Saturday 24 March 2018

Driver, 105: I don't think I'm old

Bob Edwards is New Zealand's oldest driver, aged 105 (AP)
Bob Edwards is New Zealand's oldest driver, aged 105 (AP)

Bob Edwards was born before the first Model T rolled out of Henry Ford's factory in Detroit. He learned to drive in a French car that had a lever instead of a steering wheel and he is still on the road, only now in a red four-wheel-drive Mitsubishi.

The oldest licenced driver in New Zealand, and one of the oldest in the world, has been driving for 88 of his 105 years and has no plans to give it up, just as he intends to keep working out every morning in his home gym, and to keep regularly cooking meals for himself and his wife, who's 91.

"In fact, I don't think I'm old," Mr Edwards says. "Not really."

He has been involved in just one crash in his life and has gotten just one speeding ticket, a citation that still gets him riled up years later. When he broke his left hip three years ago, his doctors said to stop driving for six weeks but he did not pay them much mind. After all, he says, he drives an automatic and only needs his right leg for that.

According to Guinness World Records, the world's oldest driver was American Fred Hale Sr who was on the road until his 108th birthday in 1998.

Edwards drives three times a week to the shop nine miles (15km) down the road. He picks up groceries on Sundays and the newspapers on other days. Occasionally, he says, he drives farther afield, to a medical appointment or to visit friends.

He got his first licence in 1925 at age 17. He grew up in England and he learned to drive in his uncle's car, a De Dion Bouton. "It was something new. Cars were just coming in," Edwards says. "I mean, it was just marvellous."

Press Association

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