Ryan 'Fitzy' Fitzgerald is a Mitsubishi man
RYAN "Fitzy” Fitzgerald was a Mitsubishi man decades before he became an ambassador for the brand.
The television and radio personality worked on the Mitsubishi production line in Adelaide, installing seats in the locally built Magna. He earned enough to snag a cheap Magna VR-X but the relationship ended in tears.
"I loved that car but on a wet day in Sydney I drove into the rear of old lady who decided to stop quickly on a green light. Shattered.”
The former Adelaide AFL player's earliest childhood motoring memories were in his mum and dad's Ford Cortina.
"We drove from Adelaide to the Gold Coast to see my aunty and uncle. It took us three days, the Cortina overheated in Forbes and Dad took off the radiator cap in his footy shorts and the hot water sprayed all up his groin,” he says.
"The rest of the trip was very unpleasant for him and us.”
His first solo drive was a road trip in a Holden HQ Kingswood wagon. "Drove down to Victor Harbor to the Crown Hotel and eventually slept in the back. Independence.”
That was followed by a memorable trip from Adelaide to Lorne in Victoria for the 1997 Falls Festival. "A good mate drove his ute and we made beds in the back. Highly illegal but very comfortable,” he says.
Despite his early association with the nuts and bolts of car assembly, Fitzgerald says a car is more about dependability than excitement.
"It's A to B for me. I look at a car for practicality, not how fast it can go,” he says.
Brought up on quieter Adelaide streets, he struggles with the traffic in his adopted home of Sydney and admits to occasionally letting the traffic get to him.
"I learnt how to flip the bird from my father at a very early age,” he says.
To keep himself sane behind the wheel he likes to tune into Roy and HG and says the digital radio in his Outlander is the one feature he couldn't do without.
The heated seats, on the other hand, are a continual source of frustration. "My wife has them on consistently, even in the middle of summer,” he says.