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June 05, 2006

Guest Blogger: NICK ABADZIS

Wilf_1

Greek Men and Their Weird Cars No. 2

This is a sketch of my brother Alex in the garage that he owns, which specializes in servicing and repairing French cars. To American readers, that might seem a little strange, but in Europe, even in the UK, it’s a realistic and very viable specialization. It also indulges my brother’s love of France. The whole place is a little shrine to the French motor industry, with memorabilia everywhere. There are old posters of Citroëns, little die-cast metal model Renaults, Peugeots and Citroëns and friendly Michelin Men figurines everywhere. For years, I had old French cars that my bro found for me - especially a beloved 2CV that saw me through some hard times - and I felt a bit disloyal buying a German auto a few years back.

Alex once built a six-wheeled Citroën 2CV, with a back like a pick-up truck. He took it to a motor rally in France where somebody fell in love with it and offered to buy it from him. I was sorry to see it go, as it was quite a car. But he gets bored with them, and sells them on so he can buy and refurbish or customize something new. A couple of years ago, he took time out from his garage to work on Tim Burton’s Willy Wonka movie, putting together a workshop of people to turn some old Russian cars into working props for the film. Each car had to be stripped and rebuilt to the production designer’s briefs so they didn’t look like any recognizable make. My brother loves cars like I love comics.

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