Me and My Car: Cute, zippy and ready for action
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Admir Mullaaliu and his Fiat 500
So you drive a pearl-white 2014 Fiat 500?
Yes, the tiptronic Sports version, with a little bit of grunt and an Italian flag strip. As brand ambassador for Peroni, I wanted an authentic Italian vehicle. I have the advantage of parking it in the smallest spots that other cars can’t get into. However, you’d be surprised how many cases of Peroni I can fit in it. Plus it doesn’t take long to clean.
How does it suit your character?
Zippy, ready for action and, I’d argue, cute.
Do you own/drive only Italian cars?
I also have a 2015 convertible Jeep Wrangler for the beach and travel with my other half and our dogs, Milou and Maia.
What do you always have in your car?
Phone charger, sunglasses, water bottle and my gym bag. Then there’s Peroni beer and glassware if I’ve got events on.
Who taught you to drive?
I have to confess, at age 13, I started my dad’s car, released the handbrake and the car started moving back from the carport. I tried putting the car in gear after hearing the screeching noise and thinking I had broken something. Not knowing how to move it back and scared to be caught, I pushed the car back into the car port with much difficulty. I stayed away from the driver’s seat for a while after that.
But my dad taught me how to drive when I was 19. We stopped when our personalities (not the car) crashed, so I took a couple of driving lessons from an instructor.
How does driving differ between Italy and New Zealand?
In Italy you have the slow drivers who have no urgency in getting anywhere as they’re too busy talking with their hands off the steering wheel. On the other hand there are ones who are always rushing to get somewhere with no patience, beeping and yelling out of the window — so maybe not so dissimilar to here.
Most memorable road trip?
In 2000, when I lived in Pavia, my university friends and I went to Lake Como.
We were young with no care in the world, enjoying the scenery and winding roads. We stopped at various lakeside towns such as Bellagio — it was a spectacular drive.
If you could go anywhere, in any car, with any celebrity?
I would pick Ellen DeGeneres for her sense of humour and we would go on a road trip in her Porsche 911 Carrera S. Not sure Ellen would let me drive, though.
Great day trip out of Auckland?
My favourite spot is Omaha, just over an hour’s drive where you can enjoy the sand and sea but still be back in Auckland by the evening (unless there are queues in Warkworth or the tunnel). Waiheke is a little South Pacific slice of the Amalfi Coast, too, so a day trip to Poderi Christi for lunch is special.
— As told to Donna McIntyre