Drivers and Hire
- All drivers must be between 25 and 80 years of age
- Full driving licence valid for New Zealand, held for a minimum of 3 years.
- Use on unsealed roads, time trials, illegal activities etc is not permitted and voids insurance
- No smoking or animals in the vehicles
- All drivers are strongly encouraged to familiarise themselves with the latest New Zealand Road Code before hire at www.DriveSafe.org.nz. We reserve the right to postpone or refuse hire if we have any reason to believe you are unfit to drive safely, e.g. undertaken a long haul flight within the last 24 hours.
All cars come with the following included in the price
- Unlimited kilometres
- Comprehensive insurance covering the South and North Islands. See below for excess reduction options:
- 24/7 Roadside Assistance Package
- Digital Media Player facility and/or CD player
- A personal familiarisation session and documentation
- A full tank of petrol – please return full with correct grade fuel
Bookings and Availability
- A 20% deposit is required as soon as possible to secure your chosen dates and car.
- The full amount of the hire charge must be paid normally 1 month prior to collection
- Cancellation / no show charges apply, unless re-booked within 1 month of the original hire date:
|Date cancelled prior to hire commencement date||% of the full hire fee due for payment|
|Over 31 days prior||20%|
|10-31 days prior||50%|
|Less than 10 days||80%|
- No shows will be charged 100%, unless exceptional extenuating circumstances at our discretion.
- Because we hire ‘one off’ vehicles it is possible that your chosen car may become unavailable for your selected dates at very short notice, e.g. due to essential repairs or parts delay. Should this happen, we will endeavour to provide as much notice as possible and offer an alternative if available, or a full refund.
- All hire cars are subject to potential mechanical failure, and being older classics our cars may have a higher risk. Whilst covered by a comprehensive Roadside Assistance Package you may not be able to proceed to your original plans if issues arise. Signing our rental agreement waives RentAClassic and its officers from all claims, losses, damages or expenses for any adverse outcomes resulting from hire, accidents or mechanical issues by all in the hire party e.g. missed flights or accommodation, holiday curtailment, including if not a resident of New Zealand, waiving the right to commence any legal proceedings outside of New Zealand.
- If your car does ‘fail to proceed’ solely due to its own fault, and cannot safely or legally be made roadworthy within 72 hours of recovery after breakdown, then the following will apply:
- If you’re within 100km of one of our bases, RentAClassic will endeavour but make no guarantees to provide a suitable replacement vehicle from our fleet, if available for the remainder of your hire.
- If not possible or not wanted, you have the option to:
- wait until roadworthy & continue the hire – we will refund you every 24 hour period out of action
- cancel the hire – we will refund you the balance of days remaining from the point of breakdown, and you will need to make your own onward journey arrangements.
Please bring with you
- Photo ID driving licences of all parties intending to drive, in English. If not in English, an approved international driving licence translation must be shown along with your licence from your home country.
- Credit/debit card required to potentially cover insurance excess bond below, which can be reduced down to $500, and traffic infringement fines, (which carry an extra $100 administration charge). The bond is to ensure the car is returned in the condition it was hired, no deductions will be made without consultation.
- Minimal soft luggage! Storage space is limited, even a single ‘hard’ suitcase may not fit in some cars. Please enquire on exact dimensions – we can provide a luggage loan service if required.
Sorting the essentials...
Are the photos of the actual cars?
Abso-blinkin’-lutely! Most car rental companies show you a swish generic photo and then qualify it with “or similar” alongside, and it turns out what you actually get is whatever they have in the yard at the time which may well not be the same spec, colour, model or even make. And you imagine they’re new, but you have no idea of, or say in, how old they are.
With RentAClassic we give you the exact car you see in our photos and a detailed description of it, so you know exactly what fun you’re getting into…
What's the minimum hire period?
Normally 24 hours. You can hire for less than 24 hours but you’ll still pay the minimum 24 hour hire charge. Note in the December to March peak period we reserve the right to set the minimum period to 48 hours, which a few cars do have, but do discuss any specific requirements with us as it depends on a number of factors.
Where do we find your bases, and can we just turn up, book a car and drive off?
