If you’ve ever wondered why I’m spamming Oppo with my crude pictures and inept writing this is your lucky day. All the normal people are invited to simply look at some pictures and ignore my blathering, yet for the handful of you who are actually interested I’m going to explain this now by connecting some biographic details with the cars I saw in Osterode.
This is what happened so far:
I grew up in a tiny village surrounded by water on three sides in the rural north of Germany. For centuries pillaging the European neighbours was the only real option to make ends meet in this remote, weather-beaten part of Europe. While the once proud seafarers never discovered the treasure at the end of the rainbow, they eventually realised that eating Schnüüsch at home is considerably less deadly than trying to achieve some kind of a warrior status abroad. Sadly the region’s economy never recovered from this blow making entry-level econoboxes doused in hideous colors the dragon boats of the outgoing 20th century. Exotic or interesting cars were quite uncommon as tractors congested the roads.
This prime example of automotive averageness could be yours for just 2,990 Euro-Dollars. I vote CP.
Born into a blue collar family and raised by a single mother who worked hard to get by it’s fair to say that my world was small. My mother couldn’t afford a car and no one around me was really interested in them, so when it came to automotive greatness I was basically trueman-showed.
I savored the few moments of breaking free by being driven somewhere. The occasional shopping run to the nearest city might as well have been the Mille Miglia. Even today I just love to be on the move regardless of the car I’m driving or being driven in and it’s still an adventure every single time.
In Germany the pet name of the Trabant is “Rennpappe” by the way. Which means “racing cardboard”...
Another wee car build by a German aircraft manufacturer. This time it’s a Heinkel “Kabine”.
I was puzzled about finding only a few BMWs in Osterode.
Is displaying your battered Passat with an open hood on a classic car meeting cool? I haven’t decided yet.
And isn’t it strange that a car like the Passat will inevitably become a cherished classic like this Simca? Amazingly it only takes time to do the trick.
In my formative years Audi gave the world rallying Quattro-flamethrowers, the DTM drew record crowds with E30s battling 190s and Schumacher won two world championships on the trot. And I didn’t know any of this was happening because my mother enforced a strict TV policy granting me just a few precious escapes from the automotive monotony here and there. The books about cars I had only contained the typical four-wheeled dinosaurs and supercars. Yet those were so far removed from my reality that they might as well have existed at the end of a rainbow.
All of this means, I simply didn’t know that a common car like this is related to one of the most succesful racecars of all time:
My neighbour - also a single mother and a cashier at the local supermarket - drove a plain-Jane E28. Since all the lettering on cars was gibberish for me the powerful six cylinders flew under the radar.
No wonder the Bimmer and the Passat were equally boring for me.
It’s a painful thought, but when I said that interesting and exotic cars were uncommon where I grew up, who knows how many M5’s I simply overlooked?!
And when Jalops think about Mercedes-Benz they automatically think of for example Stirling Moss, V12 SL600s and desirable AMGs. All I could think of was this:
Keeping all of this in mind, how did I become a car enthusiast after all?
Well, I got my fix of jalop-juice elsewhere: Hollywood of course!
The TV time I was granted showed me the American Way of Live (and Motoring) depicted by movies like Beverly Hills Cop II and most importantly my favourite show Knight Rider. They had a massive impact and influence my view on cars to this day.
The only things I would’ve cared about in the early 90’s while looking at this Terrano would have been the differences between this effort and the Fall Guy truck - obviously the best truck of all time.
Yes, like all of you I had a poster of a cocaine white Countach on my wall, but as I mentioned earlier, I always knew that supercars like a Lamborghini were unobtainable spaceships for us normal people. The exotic American cars however were driven even by high-schoolers on a daily basis. And because they were also thrown around by my favourite action stars, they radiated a sense of adventure, optimism and freedom that was missing in my rather mundane and stationary life.
It didn’t matter whether the cars were majestic land barges,
cool and menacing looking muscle cars
or basically not so serious toys daring to be childish and trying to grab your attention by making some noise. I loved them all. And the crowd’s reaction at meetings suggests I’m not alone - just look at the guy on the right.
Furthermore some of the US-cars are simply strange for us Europeans. I mean, what’s this even supposed to be?
And don’t forget that on top of all that they are humongous.
Cars like Opel GTs and 911s I saw as a child weren’t able to win me over. They may have been good looking and extraordinary, but not cool, exhilarating and awesome enough to forcefully rock my world and fuel my imagination and passion.
It took me almost two decades, a lot more TV time and the infinite internet to discover the massive appeal of the German and European car culture. By then it was already too late though. I’ve fallen hard for the big American V8s and everything else will always be a distant runner-up.
All this means that I basically look at the German/European cars from an outsider’s perspective like most of you. This is why a blog like Oppositelock is perfect for me. You guys already helped me a lot to explore the car culture on my side of the pond while adding American V8s galore to the mix.
Events like the car meeting in Osterode now offer me the possibility to counsciously take a look at a Santana for the first time - if you know what I mean.
And guess what, I do like what I’m seeing!
And Mercs aren’t boring anymore. They’re classy and gorgeous.
I’m also able to decipher badges now. So instead of putting this Opel down for being a beigemobile, I think it’s one of the coolest cars I’ve ever seen.
Although I was generally not interested in German cars, the big exception always has been the Opel Manta. The lousy image and most of all the movie “Manta Manta” made the small coupe very desireable for me. I still want one badly and the rising value is torturing me. This one could be mine for 3,900€.
I’d remove some of the stickers, but that’s it.
Luckily it’s already caged, riced and slow - it’s Manta perfection.
The predecessor isn’t too shabby either. It’s merely lacking the bro-iness I love so much about the newer one.
Isn’t it a shame that a car looking like this is sharing its engine with economy cars? Imagine it being powered by a rev-hungry six cylinder barely capable of stopping its pistons from thrusting through the hood like Chestbursters while sounding like Bonnie Tyler hitting a toe on a bedpost? Instant Jalop nirvana...
This is another German car which honestly didn’t grab my attention before. Well, it’s safe to assume that not all of the Passats were painted in lense-shattering green. This might redeem my ignorance at least a little bit.
Lovely, lovely, lovely. Oh, and have you noticed the car...
Yeah, more small coupes!
The Diplomat is up there, but when it comes to the best car of the entire meeting it has to be this Ford Escort.
The Alpine I saw might have been the most interesting, stunning and beautiful car of the day, but all I wanted was driving this little Ford into the sunset.
When I say drive, I mean beating the shit out of it mercilessly! It takes a special kind of car to satisfy all of my psychotic car-related needs: It has to provide a shelter from the harsh realities around me while cruising along calmly, it must inspire and withstand savage abuse and awake a tender passion to clean it up meticulously after a brutal outburst like that.
I do hope I’m slightly better person in a human relationship...
The Escort would need a different - preferably rally-related - engine sometime in the future though.
Needless to say the verdict excludes the Chevelle and the Mopar because of the reasons I explained exhaustively by now. They can’t be beaten in my small world.