Me and My Car: Looks and pulling power
CHRIS SATTLER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, AUCKLAND SEAPLANES, TALKS ABOUT HIS MERCEDES
So you drive a Mercedes-Benz ML320?
Yes, it’s a silver automatic 1999. We bought it second-hand in 2014. We have a trailer for our aircraft, a fuel trailer and also one for a boat, so we needed a car that was able to pull two-plus tonnes of gear. At the same time we were looking for a good-looking, comfortable car within our budget, so our ML fitted that bill. We will be looking for a new company car soon — possibly a double-cab ute — to transport all our equipment.
Who else is allowed to drive your car?
Our staff can drive the car for work.
First car you owned?
Gosh, this goes back a long way to the early 1980s in Europe. My first car was an Opel Kadett (aka the Holden/Vauxhall/GM Viva), which was just a basic student runaround. Once I could afford it, I switched to an Alfa Romeo, which was beautiful and a great drive but broke down on a holiday in Greece.
Your dream car …
A Jaguar E-Type or a Mercedes 300 SL GullWing. Those are two of the most beautiful car designs and they also fit my age group.
Favourite car colour?
British Racing Green. I drove a Mazda MX5 for a long time and just loved the combination of green and brown leather. That car is now 25 years old and still lovingly cared for by my youngest brother.
Who taught you to drive?
I grew up in Germany. You could get your licence when you were 18 but everybody had to go to a registered driving school with a minimum of, from memory, about 20 hours of driving in the city, on the motorway at night, etc. You also had to do a set of theoretical exams. I had a great instructor.
Do you prefer manual or automatic?
Given the traffic situation, an automatic.
And would you prefer to be the passenger or the driver?
The driver. I am good with directions and probably prefer to be in control.
Most memorable road trip?
We took a family trip in a camper van from Auckland to Christchurch and had lots of fun on the way, especially with my wife who created the term “chopstick sleeping” on the trip since our kids insisted on sleeping in the same bed as us.
If you could go anywhere in the world with anyone, in any car?
I would take a convertible and drive the Italian Alps. I would take my wife and kids in either spring or summer so we would have have to a four-seater convertible — perhaps a 1968 Fiat Spyder.
What do you listen to in your car?
Mostly rock, such as Metallica or U2 unless my wife takes control, then it turns to Dream Theater.
Favourite car movie scene?
Back to the Future with the DeLorean time machine.
Auckland transport — car, bus, train or bike to get around?
I use a bit of everything, except trains as they don’t go to where I live/need to be. I often walk to work to get some exercise.
And how would you solve Auckland’s traffic congestion?
We need more public transport and, unfortunately, some smart way of paying for using the roads/access to the CBD. I lived in Singapore in the late 80s and they already had car-sharing on the way to town and access fees for the CBD during the busiest times.
What’s a great day trip out of Auckland?
Up to Matakana for the vineyards, beaches and horse riding.
Do you judge people by what they drive?
Sometimes and possibly it is unjustified.
What irritates you most about other drivers?
If people lose their temper.
Would you rather be flying or driving?
Flying. It gets me where cars can’t go. The views are definitely better.