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The amphibious van that stunned the country with its Cook Strait crossing recently has been bought by a First National real estate company.
Mark Stevenson First National principal Mark Stevenson paid $9100 on Trade Me last night for the vehicle, which was built at Woodburn, Blenheim.
“We first saw it doing a sea trial in Picton Harbour about a month ago. Looked like a whale out of water.
“We couldn’t believe it would even go out of harbour let alone cross one of the most dangerous stretches of water in the world that had claimed ships like the Wahine and the Mikhail Lermatov. We think the enormity of the challenge has been underestimated by most people, particularly as they only had Tui beer to drink for the 11 hour crossing.
“We decided at our staff meeting on Monday that we would try to retain the vessel in Marlborough where it was created, trialed and launched into NZ and world maritime history.”
Stevenson said the vehicle would be used at local charity events like school fairs, fundraisers etc.
“Our vision is to keep the vehicle in its original condition and livery for Marlburians to enjoy, although we have not ruled out the addition of a First National logo.
“We don’t see long term storage as an issue as Blenheim has successfully stored the entire NZ airforce strike force over a period of years at horrendous expense and depreciation,” Stevenson quipped.
“Should we need undercover storage we believe the Waihopai valley spy station could provide an alternative, provided the cover isn’t blown again.
“As a real estate firm that covers the Marlborough Sounds we obviously see this vessel as an asset. Even if properties sell weeks before we can race down at 4km per hour to view them. However, we are unsure whether to insure the vehicle as a boat, a car or simply classify it as a sinking fund.
“Kiwis have always been known as ingenious handymen and this fine vessel is a legend in the making or sinking. The vessel is almost purpose built for the 2009 Marlborough scallop season after which West Coasters should be on the lookout for us at their favourite whitebaiting locations.”