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belgian beauty

Coming from the European country famed for its stupendously delicious chocolates, its awesome culinary capabilities and some of the dreariest weather conditions of almost anywhere, one Impreza owner shares his loves and hassles with you, the British Subaru fan, with Iain Robertson acting as a language conduit.


anguage can be such a drag. When a near- European neighbour lacks so much confidence while speaking English that he was reluctant to converse

at all, I know it made him feel better, as I explained very carefully that my command of Flemish (the Dutch-related tongue used mainly in the northern part of Belgium), apart from ‘Dank u wel’ (‘Thank you’), was and is totally non-existent.

The daft thing is that he speaks better English than I can German and I am near-fluent in that one. I have

already made a note to diary: ‘LEARN ANOTHER LANGUAGE before it’s too late!’. My New Year’s resolution was to quit smoking, which, apart from the odd ‘gasper’, I appear to be managing quite well, although I still need to drop into Alcoholics Anonymous parlance of ‘I am a drinker/smoker’ from time to time. It is not too late to add the language resolution to my admittedly small list of aberrations to be corrected. Anyway, Kevin Van Dooren was my target. A 23 years old Kart Instructor from Antwerp, he is a young man, whom had long hankered after a JDM

product. It could have been an Evo, or a hot Nissan, perhaps even a Supra, or a Civic. He was unfussy but JDM it had to be.

“My dream car would be a Skyline R34 GTR, I think,” regaled Kevin down a remarkably clear telephone line, “although that is a very tough question. Almost every nicely tuned JDM car can seduce me. It actually started for me, when I was a kid, while playing video games, I was always picking out the Subarus and the Evos. When me and my dad watched the WRC on the TV, I was looking at the Subarus and the Evos, always dreaming about

standing close to one or maybe, if I was really lucky, getting a ride in a real one. Almost ten years later, I have an example myself, in my garage. So, it’s a kind of childhood dream that came true for me and the passion for the car and the entire Japanese tuner scene just got more involved.”


As you may be aware, most of the sometimes senseless legislation that lands on our shores, to be filtered down to us, via our parliament, stems from Europe. To be more specific, it originates in Belgium, in fact, from

Brussels, the home of the European Parliament and a bigger gravy train scarcely exists anywhere else, with the notable exception of perhaps Italy (is that not correct, Senor Silvio Berlusconi?). To hear Kevin recite his tales of woe, en route to investing in a Subaru might be enough to make lesser mortals weep. “We have an MoT Test in Belgium,” he stated, “which is much the same as the one you have in your country. However, when you realise how few modifications are even allowed to slip through, you would begin to wonder why anyone living here would want to

own a Japanese car.

“For sure, the Impreza, let alone Evolution, Skyline and even Type-R Civic, would not be such a rarity in Belgium, if we could have braided brake lines, large disc kits, front splitters and most things produced from carbon fibre. When we attend our annual test process, there can be no un-catted vehicles presented. If they do not meet any aspect of the stringent rules, the car will be considered to have failed and rendered ‘unroadworthy’, which means that you would not be allowed to drive it home. Collecting it on a trailer would be all.”

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