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Our Journey

For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.
Robert Louis Stevenson, novelist and poet

RentAClassic Owner Stephen TannerKia Ora, I’m Stephen Tanner, and I’ll be your driver. I’ve been driving since 1983 and have driven extensively in the UK, including many years in London, and New Zealand, but also in Ireland, France, Italy, (including Rome!), Greece, and the USA. I’ve done a RoadCraft specialist driving course run by a former traffic policeman, I really enjoy driving and to date I’ve had no accidents. Ka pai!

I first came to New Zealand in 2006 with my eldest son James. Ostensibly we were touring the country for 2 weeks to see if it could fulfill a lifelong dream about relocating the family from the UK, but what a great excuse for a driving holiday too! The country and people exceeded our expectations but our rental car certainly didn’t. I couldn’t believe my choice was seemingly limited to driving such boring ‘white goods’ blandmobiles across such stunning surroundings and uncrowded, open roads. And so I decided if we did make it over, others should get the opportunity to enjoy some quality characterful cars that complemented the wonderful driving environment.

We emigrated over to Nelson in 2008, and in 2012 I started RentAClassic Car Hire with just 2 cars – our 1972 MG BGT which has been in the family since 1974, and a 1999 Saab 9-3 Convertible – you can view them in action here. I decided to start hiring out classic sports and convertible cars because of wanting to share the wonderful fun factor of vehicles that are a bit impractical for everyday life, but great for treating yourself on holiday. And ‘classics’ includes some modern ones that are surely imminent classics. For instance, Stephen Bayley well known UK design commentator noted Saabs had inimitable presence and that “Driving topless is one of life’s pleasures; enjoy the Saab Convertible while you can”. So we’ve made sure you can….along with some Alfa Romeos for the real petrolhead Alfistas….and Jaguar and Mercedes for people who like their classics even more prestigious. 

We’ve loved hearing our customers share their stories and how much more they enjoyed driving around this stunning country in our classic cars, that we decided to join them! So from 2017 we started offering RentAClassic Car Tours, escorted Day Trips swapping between up to 5 classics journeying round the glorious South Island destinations, making for a very unique, memorable and fun experience….so classic. 

And in the same year we added RentAClassic Roam James where we do the driving for you, but it’s still a classic experience. The Roam James name came about partly in recognition of my eldest James who came out with me on that initial scouting trip to NZ, but is also a wordplay touring version of “Home James”, the chauffeurs catchphrase. That phrase allegedly was first coined by Queen Victoria to one of her carriage drivers, whose name was James Darling. Royal servants were all normally addressed by their surname, but she couldn’t very well say “Home Darling”…., (“we are not amused” was another of hers after all….), and so “Home James” it was, and Roam James is our wanderlust version of that.  


Stephen Tanner, Owner, RentAClassic Roam James

The journey is the reward.
Chinese proverb

Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain, Author


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