I’m currently in the middle of reading a rather good book, the story of a man living out his life in a Moscow hotel. Can’t really tell you any more because it would spoil the story, should you be fortunate enough to read it yourself. I guess that means I’d thoroughly recommend it to any of you who enjoy reading books. We came across this one via the Blonde’s book club. A great way to discover books one would not normally seek out oneself.
So am I going to tell you which book it is? ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ by Amor Towles. This fabulous read is interesting, amusing and fun. And importantly, beautifully written, the author’s command of language is a pleasure in itself. If you like that kind of thing of course. It happens that we do. Generally the two of us, the Blonde and I, like to read the same book more or less at the same time. We can then chat about it over a glass or two.
Now what has this got to do with cars? For some reason I was inspired to write about a car and its owner, both of whom were at the The Boat House last Wednesday night. The story starts a few weeks ago when I wrote about the Saturday goings on at Mallorca Classic Week. The car was spotted and snapped there as it was leaving. It’s a Volvo P1800 on UK plates, quite unusual here. The car The Saint drove, although his was white and this one is metallic blue. Being on UK plates, I imagined it was a weekend visitor just over for the event. But no, here it was on a Wednesday night.
Big deal you’re thinking, you’ve seen the same car twice in a few weeks, so what. You’re right, that wasn’t the interesting bit. But here it is, the owner didn’t see his car for over 20 years. Originally his father’s car, it was made in 1967 in Sweden as were all Volvo P1800s after 1963. As an aside, Jensen made them from 1961 to 1963 but quality problems brought the manufacture back to Sweden until the final model was made in 1973. So back to the story, in 1976 when the family moved, the car was re-registered in England, hence the ‘T’ plates. In 1999 the well travelled P1800 then found itself in Amsterdam, no, not in that district, but needing some work at a Volvo specialist.
At that time the Owner’s father had other things on his mind so the car stayed there for a while, a twenty year while. His father had always said, this car will be yours one day. And the son went to live in the States and so on and so on, as we sons do. 20 years later he’s living in Majorca and one day is thinking Volvo. A phone call to the garage results in ‘yeah I think it’s still here somewhere...’ Inevitably the result is a drive up to Amsterdam with a trailer. That’s after the Volvo has been brought back to life by the specialist. Not a difficult task apparently, the car is a Volvo after all.
So some people see a car every few weeks and some see their car every twenty years. And the son has the car in the end, so the story has a happy ending. You can see it here now, there should be a photo or two.
And now for something completely different, a 1952 Chevrolet Belair Styleline Deluxe. Lovely old girl is how most people would describe this one. But I don’t see these Chevys as old girls (see photo). Older maybe, but for me, the personality is more like an old boy, a slightly mischievous one. It does after all roll along very nicely, no muscle car but no slouch either.
Hopefully the bad weather forecast for this week will turn out to be not quite so bad and I’ll be able to bring you some more dry stories on four wheels.