All of January, visitors of the Jelgava City Library were welcome to the exhibition “Kurbads. A Latvian Hero’s Tale” (“Kurbads. Latvju varoņstāsts”). On 31 January, at the close of the exhibition, in a congenial atmosphere, a storytelling afternoon “Kurbads and the Heroic Tales of Zemgale” (“Kurbads un Zemgales varoņstāsti”) was held, where we met with folklore researcher, doctor of philology, the founder of the Storytellers movement in Latvia – Guntis Pakalns, illustrator of the book “Kurbads. Latvju varoņstāsts”, folklore and ornament researcher – Sindija Anča, as well as researcher, historian, archaeologist and Jelgava local – Andris Tomašūns.
We invoke the word hero quite often. The hero of the day, the hero of the film, a literary hero, the hero of a story, unsung hero, every inch a hero, don’t be a hero, play a hero, etc. Tezaurs.lv explains that a hero is someone who selflessly performs their duty particularly in difficult circumstances, even if in grave danger, continuing to defend their ideals, fighting for them, risking or sacrificing their wellbeing or even their life. What was a hero in the past and what is a hero today? Can anyone be a hero? Who do we call heroes? Do we need heroes?
The exhibition “Kurbads. A Latvian Hero Story” gave a sneak peek into the latest rendering of Kurbads’ exploits – a multimedia book “Kurbads. Latvju varoņstāsts”, where Latvian folklore meets modern technology, making it possible to relive this ancient tale and make the pages come to life. An app “KurbadsLV” has been developed to go with the book and is available on Google Play and the App Store. Using augmented reality technology, the pages burst alive, with goblins, giants and devils accompanied by music performed by the band Skyforger.
We, the car transport and logistics company “Kurbads”, are honoured to be a part of the support for the book, and we root for new projects such as these which go hand in hand with our values. Given that the book is named after our company’s main character, we are really glad that the one and only son of a mare continues to be reborn in new formats. Let it be!
BMW Alpina B7 Turbo Coupe
Based on BMW 635 CSi, this king of the autobahn turned out to be Alpina’s last turbocharged masterpiece.
This time, the car hauler of the car transport and logistics company Kurbads carries an especially powerful passenger from the 1980’s: a BMW Alpina B7 Turbo Coupe. Today, 330 horsepower is not that uncommon, even in the ‘hot hatchback’ league, but back in 1984, the two-door B7 was Germany’s fastest mass-produced car.
Made by BMW
It is doubly important to emphasise the word ‘mass-produced’, because the launch of this supermodel coincided with the recognition of Alpina as a car manufacturer (in 1983) and not just a BMW tuning company, which it had been for two decades since the creation of Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen GmbH & Co. KG in 1965. Starting with racing carburettors and ‘polished’ engine blocks, Burkard Bovensiepen took his company to such technological heights that Alpina cars eventually began to be made on the same production line as the respective BMW model. They are sold and repaired in BMW dealerships, and even keep the manufacturer’s warranty. The original VIN number in the engine compartment is crossed out mechanically, however, and every unit that comes out of the Buchloe factory gets a new, original chassis number, which repeats on other number plates elsewhere on the body.
Choose your turbo pressure
Under the name B7, Alpina models appeared in 1978, based on the first-generation Series 5 saloon (E12). The success of BMW 2002, the new Series 3 and the E12 ‘five’ paved the way for a new luxury coupe that continued on the glorious path started by the legendary Series E9 (3.0 CSi/CSL), both in motorsport and in BMW showrooms. It’s worth noting immediately that the original car was already unique and excellent. The body, styled by BMW’s renowned designer Paul Bracq, featured a generation M30 in-line six-cylinder engine, which grew in power with each upgrade, soon reaching and exceeding 200 horsepower. But Bovensiepen sought a radical increase in power, but not much could be done with a single camshaft and 12 valves. The six-cylinder engine was as a result fitted with lighter Mahle pistons and, much more importantly, a KKK turbocharger. And B7 Turbo managed to generate up to 300 horsepower. Why ‘up to’ 300? The pressure of the turbocharger can be changed between 0.55 and 0.85 bar with a special knob inside the car, located to the right of the parking brake lever. So the actual power of B7 Turbo Coupe has between 250 and 300 hp. The first generation B7 Turbo already went from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds. 17 seconds in, the B7 Turbo went as high as 180 km/h, with a top speed of 250 km/h. To control this ambitious increase in power, Alpina modified the suspension and the brakes, and equipped the coupé with the popular Pirelli P7 tyres.
