MERRILL GUTTENBEIL, PROPERTY AND RENTAL MANAGER, EXECUTIVE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
What do you drive?
I’m driving a black, automatic Audi A3 TFSi S-Line Cabriolet, New Zealand new in 2012. I purchased it in November last year. I liked the Audi because of its good looks, being convertible, not too big like the A4s and A5s, the 1.8-litre engine which meant less petrol consumption, very low mileage, and one lady owner before me who lived in New Plymouth.
I could visualise my signage on the Audi. The rear bumper was continuous without being interrupted with a number plate in the middle. That meant I was able to have car signage span the full width of the bumper which allows for great advertising. The name “Executive”, the houndstooth trim and the burgundy combination of the signage really works well on the black Audi. Classy and tasteful.
I get heaps of compliments on how it looks. It drives beautifully and it feels like new inside because the previous owner had hardly driven it. I also have a little runaround, Nissan March which is sign-written as well.
Why a convertible?
Being convertible makes the car with signage stand out among other cars. It makes the car look like a classy, fun car, not too conservative.
I had another convertible years ago; it was a Honda City cabriolet but that was to promote teaching aerobics and I also used to make aerobics and gym gear. And it was psychedelic pink, green and purple. It was gorgeous.
What about the effect on your hair when you’ve got the top down?
I have my hair out often when I drive my car. As long as the tinted windows are fully up I don’t get the wind howling around the inside. If it’s really sunny and hot I will have my hair in a ponytail and wear cap and sunglasses.
Who else is allowed to drive your car?
Usually only I drive the Audi. However I was out with a friend and I had a few wines but she hadn’t been drinking, so that was the first time someone else had driven my car.
What do you always have in your car?
I always have spare caps and sunglasses for passengers in the glove box.
I have a drink bottle, microfibre cloth, small black rubbish bag hooked on to the shift stick, business cards, pen and note book, spare make-up bag, car manual. In the boot I have signboards, a raincoat and spare tyre.
What’s your driving style?
To be considerate of other drivers and pedestrians. I’m reasonably patient and cautious.
How often do you clean your car?
Every two weeks. The car is parked in a garage at night.
Who taught you to drive?
My sister taught me to drive. She used to give me a whack on the arm if I did something wrong. My father taught her and then she went for her licence a couple of times, whereas I went in the first time and got it, so she must have done something right.
What was your first car?
A Hillman Humber and it was in really good nick. It had only done about 30,000km, it had belonged to an old lady.
I’m happy with my Audi but my dream car could be a black Porsche Carrera, black convertible Maserati, a black convertible Jaguar or Bentley. I just love the look of them. Before I bought my Audi I was looking to get a convertible Audi TT and it had red leather upholstery which would have really suited my signage but it doesn’t have two seats at the back. My son test drove it, and said what happens if we need to hitch a ride? Funnily enough, they don’t drive with me anyway.
Great day trip out of Auckland?
Driving to visit a girlfriend at Mangawhai Heads. Lovely sunny day, lovely country and, eventually, beautiful sea views.
Your take on Auckland’s traffic?
I’m used to the traffic. There never seem to be enough lanes on the motorways to handle peak time traffic. I tend to avoid making appointments during those times.