Wheels of a legend

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Trinh Cong Son died a decade ago, but his favorite car still prowls the Ho Chi Minh City streets, and the vehicle just got a brand new paint job to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the late musician's passing.

At a concert for Son's death anniversary (he passed on April 1, 2001) at Lan Anh Sports Club on March 27, audiences were moved when his old car, which everyone recognized, drove onto the stage.

But it wasn't exactly the same hatchback Fiat 127 they had come to know. The vehicle, produced in 1971 and made legendary ever since Son used it as his trademark vehicle on the streets of Saigon from 1974-1993, had been given a new paint job by Kzak, a Hanoi-based body-detailing shop.

The car is now decorated with a picture of Son's handwritten version of Diem xua (Nostalgia for Diem), perhaps his best-known song.

The car has changed hands several times since Son parted ways with it in 1993. It was auctioned in 2007 at the starting price of $14,000, and now belongs to musician Truong Le Son, who bought it in late 2008.

But the legally registered name of the vehicle's owner is still Trinh Cong Son and the license plate, 52M-8007, has never changed.

Both the car-lovers and Son's fans can see the legendary dark-red car rolling through Saigon again, undoubtedly passing many of the late artist's favorite haunts.

"There will come a day when the car is no longer used," said Le Son. "But I will still keep it and treasure it as a special remembrance of my life. The car will not only have historical value, but also value as a unique work of art."

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