All our hires are by appointment only and we need an absolute minimum of 24 – 48 hours notice. Both our Christchurch and Nelson bases are no more than 10 minute taxi rides from their respective airports, and you can find the addresses here, but please note they’re not drop in offices, and by appointment only.
Once arranged, if you find yourself running more than 15 minutes late from the stated collection time, please give us a call on 0210747105, as we may have other hires to attend to. You’ll need to allow around 10-15 minutes for paperwork & your personal familiarisation session with your car.
Licences of all those wanting to drive must be presented for sighting at car collection.
Can I get extra discounts if hiring over 10 days or out of season?
Our cars stay at the same rates whatever the season but yes, hires over ten 24 hour periods get very tasty discounts.
Help, the car I want isn't based where I want to pick it up from?!
The fact our cars are one offs mean they have to have a home base. And that means for some enquirers we may have the right car but in the wrong location. Again just ask as we may well be able to oblige, though you’ll likely incur a relocation fee as Christchurch and Nelson are 5 hours drive apart. Still that’s better than hiring the wrong car in the right location now isn’t it? Note we can now potentially accommodate pick ups from Picton Ferry for hires of over 5 days.
Can I drop off at a different location to where I picked it up from?
Often yes but less likely in the high season (Dec-Mar) or if they’re not places where we have bases (Nelson & Christchurch). We can potentially accommodate drop off to Queenstown for hires over 5 days though. As per most rental companies, you will incur a one way hire charge.
Can I collect and/or drop off to places other than Christchurch & Nelson?
Try us! It could be we can accommodate such, especially if local but it depends what else is going on at the same time, how far from our bases and whether that place has an airport. We can now offer pickups from Picton Ferry and drops off to Queenstown for hires over 5 days. These will incur a tailored extra charge though. Whilst our cars are insured for driving in it, pickup and drop off at North Island locations is not possible, sorry.
Where / how far can we take them?
(Almost) anywhere in New Zealand! All our cars are insured for both the North and South Islands, with unlimited km included in the price, so you don’t have to worry about keeping half an eye on the odometer and racking up extra costs on long trips. And that includes the older cars – the 1970s Alfa Spider & MG BGT and have done mega trips round the South Island for customers travelling thousands of trouble free km. The only place you can’t take them is on unsealed / gravel roads or beaches. Gravel car parks or driveways to accommodation, wineries etc are fine though.
Do you do chauffeur services for weddings or escorted tours?
Yes we do chauffeur services including South Island Tours! We’ll mainly be using the Daimler Six LWB Majestic so you can travel like real royalty, (Queen Elizabeth drove her own one), but you’ll actually be able to chose any of our cars to be driven around in. Please enquire here if you’re interested.
We also do escorted ‘Swap & Go’ Day Trips where we go out in small groups on preset dates and routes from Nelson around the Top of the South Island, and drivers can drive up to 5 different cars on amazing roads in 1 day – how cool is that? See www.nzroadtrips.co.nz for more details – we can do custom dates too.
Reticent partner? Reassure them with these handy rebuttals...
Why on earth wouldn't we go in a normal rental car?
For the same reasons you’d choose a boutique hotel on a beach over an anonymous motel in the ‘burbs, or take a luxuriant outdoor bath under the stars when you could have a 5 minute power shower indoors.
For the experience, the adventure, the memories, because you want to live a little and it’s different.
In our convertibles you can see, hear, smell, feel more at one with the landscape, not just to travel through the place cocooned away in a tin box, you’ll see views and angles and features others don’t. And we hear so many times of how our unique cars sparked up conversations with the locals, and how our clients found out a little bit more of what it is to be a kiwi than they might have otherwise.
But if you still want to go in that nearly new but very well used bland mobile, abundant with fancy toys and dials and suitcase space but seriously devoid of any personality, that you’ll have trouble remembering where you left it in the car park, then don’t let us stop you….
Normal rental cars are nice and new...
Sure about that?
Sometimes they can be, but most of the time they’re very well used indeed.
And the picture on the website might be all swanky and glossy, but they don’t give you that car – you almost certainly won’t get that colour or spec and you’ll most likely actually get a completely different model and car, in fact it’s a complete lottery…
With RentAClassic, the car you chose from our website is the exact one you get. And we describe all it’s features, quirks and irks up front, so you know what you’re getting…the car you want, not that not so new one the normal rental companies want you to have…
These are a bit expensive?
