As a kid, I thought my first car would be a Porsche.
By the time I finished high school I’d lowered my expectations, but I still wanted the Porsche design so I was saving money for a Volkswagen Beetle. Then my priorities changed, and I left the Porsche dream behind.
In April 2009, after a few offroad trips with my friends, I got hooked on the freedom of driving and I decided that my first car would be a 4×4.
For one reason or another, I thought that Lada Niva would be the right choice and I started looking for one. I kept searching for a good Niva until one evening when I got a phone call from my old man. He wanted me to see “a much better 4×4”. It was a Suzuki Samurai and my old man was right.
I bought my 1995 pearl white 1.3 cabrio Samurai on May 12th 2009, from a family of actors from Tg. Mures. It was in good condition, a bit rusty here and there, but with a solid engine that purred nicely.
On my way to Brasov I passed through a cloudburst storm and I was glad to discover that the soft top was holding and that the tiny wipers were still doing a pretty decent job (despite being rather lazy).
A few days later I was at the registration office for the new licence plate. When the clerk asked me if I had any specific preference for a number, I could think only of the joke with the drunk who used a knife to scratch “=16” on a 4×4 car. But, alas, 16 was taken, so I just chose the highest power of 2 that fits within two digits. That’s how the 64 in BV64DRG came to be.
In the following weeks I wandered the dirt roads around Brasov, testing each and every pit boulder with my indestructible and unstoppable car. And pretty soon I found out that it was not quite as indestructible as that.
The curious case of the first ride
During the first offroad trips I noticed a curious pattern. When I was taking a friend offroading, it was always fun, people were quite verbal about the adventure, but then it didn’t happen again. People were just too busy or, as I thought, not interested on a second ride with the Samurai.
For a while, I couldn’t understand how can one not be ecstatic on an offroad adventure with a cabrio Samurai.
Then, during an offroad trip, my friend Maldi made it all clear. “People don’t come for a second ride because they lack control of the situation, they feel uncomfortable about not knowing when they will get back or if they will ever get back home. You need to relax a bit, drive slower and get more organized”.
That’s about the moment I started going offroad mostly on my own.
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Gershwin’s famous composition was like a mantra to me.
Chet Baker’s version is the first on my “2009-07-01 – summertime – take one” mixtape. #summertime