Me and my car: Graham Bell

By Donna McIntyre

Graham Bell, host of Police Ten 7 and retired detective says he has seen it all on the country's roads

Picture / Nic Stavely
Picture / Nic Stavely

What do you drive?

I have two vehicles. One is a new Toyota Aurion Sportivo, a beautiful car I use on Police Ten 7. It bears the number plate TEN 7. Toyota NZ are big supporters of our show. I also have a 1958 International Pickup truck, bright red and powered by a 2006 ZZ4 Chev V8 engine.

What's the main consideration when buying a vehicle?

A car has to fit with your lifestyle. At work I need a large car for travelling long distances with our crew and their equipment. The Aurion is perfect - and the V6 engine has amazing power and performance. In my private life I need something powerful that I can tow my boat and work trailer.

First car you owned?

A 1934 Morris Ten 4. I had it for about a year as a teenager before I sold it to a man who broke it up for parts.

Your dream car ...

I am not into super cars or luxury brands. I would love to own a new Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. I also hanker after the Highlander and Hilux models.

Favourite car colour?

Bright red.

Who taught you to drive?

My father (Ron Bell) taught me to drive in his 1935 Ford V8 when I was 14 rising 15. He taught me in the streets of Hamilton and around Hamilton Lake. He was pretty good; even though he wasn't overly blessed with patience. The old cars like the V8 required genuine driving skills to keep control. Ours used to slip out of second gear. I went for my licence in it and the traffic officer said not to worry about it because it was a common fault; just hold it in place until you change into another gear.

Manual or automatic?

I used to prefer manual transmission - but with a bit of advancing age I have grown lazy and prefer auto.

What's the most bizarre thing you have seen a driver do?

I once pursued a man in his car with a young family just south of Tokoroa. He was driving like a lunatic, passing people on blind corners and into the face of oncoming vehicles and shouting at his wife. When I got him out of the car he explained he was desperate to get to a toilet for number twos. I had a similar thing on Auckland's waterfront when I stopped a guy clutching a plastic bag full of water and tropical fish which he thought would die if he didn't get to his destination quickly.

You host Police Ten 7 and are a retired detective ... does that mean you have a squeaky clean driving record ... no speeding or parking tickets?

Do you really think I am going to publicly admit to anything like that? Suffice to say that I am no different to anyone else in that regard. Oh all right then; my record is cleanish but doesn't squeak!

Most memorable road trip?

Our tour around the South Island in my truck. A highlight was Invercargill's Bill Richardson Truck Museum.

What do you listen to?

My wife. No, just joking. I have an eclectic collection of music on my cellphone which I play on the car stereo with Bluetooth. I also tune into The Sound radio. In the truck I use a USB drive to play the same music collection.

What's a great day trip out of Auckland?

A trip south through Maraetai Beach, past Orere Point to the Firth of Thames, Miranda and Waitakaruru. It's a beautiful scenic drive with lots of places to stop for a cup of tea or picnic.

Would you rather drive in Auckland or take public transport?

Sorry Len, but public transport is still not reliable enough for my needs. So therefore I drive.

Do you have a special number plate?

Ten 7 on the car and 58INTL on the truck.

- NZ Herald

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