Me and My Car: Mustang ride around
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Campbell Smith is promoter of Auckland City Limits at Western Springs, March 19
So you drive a 1970 Ford Mustang Coupe, 351 V8 auto?
It was my “everyday” car when I had it in Los Angeles, but since I brought it back to New Zealand last year, I drive it on weekends and day trips. A mechanic friend found the car online and sent me the link. I met the previous owner in a 7 Eleven carpark and bought it on the spot. That was 2008.
It is still left-hand-drive, and chocolate brown and olive green is the best colour combination.
What do you like about it?
The small, simple things I most like about this car are the bonnet scoop indicator lights that are only for the driver’s benefit. They’re meaningless but a nifty design feature.
Who else drives your Mustang?
If I let anyone drive it and they crashed it, I’d kill them. It’s safer not to let anyone else drive it.
What do you always have in your car?
A brake lock and a steering lock. It’s not that hard to get into an old car, so theft deterrents are a must. I have a portable stereo speaker unit that bluetooths to my phone. Spare sunglasses. Jumper cables in the trunk. I also always have chewing gum.
A 1960 Ford Anglia. Red body, black roof. My parents bought it for me when I was 15 and had just got my licence. The car was a recovered wreck. I’d owned it only about a month when the front left wheel came off while I was driving it. My friends and I mostly used to just sit in it outside school and smoke cigarettes.
Your dream car …
A Model S Tesla. Or the next sports model Tesla Elon Musk creates. I’ve driven one and it’s like driving the future. Having one car that chews through about $300 of petrol driving to the supermarket, it would be good to have another that uses no fossil fuel.
Who taught you to drive?
My dad first but he got sick of it real quick. Then I had a nice driving instructor. She looked like a puppet from Fraggle Rock. And she would jab me with a fingernail in the thigh if I made a mistake.
Manual or automatic?
Manual for the connection it gives you, but who wants to drive in Auckland traffic in a manual?
Memorable road trips?
A couple of times each summer in LA I will drive up the Pacific Coast Highway to Big Sur on the California coast to go hiking. It’s a stunning drive with rugged ocean on one side of the road and forest on the other. In New Zealand, each February for 10 years we have produced the annual winery tour taking great musicians through wineries all around the country. Driving between Nelson, Christchurch, Queenstown and the West Coast never gets boring.
What’s different between driving in the States and NZ?
I have lived for six months in Auckland and six months in LA since 2008. Summer in each. Drivers are more accommodating in the US. A driver won’t speed up to block you changing lanes in front of him/her, or from merging. If everyone in LA drove like NZers, no one would get anywhere and there would be more accidents.
If you could go anywhere in any car with any performer?
Paris to Dakar rally, in the Mad Max Interceptor, with Bruce Springsteen. I think I’d drive and he’d navigate. And sing.
Auckland’s traffic …
It is a problem, but you live with it. Or live around it.
■As told to Donna McIntyre