Me and My Car: VW step up from farm bike
JAMIE MACKAY FRONTS NZME’S THE COUNTRY, AN AGRIBUSINESS LUNCH HOUR WITH A SIDE-SERVING OF NEWS, SPORT AND POLITICS
What do you drive?
A 2016, automatic brown/grey VW Touareg. I’m extremely lucky that VW sponsors The Country.
Who else is allowed to drive your Touareg?
My wife Penny. (She’s a better driver than me.) But I refuse to let my sons anywhere near it.
First car you owned?
A 1980 Datsun Sunny. I was a young farmer at the time and got stick from my mates about it not being a “manly” car, so I swapped it for a 1978 Mitsubishi Galant.
Your dream car?
Without wanting to suck up to my sponsors, which I’m about to do, I’d still pick a diesel VW Touareg. It’s a $90,000 vehicle with $150,000 specs.
Favourite car colour?
Black or red cars are cool but impossible to keep clean. I’ve owned a few metallic silver cars in my time. They hide the dirt.
Who taught you to drive?
I learned to drive (steer) as a 6-year-old in an old Series 1 Landrover, idling behind sheep on the road or driving in circles in the paddock while Dad fed out hay. The Mackays have a proud, long-standing family tradition of being average drivers and I’m no exception. I failed my licence first time because I couldn’t parallel park. I had no idea what one was.
What is your favourite farm transport?
I used to love riding my Honda XR200 trail bike around the farm with my two dogs on the tray behind me. I cut my teeth (metaphorically) on a hilly farm, so you learn by your mistakes where you can and can’t take a vehicle. If in doubt, you just don’t go there, especially on a tractor.
Do you prefer manual or automatic?
Most memorable road trip?
A drunken (I wasn’t driving) road trip in 1982 as a student from Lincoln University home to the farm in Riversdale (Southland) with a mate named Hideous Ross and a couple of girls. Need I say more?
If you could go anywhere, with any celebrity, in any car?
I think I’d bore Richie McCaw rigid by ear-bashing him about rugby, so I’m going with Bill Clinton, round a corner in Winslow, Arizona, in a flatbed Ford.
Favourite movie car scene?
Any opening scene from a James Bond movie.
Would you rather drive or be passenger?
Hitherto, I’d have said passenger, but the Touareg has reignited my love for driving.
What do you listen to in your car?
I listen to talk radio. Either Radio Sport or Newstalk ZB. Failing that, it’s the soundtrack of my life on my iPhone.
What’s a great day trip out of Dunedin?
Queenstown is a three-and-a-quarter hour drive from Dunedin, but it’s worth it. It’s paradise on our back doorstep.
Do you judge a person by what they drive?
No. I’m not that superficial. I normally judge people by what comes out of their mouth.
What irritates you most about other drivers?
I detest campervan drivers who won’t pull over. Then, when they reach a passing lane, they speed up!
North Island versus South Island roads … which are the best?
South Island roads in a canter. Drive through Mackenzie Country to Central Otago if you don’t believe me.
Do you have a special number plate?
FSHOW. It was a 50th birthday present and is an abbreviation of the Farming Show, which is now of course The Country.