Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Boy Who Loved Cars

It's no exaggeration to say that Leif loved cars and motorcycles. He was fascinated with cars from babyhood. From a very young age, he always noticed sports cars and knew their names.

Just look at this photo of him when he was four years old in January 1979 at the wheel of his dad's Ford Taunus Coupe (a model from sometime in the 1970s). He had an eye for beautiful, sporty cars from the very beginning, and treasured his large collection of Matchbox cars of every kind and description. In those days, kids could buy Matchbox cars for about 35-50 cents at the Post Exchange, which was a satisfying way for Leif to spend his small amount of spending money. He had ships and planes, too, but cars were always in there in profusion.

At the time this photo was taken, we were living in Sachsen bei Ansbach, a small village near the cities of Ansbach and Nurnberg in Germany. Peter W. used this car to commute to work and the boys rarely got to ride in it. Partly it was because it was not a convenient car for a family, only having two doors, and partly because the car didn't have shoulder straps in the back seat and we had to get some kind of weird aftermarket harness things for the boys to wear if they were sitting back there . . . and they weren't allowed to ride in the front seat.

The other cars we had during that period in Sachsen were the blue Ford Pinto station wagon we had purchased in 1973 which was totaled in the accident I had in October 1978, a used gold Opel Diplomat, which wasn't in great condition, and a light blue used Mercedes sedan. None of those cars interested Leif much, but the Taunus did. That was partly because he didn't get to ride in it often but mostly because he perceived it to be a more sporty and stylish car, which it was. Once in awhile his dad would let him sit in the driver's seat and pretend, and he was so excited about that.

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