Alfaowner member review
Forum name: Mel Bonkers (the artist formerly known as Alfa 147 Distinctive)
Real name: Mohammed, I won’t bother you with my full name including my surname. Pete’s first reaction when I gave him my email address (which contains my full name) to receive the questions for this interview was “Now I know why we call you Mel!”. Mohammed or Mel will do just fine! Or Mr. Bonkers wink
Age: I was born on June 20th 1976. Which makes me 26. I know that’s not old (sorry guys), but I really have to say that time really flies. Well, I guess I’m having fun in my life…..I hope wink
Occupation: I’m an Oracle Consultant for a small Oracle Consultancy Firm in the Netherlands. If this doesn’t ring a bell: I’m an ICT-consultant. Yes……it’s got to do with computers! No, I don’t know why you’re having printing problems wink This is generally what I tell people on birthday parties, really
Lives: I live in Amsterdam. Been born and raised in Amsterdam-Noord. This is on the other side of the IJ-channel and known as the part of Amsterdam, that is entirely NOT Amsterdam. As I moved from Amsterdam-Noord to Amsterdam Oud-Zuid (about 15 minutes walk from the centre, Rembrandtplein and Leidseplein) three years ago, my friends tell me I’ve just been living in Amsterdam for three years now wink Anyway, just bought a house in Purmerend, which is a small town about 15 kilometres North of Amsterdam. The house is being built at the moment end it will be delivered in December 2003. Looks like me living in Amsterdam will end next year
Marital status: Married to my lovely wife Marcia.
What cars do you drive and why? Well, I drive an Alfa 147 JTD and I just love it for the obvious reasons I guess. Before my current Bella I had a couple of cars, of which two VW Golf IV, VW Polo, Renault Clio, Mitsubishi Colt, Fiat Punto, Opel Corsa, Ford Escort, Opel Kadett (sorry guys). Actually I only owned the Ford Escort and the Opel Kadett. The others all are lease cars…..
What started your passion for Alfa Romeo?
Well as a little boy I had this big poster of the Alfa Romeo SZ and RZ on the wall in my bedroom wink , because I just loved the car!
But I think my real “passion” (I don’t know if you can call it passion, hence the quotes wink ) for Alfa started with the Alfa 156. I remember when seeing it at first time, I thought “ Huh…….2 doors? That’s strange!”. As I’m very slow, I only realised it got 4 doors after seeing a couple more 156’s. I’m still getting used to this (remember the “raamuitzetters”, Wimster?) by the way. Then I thought what a great design that is. My “passion” started completely when the Sportwagon was introduced. I really love it. It’s the most beautiful sport/stationwagon/estate around. I love the design and it’s the only sport/stationwagon/estate that looks best without those ugly roof racks.
Well, as I’m a very lucky man, I got to choose a new lease car last year and it was going to be an Alfa, no doubt about that. I considered the 156, but when I saw the 147 in real life at the dealer I fell in love with it.
How common are Alfas in the Netherlands? Is there a large interest in Alfas there? Every morning when I travel to work and back home, I’m surprised how popular the Alfa 156 and Alfa 147 are in Holland. Just in my street there are 4 or 5 147’s, excl mine! So I guess it’s rather popular here in Holland. The other day I drove to work and we had this mini 147 meeting as I drove in traffic with four other Alfa 147’s. This was a very nice experience wink The 156 and 156 Sportwagon are also very popular in Holland. My account manager drives a 156 Sportwagon and my boss drives a 156.
Tell us about your website:
Well, I registered my surname as a domain name, but haven’t really had the time to make a website. As soon as I have one, I’ll let you know. But as there’s this saying “When God created earth, he gave the clock to the Europeans and time to the Africans”, and since I’m Moroccan I’m afraid this will take a while.
Tell us about the recent 147 meeting you organised:
As I’m answering the questions asked to Selespeed (?) I can’t tell you the secret of organizing the 147 meeting. What I could tell you however is as an Alfa 147 meeting member (what a word!) I really enjoyed the whole experience. I finally did meet some Alfaowner members then: the other two of the three sisters (that’s Ivo, Wimster and me) and I also met Selespeed (obviously), Gysman and last but definitely not least: my favourite Alfaowner………EVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What do you like most about Alfas?
That is very simple: the design! I never thought I could be hooked to a car this much. My choice for my current Alfa 147 was purely an emotional choice. And I never regret it (cognitive dissonant?).
With my previous cars I never had an emotional bond. Every time I enter a car from the Volkswagen group (and thank God it isn’t that many times anymore) I get chills over my spine, not because of excitement but because of the horrid and the feeling that these cars definitely lack any kind of emotion, ughhhh!
I just love my Alfa 147. When I get behind the steering wheel, it gives me this warm, cosy and at the same a very sporty feeling. I still am very impressed with them red dashboard lights! Just love it!
What do you like least about Alfas?
