Behind the White Wheel

Behind the White Wheel

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sundry Feelings Throughout an Event…and More

Merry Christmas! I am back after this long absence…Yes, I was kind of busy, maybe lazy, but mostly busy…I enjoyed the endless summer activities, drove my car a lot…really a lot, participated in the Deir El Qamar Classical Cars Show, gave my car a long time needed engine overhauling (full of adventures) and found back my serenity almost three weeks ago…

As a start, driving my car during the extremely hot summer of 2010 wasn’t as agreeable as it used to be. As a classic cars lover, or freak, I found the “ultimate” solution for that problem: Drive my car only to go to the beach, or up to the mountains, or at night when there’s no traffic and no sun…thus the heat problem was kind of neutralized pragmatically…hoping for a cooler 2011 summer season!

September came along with the Deir El Qamar Classical Cars Show. I participated in this show along with around 30 other cars owners. The muscle cars raced in the Hill Climb while our cars; sedans, coupes, convertibles…etc. were parked on Dany Chamoun’s Square. Thanks to my long time friend David Baz, I was able to take some interesting pictures from the top of his house overlooking the square.

There is a special thing about driving my Mercedes-Benz to Deir El Qamar at 7:00 AM on a Sunday morning. A part from the beautiful fresh weather, the striking scenery in the Chouf Mountains, and the fact that the journey usually counts more than the destination itself, passing through some streets of Beirut, particularly Gemayzeh, Mar Mikhael, Tabaris, Abdel Wahab, Hamra…etc makes me feel a bit of remorse and bitterness. This mind-set comes when I see construction sharks demolishing some of the most beautiful old buildings of Beirut. These buildings reflect the whole history of the Beirutis. Every street’s inimitable life, unmatched stories, unique people…etc. are erased with each demolished building. While owning my Mercedes-Benz attach me in a way or another to the pre war Beirut, a city I only knew through yellowish old pictures and aged stories, these buildings and streets facets connect me to my childhood and teenage years! Losing them is equivalent to losing my past, my character, my “who I am”…

Once in Deir El Qamar and the parking spots assigned, I found my car between a Mercedes-Benz 220S ponton and a green 1960 Dodge. The group of cars among which my car was parked comprised other than the 220S, and the Dodge a red cute Simca Aronde, the late President Camille Chamoun’s Bentley and two Cadillac sedans. Again, this same dolce vita era that the cars reflected popped out in my face, now in a happier way. All the participants shared my passion and talked excitingly about their cars and their respective histories! I knew I wasn’t the only one to keep a wonderful piece of a sweet past in my everyday life.

On the left side of the square, facing the main road, the muscle cars sat proudly. My friend and IPOG (International Pontons Owners’ Group) member Farouk El Khalil white Pontiac Trans Am figured among them. Farouk participated in the race and arrived 6th despite the car’s relatively bad tires.

The right side of the Square, facing the Mary Baz Museum featured Camille Chamoun Jr. Ford Cobra, a 1960 black Chevrolet Corvette, a sky blue late 60s or early 70s BMW Coupe, a 1948 Cadillac Coupe, a 1966 black Ford Mustang, a black 1960 Mercedes-Benz 190sl and the car I liked most in the show, a red with off-white stylish interior 1965 Ford Thunderbird (I will write about it in details at a later stage).

This diversified gathering shouldn’t be the only yearly event pertaining to classic cars in Lebanon. Classic cars as I believe are a primordial aspect of our cultural heritage. Movements to preserve Beirut’s heritage should place such events on their calendars, to help the younger generations connect physically with the past and feel attached to it without being caught in it.

That was mainly the Deir el Qamar Classical Cars Show! The pictures speak of themselves, my mind already did. It was a beautiful experience; I’ll do my best to make it happen more often!

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