Apart from that famous reliability and the coats of sleek black paint on each, Diane Ross’s vehicles – a 1936 Chrysler Convertible Coupe and a 2009 PT Chrysler – don’t have much else in common. 

“They’re used for different occasions; I don’t have a favourite. The PT Cruiser is my everyday car and when we go far from home, we go in the old one,” she says.

Trips in the vintage car, complete with an original AA badge and 1930s factory radio, have included holidays all over New Zealand. In the 1970s, Diane and her family journeyed from Cape Reinga to Bluff – multiple times – towing a caravan behind them. “It was so we’d always have somewhere to sleep and the kids could bring their friends,” she says.

The coupe had two women owners before Diane took possession and likes to know she’s keeping that tradition going. “That’s quite special,” she says.

The PT Chrysler is also special as it’s no longer on the production line. The model came to New Zealand in an edition batch of 50 and while some people didn’t take to its retro shape and use of chrome, these were the features that grabbed Diane. She also appreciates how it sits high off the road, allowing good visibility, despite not having modern bells and whistles such as a backing camera.

And having become a great-grandmother, Diane decided the newer Chrysler would suit her well. “I thought: ‘I’ll have that and be a granny with attitude.’”   

Reported by Monica Tischler for our AA Directions Summer 2019 issue

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