Me and My Car: LIfe on the fringe suits ex-farm boy
Chris White is managing director of Spicers financial planning.
You’re driving a 2014 Land Rover Defender 110 long wheel base?
It’s the seven-seater, 2-litre diesel, six-speed manual with the turning circle of an oil tanker. The industrial-strength clutch makes any peak-hour journey on Auckland motorways a good workout for my left thigh.
I have always been passionate about what I drive and like cars that are a bit fringe. The Defender is not what you would describe as a luxury drive but it is definitely old-school cool. That car has been the source of many impromptu conversations at gas stations, carparks and boat ramps — with people who have owned one, want to own one or think it’s a really good restoration project.
The Defender features in some of our brand advertising as it represents quintessential New Zealand: trusted, reliable, rugged and no unnecessary flash or fruity features that are just for show. Being branded (even the roof has the Spicers logo) I have to remind myself that I am an ambassador for our brand seven days a week. My wife will tell you that my on-road courtesy has improved markedly.
Who else is allowed to drive this?
It is a pool car but I tend to be fairly protective of who gets to borrow it.
Do you have to clean a
I try not to clean it — really — it is a Land Rover, but on special occasions I have been known to bribe my kids to give it a wee wash.
What do you always have in your Land Rover?
An industrial-rated towing strop and shovel.
And your first car was also a Land Rover?
I have a farming background and drove a very old, battered Land Rover Defender (short wheel base) in my first job out of school. It was a classic car even then.
You’ve had an eclectic range of vehicles. Your last car was a Chrysler 300c Hemi V8 and you had an Alpha Romeo 33Ti. What do you look for in a car?
I like cars that are a bit different and I like to change often. I like a car that makes a statement and, ideally, lots of noise.
2015 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350, white with blue racing stripes.
Favourite movie car scene?
The Tumbler (Batmobile) from Batman Begins. Spectacular car, in terms of look and functionality.
Favourite car colour?
Dark, usually grey, silver — easier to keep clean.
Who taught you to drive?
My mum and my dad shared the driving lessons for all three of us boys. We all learned by driving dad’s various company cars — given that we all had a chequered start to driving with more than a few scrapes and bruises. Maybe we should have started off in something a little smaller than the 1987 Holden Berlina.
Most memorable road trip?
In March I took my 9-year-old son Josh on a road trip to Hawkes Bay where we went four-wheel driving around Cape Kidnappers for two days, it was a fundraising event organised by Hereworth School. Great time doing boys’ stuff together in such a magical part of the country — and we brought the car home straight and still in one piece.
Great day trip out of Auckland?
Matakana markets on a Saturday morning, followed by picnic lunch on stunning Omaha Beach.
What irritates you most about other drivers?
I have no tolerance for people parking in disability car parks and I am not afraid to call people on it when I see it happening.
If you could change one road rule in New Zealand?
Dedicated lanes for large commercial trucks on the motorway.
— As told to Donna McIntyre