star, Issue 6789, 8 May 1900, Page 3.
  3. Local and General, Star , Issue 6825, 19 June 1900, Page 3.
  4. A Christchurch Motor Car. Press, Volume LVII, Issue 10697, 2 July 1900, Page 5.
  5. THE MOTOR CAR. Press, Volume LVII, Issue 10799, 29 October 1900, Page 2.
  6. TOWN & COUNTY. Timaru Herald, Volume LXIV, Issue 3351, 25 August 1900, Page 2.
  7. THE MOTOR CAR. Star, Issue 6942, 3 November 1900, Page 4.
  8. NEWS OF THE DAY. Press, Volume LVII, Issue 10811, 12 November 1900, Page 4.
  9. TOWN & COUNTRY. Timaru Herald, Volume LXIV, Issue 3431, 27 November 1900, Page 2.
  10. THE MOTOR-CAR EXCURSION. Press, Volume LVII, Issue 10827, 30 November 1900, Page 5.
  11. FIRST MOTOR CAR IN TIMARU. Timaru Herald, Volume LXIV, Issue 3434, 30 November 1900, Page 3.
  12. NEWS IN BRIEF. New Zealand Herald, Volume XXXVII, Issue 11546, 4 December 1900, Page 6.
  13. EXHIBIT. Ellesmere Guardian, Volume LIII, Issue 84, 18 October 1932, Page 8.
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