The international motoring experiences of TV3's entertainment reporter Kate Rodger are similar to the movies she has watched over the years.
Driving scooters in Italy sounds like a scene from Roman Holiday, a Kombi trip around Europe like the Kiwi movie Kombi Nation, and one driving experience that would make a great chick flick is a trip from LA in a white V8 Ford Mustang convertible to get married in Las Vegas.
And now, as the owner of a new Mini, Kate could re-enact scenes from The Italian Job, the 2002 remake (though her favourite is the original 1969 version with Michael Caine).
Kate - who is often seen interviewing international television and movie stars, reviewing flicks or fronting her film show, Reel Late With Kate for TV3 - says she's a "little bit of a Herne Bay bogan, I always have loved cars".
The 44-year-old Aucklander's passion for cars can be pinpointed to the fact she was delayed in getting her driver's licence.
"My Dad made me wait until I was 17 [instead of 15], which I thought was very sexist as my brother got his licence at 15.
"So by time I had my car, I was a very angry, aggressive driver, which hasn't changed," she says with a laugh.
Her first car was a 1969 red VW Beetle, followed by a white VW 1300 and - after moving to England - the Volkswagen theme continued with the Kombi, a 1972 pop-top orange van nicknamed Bob.
"We bought her in London and drove her all around Europe for five months and sold her for the same price we paid for her," says Kate.
"I loved driving the Kombi because it had a very big steering wheel that you could just lean on as you drove."
And driving - no matter where in the world - is a joy for Kate. Her vehicles aren't just a mode of transport.
"I need a car that belongs to me," she says. "I have a real relationship with my cars; they're not just a way of getting from A to B."
So on her return to New Zealand from London eight years ago, Kate knew her car had to be something special.
"I lived in London for eight years and hated not driving. I missed it so much. So when I moved back to New Zealand, my Dad and I decided I was going to get an MG because he's a massive MG fan."
Kate and her father Ian imported a 1996 MGF, in British racing green, from Japan through a friend.
She paid $10,000 for it - and over the years spent about the same amount in repairs.
"The best way of describing that vehicle is that she is just like that really hot, really bad boyfriend who treats you badly but every now and again takes you out on this amazing date and you go 'I love you, I know you are this complete prick, but I love you'.
"The name for the MG was the Baby G and when she was doing really well she was the G Spot, but that didn't happen often enough to warrant that name."
Although her relationship with the MGF was rocky, she admits it was a fantastic car to drive.
"The thing I loved about her was the close proximity to the ground, the tidy, gorgeous little gearbox and she could always get me out of trouble."
The MGF also provided transport for extraordinary North Island journeys.
"I had amazing adventures and trips in that car.
"One of the most memorable, and the last one, was driving back from Tutukaka and I took the turn off at Wellsford and drove back to Auckland via Port Albert and Helensville with the roof off and the music blaring."
Shortly after that trip, the MGF failed its WOF for the last time and now it's up on blocks in Ian's garage.
Kate knew that the replacement car had to be just as exciting, so she went to Mini Garage - a car dealership-cum-cafe on Ponsonby Rd - and took a couple of Mini Coopers for a drive.
"I loved them, but they were beyond my budget at the time," she says.
Her criteria were that the car was a hatchback, easy to park, had a manual gearbox with a 1.6- to 2-litre engine and was "a little bit fast and furious".
So Kate drove a variety of new cars - from the Ford Focus and Fiesta, to the Mazda2 and 3, a Toyota Yaris and VW's Golf and Polo.
"When I say I'm a bogan, I don't know how engines work - I know that I love a fast little car that can get me around with a smile on my face," she says. "But none of them made my heart sing like the Mini."
So after four months of test drives, including having cars over weekends and even a week, she returned to Mini Garage.
Mini New Zealand had launched the Mini Ray, a 1.6-litre car that starts from $29,200 - within her budget - and although Kate wanted a black Mini with chequered roof, she ended up with limited-edition Vintage Silver.
"I never expected to buy a new car. It had 12km on the clock - that's what it took to drive from Team McMillan in Newmarket to the Ponsonby dealership."
In the month after the purchase, Kate clocked up 1000km in the car she's named Moo.
"The first weekend I had her, I went to Leigh [north of Auckland] for the day. In the drive from Matakana to Leigh through the winding roads, I let the gearbox do everything and we bonded. The windows were down, it was a gorgeous day, and I think I shed a tear."
After the convertible, Kate appreciates a small car and the driving experience it can provide: "I need to have a manual car - I hate automatics and I thought she was so tight and solid on the road in the cornering and the pick-up is fantastic. With the gearbox, it's where I need it to be."
Kate is looking forward to this summer and wants to take Moo on some road trips, revisiting some of her famous rides with Baby G.
Cars' starring roles
As TV3's film reviewer and a car fan, Kate Rodger rates her favourite chases and car movies.
Best car movie: Bullitt
The 1969 classic stars Steve McQueen as police Lieutenant Frank Bullitt who drives a Ford Mustang as he chases baddies around the steep streets of San Francisco - and across the working runways of San Francisco Airport - creating 10min 53sec of the most famous cinematic car chase ever.
Two 1968 390 CID V8 Ford Mustangs (325 bhp) with four-speed manual transmission were used for the chase scene.
Best car chase: The Bourne Supremacy
This thriller has two famous chases between Matt Damon's character, Jason Bourne, and assassin Kirill, played by Kiwi actor Karl Urban.
At the start of the film, Bourne drives fast around the busy roads and sugar-cane fields of Goa to evade Kirill. Later in the movie, in Kate's favourite car chase, Kirill nicks a Mercedes SUV and chases Bourne, who has carjacked a taxi, around the streets of Moscow.
Best supporting cars
A close second in the best car chase category is the amazing Audi-driving on the cobbled streets of the French town of Arles during the 1998 Robert De Niro flick Ronin. During filming, 80 cars were destroyed.
"The recent Bonds have been awesome for car chases too, especially Quantum of Solace, where James Bond rolls the Aston Martin," says Kate.
"And Christopher Nolan flipping that 18-wheeler truck on a main street of Chicago for The Dark Knight was also epic movie-making."
Kate's dream car is the Porsche 356 from Top Gun driven by Kelly McGillis's character, flight instructor Charlie.
On the road
Kate Rodger is a self-confessed car fan and loves to hit the road with the stereo blaring - even with a passenger beside her.
Kate's favourite New Zealand drive is from Thames to Coromandel township - especially with the tide high and the pohutukawa in bloom - and no campervans on the road.
She also loves the route from Auckland to Tutukaka and has had many memorable trips around Taranaki, where she worked when she began her broadcasting career on radio.
Internationally, Kate has had some sublime trips - riding Italy's Amalfi coast on scooters and driving around that country's amazing lakes, while the trip from Austria to Switzerland over the Alps was spectacular.
Although Kate is regularly in the United States interviewing film stars, she hasn't spent a lot of time on the road there and wants to drive from New York City to Vermont.
But her one famous road trip in the US was in the Mustang to Las Vegas from LA to get married.
"The drive through Death Valley was amazing and then you drop down and below you is Las Vegas, all lit up, looking alien in this landscape," she says.
"We drove along the Vegas Strip with the roof off as the lights were coming on."