Me and My Car: Passat is ageing like a fine wine
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Canvass magazine columnist, Yvonne Lorkin
So you drive a VW Passat?
It’s a Gunmetal Grey 2006 3.2 V6 4Motion auto station wagon. This car has a crazy hold over me. Sure it’s older and it’s got serious k’s on the clock, but as soon as I saw it I had to own it. It’s intuitive and responsive — plus it feels like you’re driving a rocket.
If you had to match a wine to your car, what would it be?
A Hawkes Bay syrah from the Gimblett Gravels. With its streamlined structure, notes of graphite, leather and pepper alongside masculine tension and elegance on the finish — the car is absolutely that wine.
What do you always have in your car?
How often do you clean it?
Not as often as it deserves. But I do like to treat it to a full detail every couple of months. I’ve had scratches and scuffs on the interior trim touched up and I had all the wheel rims fully resurfaced.
A Suzuki Alto from the early 1980s, which had an enormous rust hole in the bonnet and needed to be push-started every morning. Fun times.
Your dream car …
I love my car so hard that it feels semi-adulterous thinking unrestrained thoughts about another, but a Maybach Exelero, or the new Rolls-Royce Dawn could woo me. I’ve always been a sucker for old-school muscle cars, so give me a Valiant Charger 770 or a Trans Am any day…
Who taught you to drive?
Our first family car was a 1970 Mk II Ford Cortina and my dad taught me to drive it, column-shift, around the paddocks beside our house in Takapau. I might have been about 7 and I sat on a cushion. He had another crack at teaching me to drive on roads when I was 15 and living in Hastings (in another, newer Cortina) but he was a stress-merchant and Dad, if you’re reading this, it was your fault I pranged the car into the fence. So it was off for two lessons with an instructor and then I sat my licence. I have given my kids the odd lesson in paddocks in my husband’s car. They’re pretty good but I think I’ll leave it to the professionals when it comes to getting them out on the streets.
Manual or automatic?
Manual. I like the physicality of the clutch, acceleration and changing-gear motions. My car is an automatic, but I use the tiptronic a lot; I like to listen to the engine and decide what it needs.
Most memorable road trip?
Back in the mid-90s my boyfriend and I used to drive the East Coast in his orange 79 SL Holden Kingswood and camp at Mahia over New Year. We got caught in a cyclone once. We had to strap our tent to the car to keep it on the ground.
If you could go anywhere, in any car, with any celebrity …
The idea of screaming along America’s Pacific Coast Highway from Monterey through Carmel and Big Sur on the way to San Simeon in a muscle car with Madonna is one hell of a daydream.
Great day trip out in Hawke’s Bay?
I’ll use any excuse to boot up to the top of Te Mata Peak (my maunga). The way the road opens up as the car climbs the steep, limestone hill is magical and the view from the top is jaw-dropping. Then I’d descend and barrel out through the Tukituki valley toward Waimarama Beach. The big reveal of the coastline always makes me gasp. Then I’ll let the dog out and we’ll just walk for miles on the waterline, hoping to come across some pipis to stuff in pockets and steam open later.