One meal at a nice restaurant for two = $100 to $300, over in 90 minutes and now you feel sleepy
One night at nice accommodation for two = $150 to $800+, over in 12 hours and hey you slept through most of it
One day in our seriously nice sports / convertible cars for two (or three or four) = $90 to $400, all yours for 24 hours and wow, did you feel alive…
You’ll spend so many more waking hours holidaying in your rental car – so choose it wisely!
I'm not going in that old thing, it's bound to be unreliable and breakdown...
Sssh, don’t say that, they’ll hear and go all prima donna on us….but seriously, we can’t deny the risk of mechanical issues is greater than that of a nearly new rental car. However the older cars actually have far less complicated electronics to go wrong and all our cars are maintained to a high standard, (we drive our own family and friends around in them too). A comprehensive roadside assistance package is all inclusive and in over five years of operation and 500+ hire days, on only two occasions have our cars failed to proceed, (and neither was the older classics). For instance, our 40+ years old Alfa Spider has done a 23 day South Island tour with no issues, and the MG BGT has done a 9 day tour from Nelson down to Queenstown and back quite happily, and “didn’t miss a beat” appears quite a few times in it’s testimonials.
Should our cars have problems though, you can call NZRA on 0508 69 7623. Their roadside assistance service is available 24/7 but note in remoter parts they may take several hours to reach you. If the car cannot be fixed at the roadside you will be towed to the nearest garage en route. You then have the option to wait for repairs or cancel the hire. We will assist you in finding an alternative hire car and refund all remaining hire days.
They're old, lots of things won't work properly...
OK but I doubt we'll be warm, dry or comfortable...
Definitely you will be in summer! But seriously, all our modern classics have aircon with very effective heating and insulation from the elements. The Saab for instance has a double layer mohair roof, climate control and heated front seats for nice toasty buns. And aircon in a convertible isn’t so daft, as some summer days can get a bit too toasty everywhere else to always have the roof down.
The 70’s classics obviously aren’t going to be up to the same standard, but you won’t exactly be roughing it. The seats are supportive rather than saggy, and whilst the heating is somewhat parsimonious in some, you’ll always be snug and dry, although the odd drop of water might get in from some angles if particularly heavy rain is encountered. The ride will definitely be bouncier and the wind and engine noise a fair bit more intrusive though, which along with no power steering might be factors to consider on longer trips if comfort is at a premium for you. However they’re maintained and presented to a very high standard both inside and out, and are very nice places to spend many hours cruising in, we’re sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised at their levels of comfort and usability.
Older convertibles will be noisier & continually mess my hair up...
Yes and yes. That’s all part of the glorious experience.
Or you could wear a hat or scarf.
Or just keep the roof up.
Are you sure we'll fit in?
Taller drivers, i.e. those much over 6 foot, may struggle to get comfortable in some cars, especially the older Alfa Spiders and surprisingly the Jaguar XK8 convertible. With the 1975 Spider S2, legroom is the issue due to a large un-adjustable steering wheel and forward angled pedals. With the Jaguar XK8 convertible it’s not overly generous on either headroom or legroom, mainly due to limited seat travel. The Saab 9-3 convertible and Mercedes SEC coupe can both seat 4 adults, but 3 up is better to give the driver maximum flexibility and those in the back shouldn’t be over 6 foot. In the case of the Saab, anyone in the rear seats will need to exit the car anytime the roof needs to be lowered or raised. Please discuss prior to booking if you have any concerns.
Our luggage almost certainly won't fit?
Maybe, maybe not. Road tests on sports cars rarely rave about their copious amounts of luggage space, but if you must bring most of your wardrobe with room for a case of Pinot Gris, then it’s the Jaguar, Daimler, Saab, Mercedes SEC or Alfa 156 you want. Surprisingly the 1970s classics are pretty accommodating too, but for all the cars we recommend you bring multiple soft bags anyway, as many have odd shaped luggage spaces that mean hard suitcases rarely work. Look on their individual pages for exact dimensions, but we can send you sample pics to help see if you can fit everything in.
