Nelson fire fighters put out a car that caught on fire during a test drive along Princes Drive on Monday afternoon. Photo: Brittany Spencer.

Car on test drive goes up in flames


It was meant to be a bargain but it turned into the test drive from hell.

At $2500 the silver Volkswagen Passat might have looked like a good deal.

But at about 2.30pm yesterday, the prospective new owner was driving along Princes Drive when she noticed the oil light flick on.

Moments later the engine caught fire and the woman pulled over to the side of the road.

Before long, the whole front of the car was enveloped with flames. Fire crews arrived soon after, pouring water onto the vehicle. All of the occupants of the vehicle walked away unharmed.

One of the first on the scene, senior station officer Gavin Scott, said flames were coming out of the front of the car but were easy to extinguish.

“As we came up the road we noticed there was oil on the road so it looks like the car has lost oil out of the motor onto the exhaust or the turbo and it has caught fire.”

Car owner Iain Graham said he didn’t know what had happened.

“I have no idea. They have got it back to the yard but no decision has been made on anything.”

Police managed traffic while a unit from the Nelson Fire Station extinguished the fire and hosed down the car.

Princes Drive was temporarily blocked and reduced to one lane, but was soon reopened.

The car was left parked on the side of the road, completely chargrilled while the owner organised for it to be towed.

It is not clear what decision the test driver made about the purchase. She could not be reached for comment.