Me and my car: Sir Peter Leitch

By Donna McIntyre

Sir Peter Leitch, better known as the Mad Butcher and New Zealand's most devout Warriors fan, shares his choices of wheels with Driven.

Sir Peter Leitch with his Toyota Hilux. Photo / Ted Baghurst.
Sir Peter Leitch with his Toyota Hilux. Photo / Ted Baghurst.

What do you drive?

A black 2008 Toyota Hilux. I have an Audi S8 as well. I bought the Toyota because I was just looking for something sturdy to use at my Waiheke Island house. It's four-wheel-drive, has a nice big canopy on the back so I can put plenty of stuff in and, of course, I have my lovely Warriors stickers on it. And I bought the Audi because my wife sat in one and said it was very comfortable.

Your first car?

A 1940 Austin Ten, I think it was blue. I bought it because it fitted into my price range.

Your dream car ...

I'm very content with what I've got. Both cars are getting a bit old but still go very well. I just put a new set of tyres on the Toyota. That's one thing I would say, you've gotta have good tyres. You're talking about your life. If you haven't got good tyres, you haven't got control of your vehicle.

Favourite car colour?

Blue but both my cars are black.

Who taught you to drive?

I think it was my father. All I can say is most people think I am a terrible driver. I taught a couple of my brothers-in-law to drive and they're great drivers, if I say so myself.

Manual or automatic?

Automatic, with power steering, that's the two things I want in a car.

Most memorable road trip?

I drove to Wellington many years ago in the days when I was working very hard in a 1950 Morris Minor and I remember my wife waking me up as we were just about to go over a bloody bank. Most recently, whenever I go to Invercargill I get a Kia supplied to me and I do some lovely trips around Southland. The drive from Queenstown to Invercargill is beautiful. And those Kias aren't bad. Mate, I'd buy one.

How often do you clean your car?

I don't. I get it valeted at the Koru Club at the airport. They do a magnificent job.

What do you listen to?

If I'm driving around, it's talkback. Or at night I tune into my old mate Murray Deaker. Or Coast. I flit around the stations a bit.

What's a great day trip out of Auckland?

Recently we went out to Clevedon, to Beachlands; it's a pleasant trip. A really good trip is to go to Waiheke with the car and have a cruise around. It's magnificent, beautiful bays, beautiful little eateries, from a nice vineyard to Vino Vino or the Bowling Club or the RSA. You go on the car ferry and chill out and arrive nice and fresh.

Do you judge a person by what they drive?

No, bloody hell. I take people as I find them.

Who else is allowed to drive your car?

I'll let anyone drive, I'm not fussy. When we got the Audi, I went to the local dairy and this guy was admiring my car. So I let him touch it and then he had a look at the motor, he was in heaven. And then I asked if he would like to come for a drive. I ended up letting him have a little drive of it.

Do you have a special number plate?

I used to have "mad" but I got too many tickets. I got rid of that quickly.

Cyclists and cars ... is there room for both on NZ roads?

Some roads, they go hand in hand; on others you are putting lives at risk. I'm particular where I ride my bike.

Would you rather drive in Auckland or take public transport?

I've never taken public transport but I do want to take my grandsons on the train one day.

As told to Donna McIntyre

- NZ Herald

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