Saturday, September 4, 2010

Classica (Extended Remix)

Let us paint a picture of a time long ago. When the world was young and the concrete boulevards so few. In a city that still sleeps. In a road less traveled glides a car of glamorous beauty. Its engine whirs from a distance. Its curves slope at the right angles. With three-tiered grills to impose its superiority and thick chrome bumpers to decree its luxury. With front and rear fenders bulging around the wheelbase and small round headlights defining its sophistication. The Chevrolet Fleetline was a car no other and in its heyday was the marque of royalty.

I was going to the office when I caught glimpse of this vintage parked at the inner driveway of the building. Smile creased around my face as I lay dazed at the visual delight in front of me. I have this thing with old cars that I could not explain. Certainly, being taken for a joyride never caught my fancy but seeing them cruising on a busy street together with its postmodern, highly urban counterparts is a guaranteed headturner.

Introduced in the late 40's, the Fleetline served as the flagship sedan of Chevrolet. Powered by a six cylinder solid valve engine and running at 90bhp horsepower, it was the top of the line at a time when the Philippines was enjoying its postwar boom. Put yourself in the shoes of a bygone illustrado taking it for a test drive along Dewey Boulevard as the sun sets at the bay. The pristine waters shimmer in the distance while a handful of city folk still bask along its shores. Turning left at Libertad going to Highway 54, the first tower blocks along Ayala looms as the speedster approaches Makati. Across the rolling hills of Mandaluyong and the vast plains of Ortigas, one might caught glimpse of the massive and circular Araneta Coliseum. Built in the 1950's, its searchlights point toward the sky calling everyone to watch the boxing match of the century.

Turning left once again at Aurora Boulevard, ( a street devoid of any reference in the annals of history) the Chevy rolls as it passes over tree-lined streets. It is past seven in the evening and while most families have just ended their evening prayers, the sedan arrives at your family estate in New Manila where it is parked under a Baroque inspired portico.

These vivid images play inside my head as I take pictures of the parked Chevy while its owner stands behind me. Like a sepia photograph trying to tell a story, it whispers the journeys it had taken and the owners it could have had. It tells of an honest businessman dropping his bratty children to school with the trusted mayordoma running behind them. It remembers a couple who used to be madly in love with each other, only to witness the husband invite another girl for a ride. This other girl, driven to some private room along FB Harrison spends the night with the guy. While the worried wife waits at home with her three-month old infant, ignorant of the dalliance forged by her two-timing husband.

It has seen street brawls, violent road mishaps and buildings being torn down to give way to new office blocks. It has lived life like a machine but its stories would struck a chord with the rest of humanity. The sedan has known sentimentality too well that as long as its engine runs and its owner finds a new buyer; as long as its tires find reason to wobble over paved roads and be admired by curious onlookers; as long as it gets a life extension by timeless restoration and passionate preservation,

The Chevrolet Fleetline will remain a stuff of legend that will be written on and on by souls from different ages enamored by its immortality.


Alterjon said...

you are a time traveler. :)

Nimmy said...

parang ang ganda nyang hatiin sa gitna at gawing long chair sa sala. ang shala! :)

mel beckham said...

while reading this I imagined myself in the early 80's (or late 70's), but of course I wasn't born that time noh. hahaha! it is a good feeling to reminisce and imagine what the car witnessed during its heydey.
magkano benta? i bet it's pricey if it's in running condition.

daniel said...

Parang kilala ko kung sino may-ari **** hehe. Ako rin I have this thing for old cars..mas glamorous kasi dating nila : )

Mu[g]en said...


Hindi pa ako tapos sa entry. Di ko alam bakit na publish kaagad. Huhuhu!

Aayusin ko pa siya. Lol.


Haha hindi ko maimagine. Happy na ako na makikita siya sa daan.

Mu[g]en said...


If you are referring to boss, hindi ah! Mercedes Benz naman ang specialty nun.

Mel Beckham:

Imagine yourself a member of the high society in Davao during the early 50s. Kunware eh yan ang iyong karwahe na magdadala sa iyo sa isang grand ball somewhere sa ciudad. :)

orally said...

im thinking black and white photographs while reading this.

hmmmm the chevy is your family's?

canonista said...

Hands down to how you described the drive from what is now known as Roxas blvd and how clean Manila bay was at that time. How EDSA was and Mandaluyong as well as the plains of Ortigas to the place where the old rich families live, New Manila. I felt I was taken back in time by your every word and I can just imagine... What if I was a gay guy living during that time. I could be deep inside the closet playing guessing games as to who else could be gay? I wonder how it is to be gay in that era?

Now I wanna watch old tagalog movies with locations like Highway 54 and see the old buses and old Manila with its neon lights at night.

Jake said...

Ang galing! Pre-war objects also strike a cord in my heartstrings.

soltero said...

wahaha..sakto, kanina me kina inisan akong sasakyan dito sa Harbor Blvd, ang bagal, vintage car din kasi halos kamukha nyan, kulay yellow ehehhe...matandang white na mag-asawa ang sakay hehe kainis they were driving 35mph sa 45mph spped limit LOL

Mu[g]en said...


Huy, tatanda ka rin ha!

Teka, bawal ba ang overtaking sa US? Hehehe.


I wish I could flesh out the details more effectively. Kulang pa rin siya.

Gym ka ba bukas?

Mu[g]en said...


It is my desire that in a few years, I could treat the subject with better clarity.

Hehehe. Sepia imagery talaga!


The movie Markova could give you a glimpse of what it is to be gay during the prewar-postwar years. Hehehe.

Thank you. :)