Grace and grit
At the Circuit in Makati City, a stack of machismo past, recontextualized, and reborn, did not fail to elicit enthusiastic optical response. The reconstructed cars—one of the oldest, a gleaming ecru Volkswagen Karmann Ghia 1600—have unquestionably been lavished with fastidious artisanship and focused creativity. They were simply beautiful. Drop-dead beautiful.
What exactly grabs the eyes of those who trooped to the event called Lord of the Wheels Retrospect and organized by the United Car Clubs of the Philippines, more than the cars’ diamond-sharp appearances is clearly whiffs of nostalgia, a recollection of the Jaguars, Mercedes Benzes, and Fords of the past. From a once hunk of petrified iron and steel, time-scarred with age and careless overuse these aesthetic and technological innovations and body modifications now make a strong presence as they rip across any road with no visible effort.
A delicious apple green-colored thing, easily the crowd favorite, the 1974 Volkswagen IMP owned by Emmanuel Mendoza has undergone engine transformation from its original 1300 to an upgraded 2300 and brags itself up with a set of 15x275 tires and touches of magnesium for details entirely brought in from Wisconsin, USA then assembled in San Jose, Batangas. Its fiberglass body has not undergone the slightest conversion and instead retained its original Dune Buggy young appeal.
One of Volkswagen’s babies of yesteryears, the 1968 Karmann Ghia owned by Neal Medrano, is so much a rare sight during these days compact economy cars that in weaving in and out of complex metro traffic is a true attention-getter. Brash and energetic, the sleek silhouette knifes itself across roads like a seamless work of art.
Arvin Barcela, owner and prime designer/renovator of a 1986 AWII equipped with 4AGZE power, almost totally did his car’s metamorphosis—from the original body to its newly enhanced profile and contoured back fins for a much improved aerodynamics stability.
With true grace and grit these reborn macho machines are the most convincing proof that vintage cars will always have their irresistible desirability. No argument there.
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