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This unique love story started with a dark green ŠKODA 1000 MB given the name Kossinn, which means The Kiss. That was in 1968, when Friðjón Hallgrímsson bought his first car along with his father and brother. Since then, there have been 12 more.

JOINT CUSTODY OF A CAR

This dark green vehicle turned out to be a very influential investment for Friðjón, who has not bought a car of any other brand since. His father didn’t have a driving licence, so Friðjón and his brother had joint custody of the vehicle. They were really fond of their new family friend, and soon it got a name. “At that time it was common in Iceland to name your cars. My friend had a Willys jeep he named Twiggy, like the fashion model, because the car was skinny and without any trim. My brother and I named the car The Kiss, and the name fit it perfectly,” says Hallgrímsson, who kept the car for five years and then bought another one just like it but this time without any family members.

Forty-nine years later, he is on his 13th car, a ŠKODA RAPID, and he has no intention of trying any other brand. But what is it about the Czech car brand that has made Friðjón one of the most loyal ŠKODA customers in the world? “One of the reasons is that I’m very conservative and I’m also quite stubborn. ŠKODA didn’t have the best reputation early on and some people would badmouth it. I wouldn’t let anyone talk trash about my cars and wanted to prove them wrong.

Sure, there were a few hiccups in the ‘70s – for example when the locks would freeze up in the winter, but it didn’t bother me that much. But the main reason for my loyalty to ŠKODA is the fact that it’s my favourite car brand. It’s economical, a pleasure to drive, and more spacious than any other car brand I know. I like to compare it to people. Two people can be of the same height and weight but be completely different. It’s the same with cars. A ŠKODA and another brand can be of the same size, but the ŠKODA is somehow much more spacious. I don’t know how they do it.”

Friðjón Hallgrímsson

 

 

The Kiss
Part of the family

I have always felt like I had a guardian angel and perhaps I was born under a lucky star, maybe a ŠKODA star. I don’t want to jinx it

Hallgrímsson with Ragnar Borgþórsson

BORN UNDER A LUCKY STAR

Friðjón’s second and third cars were also ŠKODA 1000 MBs. At first, they were used as typical family cars, but that changed when he started working as a traveling salesman in 1974, selling collected writings all over the country. Friðjón couldn’t fit all the books into the car but didn’t want to buy a bigger one and so had to find a solution. “I removed all the car seats except for the driver's seat, stuffed the car with books, and headed for the open road. Meanwhile I would keep the car seats in my garage and when I came back home from my trips I would put them in again and drive the car as usual. My book car attracted attention and people thought it was a bit funny, but everybody welcomed me with open arms,” says Friðjón who spent seven years as a traveling salesman, an occupation that would take him on endless trips around the country and provide him with an abundance of adventure and anecdotes. “I have been to every town in the country and visited the most isolated farms. Some of them were practically in the middle of nowhere with almost impassable gravel roads, but I was always able to reach my destination,” says Friðjón who sometimes got into dire straits on his trips around the country.

Once during a blizzard he had to trail a truck blindly for hours because he could not see a thing except for the taillights of the truck in front of him. The funny thing is Friðjón arrived home safe and sound in his small car while the truck got stuck in snow after they had parted ways.

Another time he got into a bit of a dilemma after selling books in Djúpivogur, a small town of 456 people in eastern Iceland. He was travelling 103 kilometres to Höfn along a curving road with a handful of farms when the trip went awry. “I had filled the tank at Djúpivogur but on the way there was a road grader in front of me that left a ridge of snow on the road that I had to get over. After driving a while I looked at the gauge and noticed the car was almost out of petrol – the ridge had torn a hole in the tank and I was in the middle of nowhere with no inhabited area in sight.

I decided to put my trust in my ŠKODA and drive like a maniac to Höfn. I made it just in time before I ran completely out of petrol and the guys at the station fixed the hole in the tank. I have a few more stories like these that always ended well, which is in part why I have never wanted to change car brands. I have always felt like I had a guardian angel and perhaps I was born under a lucky star, maybe a ŠKODA star. I don’t want to jinx it.” Friðjón says with a smile and a wink.

A proud owner

The main reason for my loyalty to ŠKODA is the fact that it’s my favourite car brand

AN EVERLASTING LOVE STORY

Friðjón has been a salesman most of his life. Now retired, he can focus on his interests, which include traveling and camping with his family and friends. He’s also an avid accordion player and chairman of the Accordion Club in Reykjavík. Since he got his first ŠKODA he has been on countless camping trips and to accordion festivals all over the country. His cars have always been a part of his adventures.

Asked about the most memorable moments, he recalls driving to the westernmost point of Iceland, the beautiful Látrabjarg, which is a line of cliffs 14 kilometres long and as high as 441 metres at one point. He also recalls a very special day in 1995; the day he married his second wife, Guðrún Sigurðardóttir. The wedding encompassed all his favourite things: his beloved wife, beautiful scenery in the countryside, accordion music, and his beige-coloured ŠKODA FELICIA. “We packed up our car and went to an accordion festival in the countryside. We got married outdoors and spent the night in our tent. It was perfect.”

Hallgrímsson’s current car, a ŠKODA RAPID, is his 13th ŠKODA. It was in December 2013 that one of his favourite ŠKODA salesmen, Ragnar Borgþórsson, got in touch with him and told him about this new type of ŠKODA that piqued his interest. “It was the first RAPID that was registered in Iceland and of course I bought it. It’s the first diesel car I ever bought, and I must say I’m really happy with it. It’s efficient, a pleasure to drive, and it can easily tow my trailer tent.

I also like the look of it. I have always liked the ŠKODA look, but I have to say that their design keeps getting better and better. My dream car, the ŠKODA SUPERB, is the best example of that. It’s really gorgeous and classy, but I don’t need such a big car and the RAPID fits me and my wife just fine for now.” Asked if the RAPID will be his last ŠKODA Friðjón is adamant. “No way. I have had 13 of them but there is still time for more,” he says with such enthusiasm that one is convinced this unique love story will last forever.”

A man and his car

 

ŠKODA FELICIA

 

Dream car: ŠKODA SUPERB