Me & My Car: Jamie Mackay and his black beauty Volkswagen Amarok
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Driven talks to Jamie Mackay, host of The Country, 12-1pm on Newstalk ZB, Radio Sport and Hokonui
What are you driving?
It’s a black beauty, a 2018 Diesel V6 Auto Volkswagen Amarok with all the bells and whistles. A beast! I’m proud to be an ambassador for VW.
Wh the Amarok?
The Country has had a vehicle partnership with VW for five years. I’ve been lucky enough to drive Touaregs and Tiguans as well. But VW’s boss Tom Ruddenklau was keen to get The Country’s host into the country’s best all-wheel drive farm ute.
Is it your everyday drive?
Too right, I never drive anything else.
Who else drives it?
My wife Penny, whenever she wants. My producer Rowena, on occasions. My young on-air apprentice Lashes, never.
It’s not your first Amarok. How do the old and new compare?
All Amaroks are great but the 3-litre, V6 model is definitely another step up from the previous 2-litre, 4-cylinder model.
Any other vehicles in your garage?
My wife has a Toyota Rav 4. I should really buy her a VW Golf, eh?
How does this vehicle suit your personality?
In a deep, dark past life I used to get heaps from my workmates about driving around in a “hairdresser’s car”. I’d like to think now the Amarok epitomises my rugged and rural background.
Do you take it off road?
I have some farming interests in Southland, including a dairy farm equity partnership and a wetland enhancement programme so it gets plenty of off-road activity. It’s great for carting golf clubs, mountain bikes and my ever-present tree planting spade. I don’t tow much as everything I need fits in the well deck.
What makes this a good vehicle both for the farm and town?
The Amarok drives like a car. In fact, with its advanced all-wheel drive system it handles better than most cars. And what makes it a great farm vehicle? Grunt!
The only glitch is getting it in and out of the tight ramps in car parking buildings. And that is very much a First World problem in the grand scheme of vehicular challenges.
How often do you clean it?
I bribe the lads at the Southern Motor Group (my local VW franchise here in Dunedin) with some fine local produce (Emerson’s Pilsner) to do the job for me.
What do you keep in your Amarok?
My golf clubs, my home garage door opener and my work car park pass.
Who started your interest in cars?
My father when he taught me to drive the old Series 1 Landrover.
Any vehicles you’ve regretted selling?
Never, because I was always trading up to something bigger and better. I did shed a tear when we traded in our old Kawasaki 100 farm motorbike. I cut my teeth, literally, when I fell off that bike.
Most memorable road trip?
I drove it to Queenstown for a client promotion where we played golf at Jack’s Point with the Barrett Clan — Beauden, Scott, Jordie and their old man, Smiley.
Favourite movie car scene?
I loved the Minis in The Italian Job and Goodbye Pork Pie.
Are you heading to Fieldays?
Yup. Been going for the past 25 years. I most look forward to the networking opportunities it affords. Every man, woman and their farm dog are there. Plus the new Amarok will be there under the big VW Blimp at Site E92.
You have a farming programme, what do you believe farmers want their vehicles to do?
Farmers want a rugged ute for the tough off-road stuff but more and more I see them using their double-cab, all-wheel drive ute as their main family car. A lot of the on-farm stuff these days is done on four-wheel bikes, multi utility vehicles (side-by-sides) and sophisticated tractors.
What do you listen to?
I listen to Hosking on ZB in the morning and Radio Sport. Other than that, my default setting is my playlist from the 70s, 80s, 90s and noughties.
If you could change a road rule?
I would ban camper vans. Seriously though, vehicles driving at 80-85km/h on the open road are a bigger menace to society than those going 110km/h.
Electric and driverless cars?
Driverless no. But electric? Definitely.