Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Determination & Result (Part 3)

According to photos, he also made most of the missing interior parts: the front fenders, hood, bumpers, soft-top and windshield frame, etc.
As a creative individual, Mr. Mkhitaryan took an exceptional approach to the restoration of this car. However, from the technical point of view, the master did not invent anything new. The chassis is mainly based on steel units taken from various cars produced by the Gorky Automobile Plant GAZ, particularly from such models as the GAZ-24 and Gaz-69.

The engine and transmission are also borrowed from the GAZ-24. Perhaps, in our time, such abundant usage of soviet details in this car would seem unwise, but considering the fact that the restoration took place in 1970-80’s, when it was almost impossible to find original components for foreign cars, it seems the only way to restore the Willys.

Another interesting fact is that this car, in the available documents, is indicated as a product of 1957. The numbers of chassis, body and engine are not entered in the technical passport, however. After years of restoration, the car was on wheels once again and left Karapet Mkhitaryan’s workshop.
In early 2000, this car was a frequent guest at many exhibitions of vintage cars in Yerevan. Now this car is the pride of the Mkhitaryans.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Determination & Result (Part 2)

For a long time, Mr. Mkhitaryan struggled with himself to find the strength to start the restoration process of this car.
After a few weeks of contemplation, our hero finally dared to buy the remains of the seemingly lost Willys and slowly started the fabrication of the missing parts with his own hands.

Karapet Mkhitaryan is a well-known Armenian sculptor. He has produced many prominent metal sculptures, which adorn the streets and parks of Yerevan. One his famous works is the abstract statue of Arno Babajanyan, the great Armenian composer. The master Mkhitaryan applied all his talent and experience in working with metal to make the carrier frame for the open-body car.

To be continued...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Determination & Result (Part 1)

Unlike many other cars, this one was incredibly lucky with its owner, particularly when considering the fact that it was acquired in a totally destroyed condition.
Unfortunately, old vehicles eventually lose their original parts, which are replaced with those of taken from various suitable cars. Unluckily, this usually happens, when the car is still used for its primary purpose -- the transportation of passengers and cargo.

 And there comes the moment, when the number of broken parts in the car exceeds that of the others, as a result, the car either ends up in a junkyard, or it is pushed deep in a garage with arguments like “ Of course, I’ll be back... when I get the means for new parts”
Armen Mkhitaryan, the current owner of this Willys, got completely dumbfounded, when he first saw the SUV. Without a frame, chassis, engine and gearbox, interior parts and many other things, this Willys could be identified only by an expert of American SUVs.
To be continued...

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The W123 from “Perestroika” (Part 3)

The next registration stage at the national traffic police was in July 1997. This time the car received license plates of modern pattern (65 SL 078), after which the car hit the trail once again. In 2001 the car changed its owner. In fact, it started to “dwell” in the city center, on Baghramyan Avenue. The new owner thoroughly prepared himself for the purchase of this car. It is said that the trade negotiations lasted over a year. The new owner was so much fond of this car that he spent several months trying to persuade the former owner to yield the car to him at any cost.

The new owner used the car quite actively, so he often got into various minor traffic accidents. Over time, the Oglukyans, the family who owned the car, bought another W123 as a donor, in order to keep the old one in original condition. Currently the car is additionally equipped for the usage of compressed natural gas, as well as it has an alarm and central locking system.
The owner plans to make full restoration of the car, which is bound to be next year.

The W123 from “Perestroika” (Part 2)

Exactly in those years, this Mercedes-Benz W123 was brought to Armenia. This car of 1981 ended up in Yerevan in 1988. Its first owner Khachik Harutyunyan, who had a highly significant and authoritative position in society, had himself brought the car from Germany. Thanks to his entrepreneurial activities in his native district of Ajapnyak , Harutyunyan managed to amass a decent fortune, which allowed him to acquire a luxurious Mercedes for those days.

The vehicle with the chassis identification number WDB12309612108341 was first registered at the local branch of the traffic police in March 1988, when it got plates of the Soviet model.  Over the next few years, the car was kept only in garage conditions and was maintained with parts brought from Germany.
To be continued...

The W123 from “Perestroika” (Part 1)

Mercedes-Benz has always been one of the most (if not the most) favorite car brands among Caucasians. After the Great Patriotic War, it used to be considered as the most notable and revered trophy vehicle for the Soviet man.  This German brand has always been distinguished for its luxurious equipment, instantly recognizable appearance, high assembly quality, advanced technology and many others. 

It was no wonder that after the announcement of the so-called perestroika in USSR, when people were finally allowed to freely bring cars of foreign production, the demand for the Mercedes was unprecedentedly high. A relatively new Mercedes was even able to equalize the statuses of an ordinary citizen and official or “big boss”.
To be continued...