Me & My Car: Just different enough
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Ian Thursfield, Partner, Deal Advisory at KPMG and his little Alfa Mito
What are you driving?
A red 2010 Alfa Romeo Mito Cloverleaf. It’s petrol, manual, 1400cc. I bought it second-hand in New Zealand from a work colleague returning to Canada. Don’t tell her, but it was a steal.
Why this car?
My dad had an Alfasud years ago so there’s an element of continuing the tradition. The Mito’s a bit different from standard hatches but still practical (including a tow bar). The interior is all leather and a nice place to be. It goes like stink (under carefully controlled track conditions) when you press the go faster button. The only downside is the front spoiler is ridiculously low and fragile.
Who else drives your car?
My wife and, occasionally, my eldest son when he is “family ubering” me home after a few beers.
How does your car suit your personality?
It’s just a little different without being silly. I’ve driven blingy expensive cars and come to two conclusions: I don’t trust myself with anything more powerful or worse handling than a Mito and, the blingier the car the more I worry about damage and theft.
At 18, I bought a Landrover series 2A with my brother, christened it Charlene after Kylie Minogue’s character in Neighbours, and loved it just as much. Used more oil than petrol, struggled to get above 60km/h and eventually the engine gave up but I still have fond memories.
Your dream car?
For summer, a Mercedes SL from the late 60s would do the trick, though my practical favourite would be an Audi A5 coupe.
Who taught you to drive?
A driving instructor. My parents had given up by the time I came along, after my older brother forgot to straighten after a turn-off and put Dad’s car over a wall into a field.
What do you keep in your vehicle?
A copy of Exile on Main Street, a fuel card and some biros.
Do you prefer manual or automatic?
Manual all the way; I’m trying to force my boys all to get their manual licenses with mixed results.
Most memorable road trip?
We had a great family trip from Queenstown past the glaciers, through Kaikoura, ending in Nelson. A reminder of the beauty of the landscape and people, and also that it’s a long way between petrol stations in the South Island, though we never ran out.
Funniest thing that has happened to you in a car?
At university in London, 12 of us decided to hop into a Fiat Panda after a bit too much wine and drive down The Mall to say hello to the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Got stopped by the police and let off with not so much as a warning. It may have helped that a couple of the occupants of the car were in Navy reservists’ uniform.
Favourite movie car scene?
The whole of the Bruce McLaren movie is great. Prior to that, anything from a Bond movie is good, even the naff Lotus Esprit submarine scene from The Spy Who Loved Me.
If you could go anywhere, in any car, with anyone?
I would like to recreate A Trip to Italy with James May in tow, stop at all the same restaurants, but swap the car from the Mini Cooper Convertible to an Alfa boat-tail Duetto Spider c 1969.
What do you listen to when you’re driving?
Bluetooth is a great for catching up with friends and family on the way into work. Recently I’ve been discovering the pleasure of silence in the car; silent contemplation is a much underrated pastime.
Great day trip out of Auckland?
A trip to Whakapapa to the snow is a long day but a great day.
And Auckland’s traffic?
A cross-town tunnel like the new Waterview tunnel would be great. It’s not too late to re-purpose the new rail tunnel to be ready for self-drive electric cars.