DriveLife: Who are we?
We are car people. You can read about each of the team members below, but one thing is for certain: The DriveLife team loves cars, motorbikes, and motoring in general.
This sets us apart from some other magazines that simply see this as a job; we do it because we love all things automotive.
That love has turned into almost 3,000 posts in our magazine, and this includes well over 400 car reviews. Another thing that sets us apart? Our car reviews are feature-length, and this means when you are looking at buying a specific car, we will have the most in-depth review of that car in New Zealand.
Why are we the most in-depth? Our photographs are all taken by us; we very rarely will use a manufacturer’s supplied images, and our photos are the best in the business. Our reviews are feature-length, so while many “car reviews” online and in printed magazines are around 600-1,000 words long, ours range from 3,000 to 5,000 words. In addition to this, our journalists are real car people, who live and breathe cars. Our team have a large collection of vehicles from SUV’s, EV’s, sports cars, supercars, hatchbacks, wagons, classics, and racecars.
Why such long reviews? We know that when you are looking to buy a car, you want to know everything about it; what’s it really like to live with on a daily basis? What are the annoying little things that a car might do? We do this because we have been those buyers too, and we want to know all that we can about a car before plonking down our hard-earned cash. That’s why we strive to be the No.1 most in-depth car-review website in New Zealand.
DriveLife: Meet The Team
Fred Alvrez – Managing Editor / Senior Motoring Journalist
I’ve has been in the publishing industry for over 25 years, starting with a role with New Zealand Security Magazine, eventually becoming its Editor. Along the way, I have written for numerous newspapers and magazines, including a weekly column for The TV Guide. I came to DriveLife (then Autoclique) in 2015 as a Motoring Journalist.
A self-confessed car nut, I’ve owned a string of interesting vehicles in the last 40 years. It started with a Vauxhall Victor with three-on-the-tree on getting my license, and moved into things like Triumph Stags, Rover P6 3500Bs, a Chrysler Limousine Coupe, a Dodge Ram towing a 6-ton 5th wheel RV, a 2016 Dodge Challenger I bought new in LA, and far too many others that I want to admit to. My current stable includes a 1965 Sunbeam Tiger, and a 1990 C4 Corvette with just 50,000Km on the clock. You can read about the purchase of the C4 here, and the series includes a 12,000Km road trip across the USA in 2019, with as much of Route 66 as we could fit in.
As a passionate road-safety advocate, I am an Observer for the Institue Of Advanced Motorists, so this means that I take out fully-licensed drivers and mentor them to an advanced driving standard.
Fred is a full member of the New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild, becoming their Secretary/Treasurer in 2018.
John Galvin – Advertising Manager / Senior Motoring Journalist
I have been around the block, as they say, with many different careers. But the one thing that has stayed true is my passion for cars. I have worked as an Architect in Ireland, then moved into Visual Effects in the commercials industry for a couple of years in New Zealand. After that I went to work at Weta Digital for 12 years, working on a variety of feature films (IMDB) including Furious 7 (where I made the digital Toyota Supra for Paul Walker). During my time at Weta, DriveLife was born, which started life as AutoClique NZ. The initial focus was more of a club or group and over time it evolved into the site it is today. After the birth of my daughter, I left the movie industry and turned my focus towards cars. I am the director and owner of several companies, one of New Zealand’s premier automotive and classic car restoration studios in Wellington called The Surgery. There’s also Detail Depot, an online store that retails premium car care products like CarPro.
On top of the many cars we get to review, I have been fortunate in owning a wide range of exciting vehicles, from a Holden Commodore VE GTS, V8 Audi S5 ( a sedan and an Avant) a twin-turbo V10 Audi RS6, and an Audi R8 V8. My current daily driver is my go-anywhere family practical Land Rover Discovery 4. I also have two side projects, a BMW 2002 Racecar and an EV conversion of a VW Karmann Ghia.
Rob Clubley – Senior Motoring Journalist
One of my earliest memories is going to a UK motor show with my dad and seeing all of the gleaming, brand-new 1980s technology on the show. And collecting dozens of free stickers!
As a child, I was able to identify everything on the UK roads by the shape of its taillights. Obsessed is a strong word, but cars are often on my mind. They just fascinate me in so many ways. The way they look, sound and smell, the way they feel to drive, the way they are engineered and built, the details and the developments. The differences between models and markets, the way people use and customise them. Cars to me are more than just a machine or a mode of transport. There’s a relationship there, a give and take, a pleasure to be had in the feedback from a vehicle, from getting that gear change just right, or executing the perfect parallel park.
My main career has been in IT but I have always been a car enthusiast at heart. And something about that show stuck, with my bedroom wall posters being a Testarossa, a Countach and an Audi ur Quattro.
My daily driver history is mostly European, with far too much effort and money being poured into one particular Skoda wagon, but I have a weakness for old Audis. Starting with a 1987 Coupe Quattro barn find in the UK which I got back on the road, made mistakes, struggled to find parts for, and eventually sold for next-to-nothing. Then apparently having learnt very little from that experience, buying a 1985 urQuattro that was in a sorry state, and going through a much longer, more difficult and expensive restoration. But it’s a passion, and these things can’t always be explained with logic.
Writing an impromptu car review on the AutoClique forum led to me becoming a motoring journalist for AutoClique, which later became DriveLife. Eight years and hundreds of cars later and I’m still loving it.
Rob is a full member of the New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild
Ken Saito – Senior Motoring Journalist
Your man in Japan. I’ve been based in Tokyo, Japan for over 5 years now bringing you coverage of events and reviews of cars from the Land of the Rising Sun and beyond. I joined AutoClique back in 2014 during my final year doing a Media degree at University. Between my time writing for DriveLife New Zealand and freelancing for other sites, I dabble with the odd sourcing cars from Japan as well.
Current daily is a Renault Megane RS265 Cup and a Honda S2000 to fulfil my childhood dream.
Alistair Weekes – Motoring Journalist
I guess I’m the young buck of the crew and began writing for DriveLife back in 2020. The petrol-head bug bit me early, where I was able to name most car brands on the road from as young as three. Being a 90’s kid, I grew up with the Gran Turismo generation. JDM vehicles are my preference, but I can easily be swayed with an old European.
The love for cars naturally progressed into a love for motorcycles and includes all things engineering. As much as I appreciate their technical brilliance, there’s something inherently human about a car. You can form a relationship with a car; it shares your experiences, wherever and however it’s used.
During the day, my career is in financial markets, where I currently work as a capital markets regulator.
My current garage has three Mazda MX-5’s (daily, racing and safe-keeping), a Honda S2000, and a Triumph Street Triple R. In the past, I’ve owned a Honda Integra DC2, a Kawasaki Ninja, a manual-swapped BMW 328i, and another MX-5. I probably should buy something more practical at some point.
Alistair is a full member of the New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild
DriveLife: What Drives Us?
As you can see, we are all a bit car mad, but that is what drives us. Even though DriveLife began its life as AutoClique in 2012. Its goals were to bring like-minded people together, which it has, within our team and with our readers.
The reality of what we had started has evolved quickly, and that change meant that our new direction was to raise the bar of all vehicle reviews in New Zealand.