That’s simple: the service my (old) dealer gave me. I’m very happy with the built quality of my Alfa 147. As I came from VW Golf, VW Polo I was very much surprised with the built quality of the Alfa 147. I loved the Alfa 147 and as I wasn’t happy at all about the service of my VW dealer, the decision was easy made to switch to Alfa. But to my dismay I experienced that also the Alfa dealer can have bad service. After my not so nice experience with my old dealer, I switched to my new dealer (Auto Heida in Bennekom). They found and fixed the problems which I had explained to my old dealer a couple of times. And the service was very impressive. So I decided to stick with the real professionals from Auto Heida, Bennekom! And they have (had) an Alfa 156 GTA Sportwagon in their showroom
What would be your dream cars?
Up until Friday November 8th 2002 that has to be the Alfa Brera, Maserati 3200 GT (with them beautiful backlights) and Porsche 911 (boys dream). As I drove the 156 GTA on that very November 8th 2002 I definitely have to say that this is my dream car which I could probably afford (not now, but maybe in the future wink .
What car would you least like to have? A Ford Escort. I had one as my first car. That was a horrible car! I got it from my father as a gift for getting my driver’s license (maybe he wanted to get me killed…..mmmmmmm). The list of the things that were broken or would break was huge: a petrol-tank which was cracked (!), right front suspension broken, it only could reach 90 kilometres per hour DIVING into a tunnel pedal-to-the-metal, pieces of the dashboard came off. Still did a lot of driving experience with it though and I really loved that car back then. But I would never ever want to have one again!
What would be your ideal drive in an Alfa, (destination, passenger, driving music, etc)?
I would love to drive either with my wife or with my best friend to southern Italy, with a 156 GTA Sportwagon. I would definitely have both albums from the Sugababes (I really love their music), ‘Ten’ from Pearl Jam and ‘Fat of the land’ from the Prodigy in the standard CD-changer. I would turn of the music the major part of the trip, put the pedal-to-the-metal, fire up the barbeque and listen to that lovely sound of the GTA while I climb in them 5000+ revs. This would definitely be my ideal drive.
Any humorous Alfa or car related stories you wish to share with us?
This is simple: I published this story already in a thread, but here we go again. Two years ago I went with two friends parachuting on the small island Texel, one of the islands in the Waddenzee north of the Netherlands. At that time I drove a Fiat Punto. We went to the airfield where we got our first instructions and after these instructions we went to our rented bungalow, as we stayed for one week because of the parachuting course. I was travelling at approx. 100 km/h and missed my exit point of the road. I then thought I brake and turn without getting to a halt as the road was empty. As I steered on to the grass, I had my first run off rally experience. The car slid over the grass. I couldn’t do anything anymore. The car went for this ditch and one of the friends was sitting next to me. I can only remember me thinking to myself “You moron, what have you done THIS time!!!!!” and my friend shouting “ MOHAMMMMMEEEEEEDDDDDD”. Then the car fell into this ditch. As I looked out of the drivers door window I could only see the sky, as the car was lying half on its right side, leaning onto the side of the ditch. Another friend was trailing us in his own car. He and his cousin got out of the car and pushed us out of this ditch. It would be an embarrassment to have to call a towing truck which then had to specially come over to the island by boat for my little Punto…….
What interests do you have outside of Alfas?
Well in general I’m a car-addict. I love cars, love to drive them. Besides Alfas and Alfaowner, I love to play computer games (currently struggling with Mafia, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2), watching movies is one of biggest hobbies. I wouldn’t be Dutch if I wouldn’t love cycling and swimming too, just don’t do it that much anymore. Love go-carting. Once in a while I go-cart with friends. I have a great laugh and my physical health is put to the test (I have a good physical, really wink ).
Tell us something nobody knows about you. (E.g. special skill, ever been on TV, etc).
I’m rather good in sewing clothes. I do the cloth repair at home wink
My lifetime ambition is to enjoy life to the fullest. This goes for my private and my work life. At work I have a great time, great colleagues, a lot of challenging projects and I drive a beautiful lease car wink My private life is complete with my wife and we have a very good time together.
What do you like most about Alfaowner forum?
Well first that it’s a forum where a Bonkers Moroccan like me can have a great time (my post# tell it all I think). It’s a pleasure to share experiences on Alfa’s with other people. But what makes Alfaowner really special is its diversity. I really think that Alfaowner is the best site I visit (Ian, this should earn me some bonus posts, don’t you think wink …..well……I practically live there. Really, if you look at the threads, a lot of Alfa issues, problems, experiences and weird things are discussed. And at the same time everybody is having a great time in the off-topic lounge and this is how it should be!
Any favourite threads, posts you wish to share with us?
I loved the “Friday Meaningless Thread”. That was a classic one!
I don’t have an E-photo….well…..I got some, but they are from my wedding. If you would like to see who this Moron Bonkers Moroccan is, take a look at the AO family photo of Hugo! Or go to selespeed’s site www.selespeed.info
and check out some photo’s of the Alfa Meeting. I’m the guy with the Blue Steel stripe on his sweater being happy as a child with the high-tech Novitec ice scraping device that I won………..because the person who actually won the ice scraping device, didn’t show up