Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Onik the Master

Caucasia has always been famous for its talented craftsmen and inventors. Every town and village, every district and almost every street had a tinsmith who was able to do magic with shapeless pieces of tin. Armenia, where manual work has always been appreciated and used to be handed down from father to son, has also been rich with such virtuoso artisans. By adding the boundless love of Armenians for technology, especially cars, to the above mentioned, we might get quite an interesting result.

Many of the car restorers started their “creative career” as ordinary tinsmiths. On occasions, they had opportunity to mend jalopies and, thus, they gradually turned from tinkers into skillful restorers. The history of Armenian car restorers goes back many years, and, probably, it is impossible to find out who first restored a classic car in our country.

However, it would be at least improper not to mention one of the oldest, unfortunately now deceased, Armenian restorers. Onik Terterian started his first restoration of a classic car in 1968. The master had to revive some remains of a Mercedes-Benz (or to be more precise, remains of the body).

Terteryan did a great job- from scratch, by using only a few available photos, he managed to create new front fondles, side-frames of the hood, footsteps, a bumper and radiator grille as well as other missing elements of the exterior. The interior was also restored from nothing. The enthusiastic restorer even managed to get the original paint of the German manufacturer from the pre-war period.
However, along with all the pluses, it is impossible not to notice some obvious downsides. For instance, for all soviet restorers, it was a routine occurrence to equip foreign cars with parts of the “iconic” GAZ-21 Volga. That Mercedes was not an exception. But let’s not talk about sad things. Once the car was ready, it was taken to the Russian city of Sochi.
After his first work, the master became quite popular and started to receive numerous orders, mainly from abroad. After many years spent on restorations of various vehicles, Terteryan finally got his own retro car. In 1995, he acquired a VW Beetle of 1970 production. Initially, it was a completely dismantled blue Beetle. After lengthy restoration works, the car received a burning yellow color and gained a perfect technical condition.

During his lifetime, Onik Terteryan with his Beetle often participated in many retro-festivals always standing out among all participants due the bright color of his car.

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