Our neighbors here in civilized little Wassenaar work for the Dutch foreign service, and keep their Land Rover, and their memories of Africa, squeezed into the hedged garden beside their house while they endure a home posting. They'll have to bust out eventually. The machine has certainly seen wilder days--their last posting was Namibia, before that Kazakstan and Sri Lanka. Expensive Dutch road tax keeps the LR in cold storage here, though Wassenaar is such a prosperous town that you see a lot of LR's cruising the handsome little streets. Conspicuous vehicular consumption, I guess. Reminds me of the Range Rover moment in Montecito, twenty years ago.
- Brooklin, Maine, United States
- We own a 1975 GMC Sierra Grande 15 in Maine, and an '86 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of '97 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 24 years--we're recyclers. I've published a book of stories NIGHT DRIVING (1987), and 2 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), and THE O'BRIENS, which came out in the US (Pantheon) and Canada (House of Anansi) in 2012. A book of stories TRAVELLING LIGHT comes out in May 2013. More of my book stuff at www.peterbehrens.org I'm a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13.
Friday, August 31, 2012
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Thinking about buying wheels in The Netherlands. Back in Maine, buying local matters. So here in Wassenaar, why not a DAF, the only Dutch automobile company I'm aware of? DAF was swallowed by Volvo sometime in the 1970s, but before that had a successful run with a narrow line of little cars. Like this Daf 55, from 1969. DAF's claim to fame was its Variomatic transmission, which was standard on all its cars: you could not get a manual. Automatic transmissons were rare in Europe in those days manual transmissions are still standard issue in rental cars and taxis. I've always liked shifting, so the Variomatic doesn't spin my wheels, but otherwise the Daf looks like my kind of machine: a plain-jane, is-what-it-is, sturdily clean-and-simple car that has survived four decades and maybe has some stories to tell. And I like the rally lamps, too.
Posted by autoliterate at 11:33 AM
It had lost its Mercedes star but we still id'd this frontwheel drive M-B Hanomag Henschel in the harbor at Scheveningen, NL. These were certainly an upgrade from the VW bus, and roomier too. Scheveningen is a beach town with a surfing scene. Can you say "Scheveningen"?
Posted by autoliterate at 4:58 AM
Thursday, August 23, 2012
I am going very euro after 4 days in The Netherlands. This is a bicycle nation, and I will certainly be writing about the local bikes on Autoliterate: the basic Dutch bicycle is a handsome, well-thought-out, and extraordinarily useful machine. We 3 are riding clunkers, however. BB's bike is in the repair shop today; H's bike has an appointment for Monday.
The Autoliterate Dutch Bike Report & Photo Essay will wait another day. Meanwhile I have been watching a flock of low-slung Citroën Traction Avants tool around Wassenaar. If you enjoy French film noir, ca, c'est le char. I'm thinking Rififi (dir. Jules Dessin); aussi, Shoot the Piano Player (dir. Francois Truffault). This was the great French gangster car. I believe they started making 'em in 1937, and production continued into the 1950s.
Posted by autoliterate at 1:59 AM
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Citroën made these vans in France and Belgium from the late 1940s until 1981. Saw this one at the farmers' market in Wassenaar, NL.
Posted by autoliterate at 11:14 AM
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Posted by autoliterate at 11:43 AM
Monday, August 13, 2012
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Friday, August 10, 2012
Thursday, August 9, 2012
American Boy's Handy Book of 1882. E.B. White (Charlotte's Web, etc.) built one her in Brooklin for his son Joel White, founder of the Brooklin Boat Yard. The Whites' vessel was called Flounder. Bill Mayher built Flounder II this summer. Her homeport is The Pond, and she is lots of fun.
Huck Finn & Tom Sawyer have been having a very good, very shoeless summer here in Brooklin.
Posted by autoliterate at 3:54 PM