SUSAN GIBSON, GROUP COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER AT HERITAGE HOTEL MANAGEMENT
What do you drive? A 2009 fire-engine red Alfa Romeo MiTo. It has a sunroof, currently covered by my stand-up paddleboard roof rack. The car is manual. I bought it secondhand a few years ago when I was looking to retire my old Alfa 146. One drive and I was sure it was time for an upgrade.Of course, it’s red — as all Italian cars should be. The sport mode is fun, too, and wickedly fast.
Any modifications? The car has a factory-fitted sunroof, which has been wonderful, but since I have developed a mania for SUP boarding, a roof rack is a permanent fixture over the sunroof.
How often do you clean it? I give the car a hosedown after a trip to the beach. For intensive cleans, I take it through a commercial wash.
What do you always have in your car? Sunscreen and a water bottle. For pre- and post-paddleboarding.
First car you owned? An elderly Renault I called Albert, pronounced with a bad French accent.
Who taught you to drive? It’s a long and painful teenage story as I bunnyhopped the family car around the East Coast Bays towards getting my licence.
Do you prefer manual or automatic? Manual, with a six-speed gearbox and a sport mode. You might as well enjoy it.
Most memorable road trip? We were rushing to catch a flight home from Frankfurt. We rented an Audi in Munich and travelled the autobahn at eyewatering speeds, all quite legitimately.
If you could go anywhere, in any car, with any celebrity? Matt Damon when he was playing Jason Bourne. His character has had spectacular car chases. I would, however, make sure my seatbelt was well buckled-up.
And which hotel would you book into? I would love to stay at the atmospheric Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin. I was studying German on a sabbatical at the Goethe-Institut Berlin in 2013 and walked by the hotel daily heading through the Brandenburg Gate. It has such a long history and if those walls could speak what a tale they would tell. There is even a noir novel about the hotel’s detective, by Philip Kerr.
Favourite movie car scene? It’s again in an old Bourne movie when Jason (Damon) is driving a stolen Volga taxi in a race across Moscow against Karl Urban as a Russian assassin in a Mercedes. I will let you guess who won.
Do you enjoy driving or would you rather be a passenger? I love driving on an open road, but these days I am just as frazzled as the next Auckland commuter in traffic, leading me to take public transport as often as I can.
Great day trip out of Auckland? For a weekend away, a trip to Te Ti Beach, Paihia, is perfect for paddleboarding. For a shorter Sunday drive, the Waitakeres. There is a Heritage Hotel there that serves a great high tea.
What irritates you most about other drivers? Lack of courtesy.