Canadian News: A Sunbeam of Hope

with Nigel Matthews

April 26, 2011

By day, he’s a Sheriff wrangling prisoners for the Vancouver court system.  At night, he’s a car guy on a mission—the head of an international charity project that kicks off this year with a cross-continental drive to raise money for the children of Armenia and Lebanon.

The first time I met Ohan Korlikian, in 2006, he was displaying a 1967 Sunbeam Alpine MKV at a car show in Vancouver, British Columbia.

An extraordinary man, Korlikian told me he planned to drive the car to St. John's, Newfoundland to raise money for charity while competing in the world class tarmac rally known as the Targa Newfoundland.  Later that year, he did just that—driving his Sunbeam 6,187 miles across Canada, competing in the rally, and, most significantly, raising $15,500 for children's charities.

Korlikian lives his life guided by something Winston Churchill once said:

We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.

Korlikian gives back by doing what he loves best—working and driving his favorite historic car.  And it’s not easy.  Unlike most people who work on cars, Korlikian doesn’t have access to a real garage.  He does his restoration work while the rest of the world sleeps.  From midnight to every morning until 6 a.m. and without the use of a compressor or oxy-acetylene torch—just lots of patience, WD-40 and skinned knuckles—Korlikian works all by himself in the cold underground parking area of his apartment complex.

Every spare minute of his time is spent restoring and saving Rootes Group-built Sunbeam automobiles—the vehicle he plans to use to raise even more money for children's charities this year.

This spring Korlikian, who immigrated to Canada from Armenia 40 years ago, is planning to set out on his most incredible and ambitious journey to date—a 30-country, intercontinental drive from Vancouver, Canada to Beirut, Lebanon, in a newly restored Sunbeam Alpine. 

The project Korlikan calls “Light a Candle for Armenia” will raise money for the children in Armenia and Lebanon whose ancestors were massacred in 1915 at the hands of Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I.

For more details of how you can support Korlikian, and to follow his driving itinerary from Vancouver to Beirut, please visit www.hovig.org.

 

Reader’s Note

Congratulations to HVA’s Nigel Matthews, recently elected President of the Specialty Vehicle Association of British Columbia. 

Matthews, the Canadian Manager of the HVA, has a 36 year background in the automotive industry.  He has worked as a licensed auto body technician and in the insurance industry with experience in claims.  Before accepting the position of SVABC President, Matthews was the Manager of Specialty Vehicles administering the collector vehicle program for ICBC, the Provincial Government Insurer in British Columbia.

Says Matthews, “I hope to maintain and build an even stronger working relationship between the SVABC and the Provincial Government Insurer.  It is the best program in Canada, one that shares HVA’s mission to keep ‘yesterday’s vehicles on tomorrow’s roads.’  I hope to use my knowledge and experience gained during my 15 years at ICBC to help expand the program even further and to negotiate on behalf of the hobbyist and stakeholders from a different side of the table!” 

Please visit
www.sva.bc.ca for more information on the important work done by the Specialty Vehicle Association.

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