Friday, June 6, 2014

(Opel) Rekord Keeping

My dad was a stud. I know, most kids think their dads are studs. But mine really was! At 53, I have met a lot of admirable men, but none have struck me as impressively as my father. He was simply one of a kind.
As I look back on my childhood and try to put him back into my mind's eye, and relate this to a drive story, the one thing that now pops up is my dad's love of cars, and an especial penchant and affinity for the Coupe. Or as he used to call it, the "Coupé!"

In college he had what would now be classic.
After college with marriage and a child, he did the responsible thing and bought the then Honda Accord of it's time the Mercedes 190.

But at the drop of a hat it seems and for no good sound reason except to be a stud, he bought the Miata of it's time the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia.

After that a made in Iran Rambler or as it was marqed the Arya. Metallic dark teal blue. A surprisingly resilient piece of shit. I can still smell the vinyl seats. I'm assuming my unexplainably negative feelings toward this car comes from my dad, who I am going to assume likely hated it.

Caption for Iran-made Rambler
The newspaper ad reads,
"Stronger than me (tiger),
Prettier than me (pretty woman),
Faster than me! (deer)"
I'm not sure of the process that led to the now infamous Opel Rekord Coupé, because I was simply too young, but knowing my dad, I am assuming he slowly formed the idea over a while, and then reached the decision point, and then snapped and pulled it off! The concern and surprise is that although my mom is equally formative in my mind and life, somehow she did not seem to mind it. Or that he pulled it off without telling her.

What I only faintly remember was during one of our many trips to Germany to visit our mother's side of the family, on one such visit, my mom telling me and my brother Kambiz, that we were "...going to be stopping off at a car factory to order your father's new car..."

I remember sitting in a car showroom on a rainy day in the summer, somewhere near Stuttgart, because "somewhere near Stuttgart" was always the starting point for our summer trips to Germany. Mom went in with our Uncle Christian and came out a few minutes later "All set, let's go".

The transaction that took place while me and Kambiz sat n the lobby, still amazes me to this day.

My father had taken an assignment from the Iranian Oil company to move to Algeria for a two year technical staff on loan assignment, you see back then, Iran was a relative expert in Oil exploration and the Algerians coming off their revolution against the French needed assistance developing their now liberated oil fields. Who knew that later in the 70's this good-will relationship would return the favor in helping the US and Iran negotiate the freedom of the hostages.
My mom had arranged, in a matter of minutes, for a brand new Opel Rekord Coupé to be first sent to a custom shop to have the then trademark of cool, black textured top added, and then she was to drive it to Hamburg, and arrange for it to be shipped to Algeria. My mom did this. Dad was off preparing for us to move to Algeria.

While we lived in Algeria we took the Opel to the Sahara desert. Mom crashed the Opel one day running off a rain slicked road. To repair it we had to send the car to Spain, the nearest Opel repair shop. While the car was being repaired we bought a temporary Peugeot 504, which I'm guessing did not go over well.

We literally travelled the world with that car, driving it back to Iran from via Spain after it had been repaired. Via Gibraltar. Via France. Via England. Via Belgium. Via Germany. Via Italy. Via Bulgaria. Via Turkey. Turkey took about as long as the rest of the trip. My dad driving, my mom, me and Kambiz on the mother of all road-trips. In an Opel Rekord Coupé.

Come to think of it, my mom is the real stud in the story.

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