Handmade, with Alpina stripes
Interestingly, B7 Turbo was originally called Alpina 630 Turbo, but the coupe’s name and origins were subordinated in many ways to the evolution of the Series 5 saloon-based Alpina models. B7 Turbo Coupe was an expensive and rare car, with only 110 produced, or rather built, plus an additional 20 with catalytic converters and reduced power. A new one could cost 10 to 30 thousand Deutschmarks, more than a new 635CSi. An original interior trim was made for every coupe, with Alpina’s signature half-leather seats, four-spoke sports steering wheel with special lining, and a lathed gear lever knob. As befits a true old-school manufacture, everything, including the dashboard, was handmade, either fully, or to a large degree. On the outside, Alpina B7 Turbo Coupe stands out from BMW 636CSi with its distinctive front and rear spoilers, the classic Alpina 20-spoke wheels and the decorative stripes whose pattern you can still use to quickly identify cars from Buchloe. The signature golden Alpina also adorns this fully restored B7 Turbo Coupe at Kurbads. The car’s interior trim was restored in its entirety, albeit in a shade of leather slightly different from what you would find in an Alpina catalogue from the period. Interestingly, the cockpit of this B7 Turbo does not feature the traditional Alpina plate with the serial number of the car in that model series. Given that only 130 examples of the second run of Alpina B7 Turbo Coupe came out between 1984 and 1987 (officially known as the B7 Turbo Coupe/1), the serial number would have had some value. Interestingly, in the mid-1980’s, Alpina B7’s engine power increased to 330 horsepower (previously only possible with the 1982 special edition B7 S Turbo), reducing the time from 0 to 100 accordingly.
Investing in future value
Between December 1978 and June 1988, Alpina produced a total of only 313 B7 Turbo Coupes, and some sources say that the number is even lower. In any case, this is an average of thirty cars a year, which is low even for the homeopathic production runs of Bovensiepen’s company. It also accounts for a microscopically tiny fraction of all the BMW E24 Series coupes made, given that over 13 years, the Dingolfing plant assembled more than 86,000 Series 6 coupes, of which well over half were BMW 635CSi, donor vehicles for B7 Turbo Coupe. So this 1980’s king of the autobahn, whose version S is not slow even by today’s standards, is at least as good an investment as the wines made in the Bovensiepen family’s vineyards (Alpina also made typewriters back in the day). In good condition, an Alpina B7 Turbo can fetch as much as 150,000–200,000 euro, while examples of the 30 B7 S Turbo ever made come up with such outrageous auction prices that they do not always attract interested bidders. Curiously, sixty S vehicles were originally planned, but the forthcoming switch to Coupe/1 risked making this plan unprofitable. While there are fewer and fewer B7 turbo coupes available out there, the chance to get lucky and fetch one at a reasonable price at an auction here in Europe, through ads in the US, or through forums in Japan has not yet been exhausted. With Alpina’s announcement of a full merger with BMW Group, effectively meaning the slow end of Alpina’s original models, and with the passing of the company’s founder, Burkard Bovensiepen, at the age of 87 in October this year, interest in Alpina’s early vehicles will only grow in the future.
How General Motors’ sports pickup became the first muscle car with a cargo box, a representative icon of American automotive design.
Cargo vehicles of the car transport and logistics company Kurbads met their counterpart from the 1970’s. The Chevrolet El Camino has an eight-cylinder engine that can look good and do something useful.
