My dad's Dodge Colt (Part 2)

I am going to drive it!
by Paulo Rafael Subido | Jul 14, 2009

My dad's old mechanic, Nel Pungtilan, knew about my plans to get the Colt running again and he was down with the plan. He knows the car inside and out because he's been maintaining it since the early 1990s. The older mechanic named Pilong who maintained the car since 1976 closed his shop before Nel came along. I still wonder what happened to Pilong.


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Nel tinkers with the engine to get it running again.

Anyway, Nel (my younger brother and I call him the Remedyo King) got the engine running after cleaning the carb and giving the crankshaft a few turns. He did some magic with the electricals to get the starter to "turn" and after some adjustments made to the ignition timing, the engine rumbled to life. Oh, yes! And it sounded exactly the same as when my dad last used his wagon.

My mom and my siblings all rushed out of the house after hearing the familiar roar of the Saturn. Opening the throttle a little bit, I felt a good shiver run through me. So many memories rushed back. This Colt may be an inanimate object, but it has a spirit. The rumble of the engine, the smell of the exhaust and gasoline fumes that permeate into the cockpit, the way the beat-up vinyl seats feel against my skin--all of those sensations brought me back to my childhood. I was overwhelmed by it all.

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When I grasped the steering wheel I felt like that six-year-old kid who went to Pilong's talyer every time his dad had work done his car. Nothing was off-limits there. The old guys let me play with whatever car part I could get my hands on, and they opened the vintage Ford 'Torpedos' for me to play in.

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I got so greasy and dirty then, crawling under the cars and sometimes on top of them. No matter how filthy I got my dad never got angry--only slightly annoyed. He always cleaned my hands for me with a kerosene-soaked rag before we got back into the wagon and left for home. I must say that I still enjoy those fumes every now and then.

Those trips to Pilong's with my dad are a big part of why I am such a car nut today. More importantly though, it was time spent with my father. When I got older we didn't hang out as much. Either way you cut it, you regret these things. But now my dad's wagon is running again. He drove this car practically every day from when he brought it home in 1976 until the day he died in 2003. I know that restoring this car won't bring him back. What I do know is that this car will help stir memories that might have become long forgotten otherwise. This is the reason for my wanting to save this Galant from the scrap heap.

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I am going to drive it. The engine runs real good. Problem is, I completely forgot that I needed new rims and tires!


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