Sunday, February 3, 2013

My Father's Pride

One measure of a man's worth has always been how he cares for his car. I honestly think that my father has proven himself worthy of this honor every time I see this automobile glistening pristinely in the drive way.

This car actually belonged to my grandfather. It's a Mercedes-Benz 200 or better known as the "Fintail" among car enthusiasts due to it's fin-like decals located on it's rear end. (More on this later.) My grandfather purchased this car circa 1967 and to my understanding, drove it every single day.

The thing that amazes me about this car is that my grandfather used to drive this car through rough and bumpy dirt roads to check on different farms scattered around Negros. Back in the day, roads weren't that high on the government's priority list and humongous rocks and abysmal pot-holes were a common site along the many byways of Negros Occidental. What's more is that once you got to the farms, you'd have to contend with quick-sand-like mud that would keep your car stuck for a good while. (I remember my dad telling me of the countless times my grandfather would have to call a tractor to tow his car out of a mud hole).

From the stories I gathered from my family, this car also used to be the usual family hang-out on weekends. My grandfather had 6 children and he used to take my aunts and uncles with him whenever he would make his rounds through the farms. To my understanding, my aunts and uncles would all squeeze themselves into this trusty car every weekend and brace themselves for a bumpy ride through the countryside. 

As I was talking to my family, they told me that it wasn't such as uncomfortable as you would expect. The Mercedes was large and spacey, the suspension system was superb and they had each other's company. What would usually happen was that as my grandfather attended to managing the farm, my aunts and uncles would either head down to the beach to wade in the surf or take out the pre-prepared food from the trunk and have themselves a picnic under a shadier portion of the farm. 

For me, this is more than a car, it's an important piece of family history and I'm glad that my father takes so much pride into keeping this car in tip top shape. I just hope that I'll be able to do the same for this vintage road warrior and keep it around for another hundred years or so. 

For these shots, I took the car over the old Negros railway system on the outskirts of Bacolod. There used to be a very active railway system that connected major haciendas in Negros to the main sugar refinery in Victorias (a nearby town). Farmers would bring their crop to the designated drop off points, a locomotive would collect them and bring their crop to the refinery. Sadly, the railway system has fallen into decline either due to falling sugar prices or the preference of farmers to use trucks to transport their load instead.

My father tries to keep the interior of the Benz as authentic and as original as possible. The leather detailing is still all there as are the original emblems and logos. The interior finish of the Benz is themed black and red.

Pictured above are the red leather seats and shown below is the upholstery of the car's ceiling which is a unique and trademarked black and white polkadot design that is very symbolic of Mercedes;.

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