A life time of aeroplanes and automobiles
Those who took the trouble to click at «Family Album» must have seen, in less than 5 minutes, the life story of this journalist. So, before diving into the vast ocean of the cars being produced, it would be appropriate to say a few more about what led me to be, first a kind of motoring writer and then a publisher of some 19 different magazines, the most known being «4Wheels».
Born before the war in an Athens neighborhood very near the Acropolis, I had the unfortunate experience of witnessing, first the four years of German occupation and, immediately after, a 6 year Civil War
One would ask what wars have to do with the life of a child? The answer is simple: parents keep children indoors, children have no radio or TV so they look at books –and dream.
I decided that I would be a pilot when I witnessed the flyover of a couple of British Gloster Meteor fighter jets over Athens that, in a way, marked the end of hostilities with ELAS guerillas.
Many years later started what every pilot to be does: building models of aeroplanes and gliders and, in 1956 I took my first glider flying lessons. I soloed in ’57, started flying aeroplanes, got my PPL in 1974, my helicopter licence in 2004 and, all those years I have never stoped flying!
I took my glider flying lessons in the 50's in a Roda two seater.
But, what about driving? I usually say, and in a way it is true, that I first learned to fly and then drive –a three/quarter tons truck we had at Tripolis airfield in the Peloponese for winch tows.
The view from 83.000 feet from the front seat of a Mig 25
This brings me to my involvent with cars which started at the late ’50s when, I went to England to study Mechanical Engineering.
Failing (miserably) in Chemistry I went back to Greece looking for a job. Found it at «Mesivrini» daily newspaper, the Chief Editor there asking me to «write» about cars». Since that day in 1963 it was 5th forward all the way I dont now how many countries I have visited and cars I have tested
This is how an Athenian afternoon looks from the tail of a Blanik glider (photo: Loukas Hapsis)
Everything from the Greek made (in Syros) Enfield electric car to Ferraris and from Mercedes Benz C-111 to a very early Bugatti and a ...monstrous (in size) 1911 Metallourgique Speedster.
Glying gliders since the 50's.
For more than half a century I have tried to «tell» the people of a European rim country what the italians, British (at that time), French, Germans, Spaniards were doing: they were not borrowing from the banks to buy cars but they were designing and building their own. Of course I fought a loosing battle and, after loosing, in 2006, my company and my magazine «4Wheels» I have said enough. Until my good friend and colleague Giancarlo asked to write in «ADC International».
So, here I am telling nostalgia stories (for which the British have a saying!) about cars, aeroplanes and bikes. I have two of the species, a BMW «R1200R» and a «K1200S» -which is up for sale for the simple reason than 75 and 150 (hp) don’t fit!
This last sentence brings up the question if the readers of «Automotive Design Club» wish to read what we call «personal stories». But, gentle readers, I grew up reading stories from Doug Blain (before leaving «Car» Magazine), Dennis McLuggage, George Bishop, Warren Weith, Leonard Setright et all. In the time of my professional life I met most of them and, with a few we became good friends. One was LJKS, another the Viking Mauri Salo, the picture of whom is next to mine. So what is it going to be? Articles about driving the Zakspeed F1 car at Paul Ricard circuit and/or flying in the F16 Block 52+ or others about automotive design –a fiel that others are much better that this person.
Terrain following in an F16 Block 52+ (picture taken from the back seat)