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Get converted to luxury convertible car hire, anytime of year…

Ever dreamed of hiring a convertible, but thought it was too impractical, too expensive, too self indulgent? Need to make a case for it, or answer those against? Let RentAClassic, biased though we are with our superbly frivolous classic sports and convertible car hire from Nelson, New Zealand assist you….

Nelson sunshine – free with (almost) every RentAClassic convertible hire

As I sit here writing this in the warm Nelson early April sunshine, it’s still 23 degrees even though it’s not far from mid Autumn. Temperatures go higher in summer but Autumn and Spring are just as good if not better for convertible hire, with consistently sunnier days without the high heat, the colours of nature at their most vibrant, and the bus and the tourists are gone…..and you’ve thrown away the choice and lost your ticket, so you have to stay on….yep as Al says it’s always the Year of the cool Cat convertibles here. Come to think of it, even winters can offer up crisp sunny days and when you’ve got electric roofs and powerful heaters, (even the front seats are heated in the Saab), why not live a little? And driving convertibles with the roof down is a very evocative experience. It was late afternoon and the sun was dipping between the mountain peaks, still blazing bright, although now pleasantly balmy. The twisting road dipped and dived past thick woodland, perilous drops, hidden sea coves, and under palm trees dappled by sunlight, with the scent of pine lingering for a fraction of a second as the jet black Saab 9-3 convertible swept effortlessly along, a cooling breeze coursing through the sun drenched cabin, favourite songs mingling with the occasional accompanying Bellbird and Tui. As the road climbed, a gentle hoof on the accelerator awoke the light pressure turbo into action as it despatched the looming incline, on towards the crest and the next set of switchback curves, and I wondered whether it would be another hour before we met our next car…..was it the Almalfi Coast, Route 66, Great Ocean Road? Nope, this was driving from the humble Picton Ferry en route to Nelson and this was in December, early summer. I’d had such a fantastic drive picking my eldest boy off the ferry from Wellington – hard to believe 7 years ago we’d made our first similar trip in New Zealand but stuck in a snooze-arama Toyota Corolla. And either of them could be you folks – chose your car rental company with care!

They’re stylish, different, luxurious and fun, (and our convertibles certainly are)

Name a convertible that’s ugly with the roof down. OK some are a bit unsightly with the roof up, but either way you’re not going to lose one in the supermarket car park. Our Saab 9-3 and Alfa Romeo Spider convertibles in particularly are real lookers, though in subtly different ways. Whilst the Saab is a smart cruiser with room to take three lucky others to share in the fun, the Alfa is a real press on hunched up two seater sports machine, with a glorious growl from the three litre V6 when you wind it up. And yet all done in the best possible taste, from the comfort of ‘power everything’, through to Italian leather ensuring your backsides stay very comfortably put. I was recently trying it out through the back roads around nearby Mapua, Tasman, top down of course in the summer sunshine. The Alfa was swallowing curve after curve, surging up to a crest as the left hand hairpin kept tightening, quick change down, then flicking round a right hander at the top, diving down and onto the next, weaving through glorious rolling countryside with sea views beyond. We got a closer view still by finishing the jaunt with fresh fish & chips on the wharf at Mapua, (highly recommended), as the sun went down, whilst the equally tasty Spider gently ticked nearby cooling down in a very self satisfied way….not unlike it’s passengers, who still had the drive back to look forward to….

You drive with all the senses, but most especially a sense of freedom

Driving a convertible really is fun for all the senses. You can taste and smell and feel the environment you’re driving through. Feel the wind in your hair, smell the scent on the breeze, (especially in those summer evenings), taste the freshness in the air, it’s all a thoroughly enlivening experience. I recently drove our Saab 9-3 convertible back from Christchurch to Nelson over the Lewis Pass, which is a fantastic drive. The sun was shining, hardly any traffic on the roads, (even in late February), I had the top down, my favourate music and Stephen Fry podcasts playing through the car stereo using our free connector for any digital media player, driving through the glorious scenery and I just tipped my head back and laughed up at the azure sky above and the fun of it all….and then of course promptly returned to observing the road ahead. Above all, convertibles have a real feel good factor!

Not convinced? Time to knock off some common misconceptions….

They’re too, ahem, girly….

And what’s wrong with that? Of course our female customers have excellent taste, but hey guys man up. Presumably you don’t eat quiche or have anything pink in your house either. Live a little outside your insecurities. I think you’ll find Mr Clarkson has a few convertibles in his garage. Most blokes you pass won’t be questioning your manhood, they’ll more likely be wishing they could take a turn. And if you’re a little worried about the mid life crisis image, well pretend you’re Mr Clarkson or stick a hat and dark glasses on – you’ll need both for the sun. And if three litres of burbling V6 in the Alfa Spider is still too girly for you, we recommend you stick to watching others drive round in circles at Bathurst.

They’re too expensive.

To buy, possibly, but to hire, well actually our convertibles aren’t necessarily any more expensive than our fixed tops. But how often do you get the opportunity to drive a convertible, and a really nice one at that? How much is not being able to wipe the smile off your face worth?

They’re not great drives.

So why do great car makers like Ferrari, Aston, Porsche, Alfa etc built so many convertibles then? Sure you might feel a few wobbles over poor road surfaces at slow speeds but they settle down fine at a normal lick and we defy you to say you can’t thread together some fast, long curves with just as much verve, deftness and an even bigger grin on your face than a hard top, just because you’re far more at one with the landscape you’re passing through.

They won’t be comfortable.

Pre 1970 convertibles yes you could have us there….but we don’t rent any of those! The Saab 9-3 convertible in particular is the most luxurious full four seater sunlounger with a three layer mohair sunshade, capable of withstanding New Zealands worst deluges, (we know, we’ve driven through some). And the heater is built for Swedish winters so along with that and the heated front seats you can keep everything nicely toasty even driving top down at night. Both that and the Alfa Spider have full leather seats, lined power hoods, air conditioning, expresso maker, (OK not that last one, but you get the picture….). True, in high summer it may sometimes get a bit toasty top down, but then in 25 seconds the roof can be up and the aircon on – you choose between the best of both worlds in the same car.

Our luggage probably won’t all fit

You’re starting to come over a little ‘half empty’ now. Yes luggage space is more limited but if that’s your main criteria hire a van. So long as you pack soft bags, you can easily squeeze enough for two in, but if in doubt check with us first. We can offer a luggage repack and loan service at a very reasonable daily charge.

There’s nothing ‘evocative’ about being surrounded by diesel fumes, traffic jams and grey skies.

Yes there is, OK, no there’s not. But you’re thinking you’re driving in Europe, the States or most of Asia aren’t you? Well you’re highly unlikely to encounter being stuck for the umpteenth time behind a caravan or juggernaut on New Zealand roads which are remarkably uncrowded, even in summer. And you don’t have to have to be an optimistic sun gambler either, with the Nelson Tasman region regularly featuring in the top five sunniest places in the country, consistently clocking up more than two thousand hours of full on sunshine a year.

Convertibles are owned by big show offs.                            

Ouch! But then as you’ll only be renting one out for a short period, you’ll only be showing off a little, which is quite an acceptable indulgence in our opinion.  Yes you will get noticed, but you’ll have such a smile on your face you won’t be able to help smiling back, as many of our customers report. Bet you can’t resist passing a glass building in them and glancing over just once either. All those adverts of beautiful perma-grin people driving top down in front of glistening water beneath skies of blue have to have some iota of truth behind them after all… why not treat yourself or a loved one to drive something different – go on, you deserve it!

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