They won't be easy to drive...
We think they are. Obviously if you’re not used to stick shift you won’t want the manual variety. The 70s cars don’t have assisted steering or braking but the clutches aren’t unduly heavy and they’re fine at keeping up with modern traffic. You might need a bit of time to get smooth at those gear changes and remember to operate the choke from cold, but any initial anxieties fade away pretty quickly with use. Plus we tell you all about their little idiosyncrasies and leave you with comprehensive documentation.
The cars at the other end of the performance scale are also quite happy with docile town driving and won’t bite your foot off when you go anywhere near the right pedal….but they can make some very appealing noises when revved though.
Yes but how safe are the older cars?
Our cars from the 90’s onwards have most of the modern safety features we now take for granted e.g. ABS, driver and passenger air bags, side impact bars. Cars from the 70’s will have more basic safety features, though most do come with inertia reel safety belts plus high level brake lights. The main driver safety aid is always you the driver though, and as part of your familiarisation session on the older cars we will advise on such essentials as allowing extra time and distance for braking, and switching on headlights early before twilight so you can be more easily seen. Note all our cars have to pass the 6 monthly Certificate of Fitness (CoF) test just like any other New Zealand rental car, to ensure their road worthiness for hire.
I've never heard of RentAClassic?
Neither had I until late 2012 when I started it, but I suspect what you’re really asking is can you trust us. RentAClassic is a small but growing family owned registered limited company No. 5970874. Our Transport Service Licence No. 246497 means we’re officially registered with the New Zealand Transport Agency to provide rental car services, and jolly good ones at that.
Our ethos is to responsibly share the joys of sports and convertible motoring in this fabulous country. We love hearing the squeals of delight on first sight of the surprise present, or seeing the very large grins when we ask ‘ so how was your trip then?’. We take care to ensure the cars are maintained and presented in great mechanical and cosmetic condition as we use them ourselves too. We have a very personal approach in all we do. For instance we don’t just chuck the keys at you and point in the general direction of the car park, we show you all the cars features, help you get comfy and provide you with documentation on all that we’ve shown you and more. And we want to ensure you come back more than satisfied.
The best way to judge us though is from what our customers say – they speak volumes here.
They're such nice cars, I'm worried about damaging them....
Heck so are we, no just joking! Our cars are to be enjoyed and if we couldn’t cope with the risk of them getting damaged we wouldn’t hire them out. Of course that means responsible enjoyment and we ask you take all reasonable care of them, but we realise mistakes by you and others can happen. So all our cars come with a standard insurance excess, that you can elect to reduce your liability for by paying an extra daily charge.
There's no point in a convertible if it's not hot and sunny...
They’re all still entertaining sports cars with the roof up or down!
And is the weather good here? No…..it’s great! Especially at the top of the South Island with Nelsons enviable Mediterranean sunny climate, averaging just 7 rainy days per month. Spring there, (Sep-Nov) can be a bit variable but plenty of mild blue sky days. Summer (Dec-Feb) it’s normally blue skies daily and peachy warm, with average high temps around 75F, when obviously our convertibles are in highest demand. Autumn (Mar-May) takes a long time before the sunny days aren’t the norm and you can still get the odd one even in Winter, although you’ll want to be wearing the beanie! But that’s the thing, all our convertibles have heaters, you can get their roofs up or down in max 25 seconds on any car, and with the exception of our pre 90’s cars, they all have ice cold air con for the odd occasion when it really is too hot to go roof down.
But if you’re questioning whether you’ll get value for money roof down time from your convertible hire, well chances are between November & April you almost certainly will – just remember to wear the sun hats and sun block though!
I'm a bloke, I can't be seen in a convertible....
Hey come on dude, be a bit more secure in your manhood. If you need some more reasoned justification, read this article. Of course, if you’re really struggling, you can always keep the roof up and your shades on until you’re sure you’re well out of civilisation….but we quite understand if you take either MG BGT or Mercedes SEC coupes, or the Alfa 156 or Daimler Six saloons sir.
Alternatively you could take the Mercedes SLK which looks like a coupe with its hard top, and just not put it’s convertible roof down at all until you’re sure no one is looking…..trouble is with that car, that’s unlikely….
