A member of one of the world's best-known rock bands will be making Wanganui home for a couple of weeks next year as guest of honour at the international Vero vintage car rally .
Nick Mason was drummer for progressive rock legends Pink Floyd, which sold more than 200 million records worldwide from the late 1960s until the band stopped playing in 1996.
Yesterday, organisers of the rally confirmed Mason was attending the 12-day rally, which Wanganui is hosting early in 2012.
Mason's passion for music was only matched by his passion for classic racing cars, and the fortune he made in his music career enabled him to gather one of the finest collections of classic racers in the world.
Ed Boyd, Wanganui vintage car buff and publicity officer for the rally, said confirmation of Mason's attendance "is just brilliant news".
"This is brilliant in my eyes, not just for those working on organising the rally but the public too.
"Wanganui's copped a few negatives recently and the latest has been missing out on the cycling centre of excellence. We deserve some pluses and this is certainly one of those."
He said the organisers did not know at this stage if Mason was going to bring any vintage vehicles out from England, where his collection is housed on an aerodrome in Gloucestershire.
"But he will be guest speaker at a number of functions that will happen during the rally," Mr Boyd said.
"On that basis we're expecting him to be here for the duration of the rally. I'm utterly chuffed he's coming. It's a neat thing to happen for us and the rally."
The rally is expected to attract about 1000 rare vintage vehicles, with about a fifth of those coming from overseas.
Organisers expect the rally to generate a $12 million economic bonus for Wanganui and the surrounding district.
Interest in the event has seen overseas competitors already registering and Wanganui Collegiate and Wanganui Girls' College hostels have been earmarked for accommodation, while local motels are expected to be filled with visitors.
Mr Boyd said people needed to understand that the international rally was going to be a huge event in the city.
"You have to imagine what the city's going to be like, with 1000 vintage vehicles in the city for those 12 days," he said.
As well as numerous events happening in the city, there will be events that take many of the cars across the region on a series of separate runs.