Americarna car festival star Ray Rook still living life in the fast lane at 96 years old

A life goal for many of us is to keep driving for as long as we can. That's a life goal that Ray Rook is fully embracing. 

Your playlist will load after this ad

He took Seven Sharp for a spin in his supercharged 1966 Mustang Fastback. Source: Seven Sharp

Rook is 96 years old and still driving. But his car of choice isn't a hatchback — it's a 1966 Ford Mustang Fastback.

Rook is taking his V8 out for a cruise at Americarna, a car festival celebrating vehicles made in the good old USA. 

The event takes place at New Plymouth's racecourse, a convoy of chrome more than eight hundred cars long full of vehicles of every colour and every era.

Rook's Mustang Fastback GTA, 390 big block, with a Paxton supercharger is immaculate.

"If there's a mark I'll immediately take it off," he told Seven Sharp.

There were only 40 ever built but for Rook, it wasn't exactly love at first sight.

"I didn't think it was anything special," he confessed.

But then, Rook's a slowburner when it comes to love.

"Helen worked in the office for 40 years. She came straight from high school," he says.

Fifteen years into the job, they were engaged.

"I said I might get married again. She said, 'Who'd marry you?' I said, 'I thought you might.' She said, 'I never thought you'd ask,'" Rook says.

This is Ray and Helen's 14th Americarna. They call it the highlight of their year.

Only two people have ever driven Rook's Mustang: Rook himself and the American who brought it over for him.

"Everyone wants to look at it and go for a drive in it," he says.

"It's brutal, a brutal car to drive. Touchy on the throttle. 

"Some of the money I've been offered [to sell it], unbelievable. Everybody wants that car [but it's] not for sale."

Americarna organiser John Rae says people come from across the country to head to the event.

"We got people from Invercargill, Nelson, Christchurch, Hawke's Bay, Whangārei, every part of the country there's someone here," he says.

Watch Ray's full story on Seven Sharp above.