PAUL BIDDLE IS BARKERS’ GM OF MERCHANDISE AND MARKETING
What do you drive?
A white Volvo V60 R-Design, 2-litre turbo, 2014. Barkers have a relationship with Volvo NZ so we were given the opportunity to drive several of their models but the V60, for me, was a great combination of being a practical wagon but with great design and exceptional performance. It is an easy car to drive around town, and has some serious punch on the open road.
Who else is allowed to drive your car?
My car is available for anyone at Barkers to use during the working week.
A 1982 EN1 Honda Civic, 1.3-litre, metallic green, five-door hatch.
What is your dream car?
The Volvo Concept Estate if it comes into production. Superb looking car and would make for a fantastic surf wagon!
Working in fashion retail, how important is a car’s design?
For Barkers the brand, it is very important to align with a like-minded company as we have done with Volvo. The V60 offers a great-looking, functional design inside and out and mimics what we try to do with our seasonal clothing collections. Great looking, good quality product accessible to all. I love a good looking, well-designed car, but with kids and a love of surfing, fitting them both into the vehicle is often my first thought.
Favourite car colour?
Gunmetal or silver look great and are easy to keep clean.
Manual or automatic?
Automatic around town to combat the stop-start nature of Auckland traffic but definitely a manual on out-of-town trips. You just feel more in control in a manual through corners and on the open road.
Who taught you to drive?
My dad [Driven Buyers’ Guide writer Jack Biddle] taught me, with one hand never leaving the hand brake. I was 16 and we mostly used the carpark up at Windsor Park on the North Shore. He was a great teacher and I still utilise the skills he taught me.
Most memorable road trip?
Auckland to Wellington with my wife and kids a couple of years ago. We had a great time stopping several times during the trip to look at different things. For someone who normally hates stopping once a journey starts, it was a fantastic change and an awesome opportunity to appreciate the journey with them. The Desert Road is a great driver’s road so it is always enjoyable to drive.
How do you keep your children happy on longer car trips?
We are lucky that Harrison, 6, and Isabella, 4, travel exceptionally well and don’t require a lot of entertaining. Car cricket and identifying numbers on road signs usually fills time. If we are desperate, then a movie on the iPad usually does the job.
Great day trip out of Auckland? We have a family bach at Onemana at Coromandel so tend to get down there at least every second weekend. It’s a time for decompressing with family and getting in the water to surf or swim.
What do you always have in your car?
A Barkers travel rug and Blunt umbrella. The blanket has come in useful on many different occasions travelling with the family and the umbrella is a no-brainer, especially in Auckland weather.
How often do you clean your car?
Usually once a week, or after any long trip out of town.
And what do you listen to?
Usually music via an iPhone. At the moment I am liking The War On Drugs and Tobias Jesso Jr.
Favourite movie car scene?
The car chases through Nice and Paris in Ronin (starring Robert De Niro) are unbelievably good. Skilful driving in amazing locations, plus the story line is really good.
Would you rather drive in Auckland or take public transport?
In general, the public transport service is pretty good, however, the cost is quite high. For me, it’s not practical given I am out of the office a lot, however, I would probably prefer to ride a bike rather than take the bus.
If you could change one road rule?
I would love to see a free left-hand turn at any set of traffic lights as they have in North America for right-hand turns. This would be a great way to keep traffic moving here in New Zealand.
What irritates you most about other drivers?
People who speed up as soon as a passing lane appears after driving well below the speed limit. This is extremely frustrating.