It is a test of man and machine.

The Irishman Creek Rally pits pre-1930s cars against the elements and environment of some of the South Island’s most stunning but rugged back country.

The longest-running car rally in the country, the Irishman Creek Rally is also the second-oldest in the world, behind only the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run in the United Kingdom.

Organised by the Canterbury Vintage Car Club, the rally was named after its original destination, Irishman Creek Station Hamilton Jet. However, the rally now finishes in Fairlie.

One hundred and sixty vintage cars converged on Alexandra on Saturday before making the day-long journey to Fairlie.

Organiser Vaughan Morrison said all of the vehicles taking part were pre-1930s. The aim was to travel on roads in similar condition to when the cars were built.

Kathy Mackenzie and her husband, Hamish, of Jacks Point, were taking part for the seventh time and said it was something they looked forward to every year.

“We get to go through stations and places you don’t normally get access to. It is quite a privilege to go through people’s farms,” Mrs Mackenzie said.

Ashburton man Peter Lambie travelled to Alexandra in his friend’s 1928 Ford Model A.

At “comfortable” speeds of 45km, the journey took them a day and Mr Lambie said he loved the camaraderie and adventure the rally presented.

“As you get older, common sense prevails and you don’t have to go through every river crossing if there’s a bridge available,” he said.