Still not sure? Neither were these two....
We hired the 1993 S4 Alfa for a grand tour of the South Island, starting in Nelson and finishing in Queenstown, including a trip out to Milford Sound and back. Before we started we had the usual concerns. Although the car is a modern classic, it’s still more than 25 years old. And it is an Alfa. During the selection process, we narrowed our focus to the S4 and the Saab 9-3. The Alfa appealed to the heart; the Saab appealed to the head. In the end, the heart won, and we were glad it did. Although the Saab 9-3 is surely a wonderful tourer, it doesn’t have the soul of the Alfa. Roof down, on some of the best roads in the country, there is little to match it in relaxed style, if not speed.
Speaking of which, in the Alfa, allowing that little extra time is worth it. Think of it as wearing your favourite dress shoes. Sure, you might walk quicker in sportswear, but the experience won’t be the same. The Alfa isn’t slow, just classy.
The driving position is adequate, which, for an Alfa, is actually a compliment. I’m 6’2″ and my wife is 5’8″, and we were both able to get comfortable in the car. Sure, it was a bit of a squeeze for me, and the pedals are offset in the classic Italian way, but in over 1,000 miles of driving we didn’t stop because we were uncomfortable in the car.
Of course, there were testing moments; in particular when facing historic rain whilst driving over the Milford Pass to Milford Sound. But the little Alfa was plucky and never skipped a beat. That said, for the very wettest moments it was helpful to have a towel to hand, to catch the stray droplets that forced their way in. But remember, we were facing historic rain in one of the wettest places on earth, so cut the S4 some slack okay. Uh oh, I’m getting defensive and am starting to sound like Jeremy Clarkson or James May.
But seriously, if you are thinking about the S4, then you’re already half way there. It’s a fabulous little car and I whole-heartedly recommend it. Sure, it has its quirks but these are characterful, rather than characterless. Most importantly, we never felt any concern about the engine or handling. In that, it puts some modern cars to shame. So, if, like us, you are deciding between a “safe” and “fun” choice, go with fun every day of the week. (If you’re still not convinced, you should probably go with “safe”; it’s probably for the best.)
Finally, a word about the hiring experience. Pick up was extremely easy and, even though it was effectively in a back yard of a house, was appropriately professional. Our host ran through the car’s systems and the contract was just like one you might find at a large rental outfit. Drop off was similarly easy; we dropped off the car at a different location from where we started but the process was smooth and trouble-free.
All in all, a great experience!
Pete and Amy
OK we're coming, what next?
What happens if I have, ahem, a bit too much fun?
NZ police strictly enforce speed limits, (and we mean strictly), but of course you can have a lot of fun getting up to them. Use of alcohol, drugs or mobile phones whilst driving are all complete no nos. Any traffic offences issued directly to RentAClassic will incur severe raised eyebrows plus a $100 admin charge in addition to the penalty, as an incentive to play responsibly. If you return the vehicle damaged by someone else where you weren’t at fault, your excess may not recovered from the insurance company for many months. If you’re involved in a single vehicle accident i.e. no other parties involved, or were found to be breaching any terms of hire, you may face costs substantially more than your excess. We will advise prior to deducting any money from your excess bond though.
I'm not familiar with driving in NZ, what do I need to know?
- Start off at www.DriveSafe.org.nz
- Familiarise yourself with our Road Code – test yourself here
- Rest for 24 hours before collecting your car if you’ve just stepped off a long haul flight
- Don’t try and cram in too much – driving distances between cities can be deceptively long….
- You can get 4 seasons weather in the same day so drive appropriately to the conditions e.g. if it’s sunny, jolly well get the roof down….and wear hats and sun block!
Insurance Excess and Liability Options
|1972 MG BGT||1999 Saab 9-3 Convertible||2001 Alfa Spider V6||2002 Mercedes SLK||1996 Jaguar XK8||1975 Alfa Spider S2||2000 Alfa 156 Saloon||1993 Alfa Spider S4||1995 Jaguar Daimler Six Limo|
|Reduce to $1500 |
($ per 24 hours)
|Reduce to $500|
($ per 24 hours)