The epic scene from the dark comedy The Mexican is unforgettable! Brad Pitt’s rather flippant character goes to a Mexican car rental and refuses a brand-new Chrysler asking for ‘something more… Mexican?’ Following this conversation, Jerry gets the keys to a 30-year-old Chevrolet El Camino from the dodgy-looking men, complete with a huge V8 engine and all the trouble that the film’s dynamic plot pours onto the young man. We should immediately point out the example in Kurbads’ collection is a distant, more recent relative of ‘that’ El Camino. The antique pistol Jerry was looking for, the accidental corpse of the gun’s seller, and a bloodhound of an unknown breed met in a third-generation 1969 El Camino, while here we have a fourth-generation pickup, born in 1973. Between 1964 and 1987, the El Camino model went through four generations plus the very first one which had only survived for two seasons, in 1959 and 1960. Given that El Camino’s look often changed as frequently as once a year, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the variety of designs and engines. Not all variants were equally successful, but the long life of this Chevrolet vehicle is perfectly in line with its name, which translates from Spanish as ‘the way’.
Missing out on a debut
The American car industry has always been known for crazy ideas, impractical concepts, and for boldness and energy to bring them to the assembly line. In the 1960’s, General Motors’ styling department was under the management of the talented, if despotic, Harley Earl, and if he fell in love with something wild, convincing the management of the same was purely a technical task. They say that Earl had suggested the coupe pickup idea as early as 1952, but must have coincided with the wrong phase of the moon, or a bad mood at the board of directors. GM slept epically through the invention of the ‘coupe utility’ vehicle, or ‘ute’, leaving the laurels of its creation to the far more conservative Ford. Americans had been pondering the idea of combining a car and a cargo vehicle since the 1920’s. According to legend, the final push came with a letter Ford’s management received from an Australian farmer’s wife – she asked for a car ‘that you drive to church in on Sunday, and take pigs to market in on Monday’. Ford Ranchero came out in 1957, two years before El Camino.
No frame, no tonne
From a modern perspective, the idea of a lightweight two-seater pickup truck doesn’t sound that crazy, let alone an idea that’s worth millions. But in the late 1950’s, many were surprised by the plan to build a pickup, primarily a utility vehicle, using a station wagon as the base, with its load-bearing unit body, rather than the conventional pickup frame. How would it handle rough country roads, and how much would it be able to carry? In fairness, at least at the beginning, the box capacity of Ranchero and El Camino was laughably low, mostly around a few hundred kilograms. It was not something you could use to bring fuel to a logger or a combine harvester. Nevertheless, the vehicle you see in the pictures next to Kurbads’ ‘Namejs’ is by no means a weakling. Thanks to the double walls and floor of the cargo box, as well as levelling pneumatic shock absorbers, which have been an El Camino’s feature since forever, also known as ‘air shocks’, at the rear, the car could take 1250 pounds, or about 570 kilos. Not bad! As you open the door, you can see the Fisher Body logo on the sideboard. For 70 years, this company made bodies for a wide range of General Motors vehicles. Although General Motors took over the business of the Fisher brothers completely in 1926, out of respect for these energetic local industrialists, the tycoons of old Detroit allowed the Fisher Body logo to show up on Chevrolets, Oldsmobiles, and Cadillacs until as late as 1984, when the ‘blue carriage’ metal presses were shut down for good. Actually, the logo survived for a little longer.
World’s fastest pumpkin
And so Earl’s dream coupe pickup was born, with the mistakes of the first generation neatly corrected and the product’s appealing features deftly communicated to the buyers. But how did El Camino go from a practical everyday car to a cult vehicle with two wide stripes on the bonnet? The answer is simple: power. Chevrolet originally marketed El Camino as a municipal vehicle with low-power six-cylinder engines, offering the option of equipping it with Chevrolet small-block V8 engines with about 200 horsepower. In theory, since El Camino was based on the mid-range Chevrolet Chevelle, it had access to larger GM engines. The horsepower breakthrough began in the late 1960’s with the introduction of Super Sport sub-models, which all had the big-block V8 engine. The feast of motor power reached its peak in the early 1970’s. The sports pickup had at the time the biggest and most powerful 7.4-litre Chevrolet engine, with 450 horsepower, which meant that the pumpkins in the cargo box soon realised that they could fly a quarter of a mile in less than 13 seconds. On a straight road, El Camino could go as fast as 171 km/h, and don’t forget, the heyday of high-power pickups was still far ahead. Although the 1973 oil crisis and the subsequent revision of the power standard erased the most powerful V8s and Corvette levels of horsepower from El Camino’s catalogues, the car had already earned a reputation as the world’s first muscle pickup. Ironically, it was Ford this time, the pioneer of this class, that missed out on its chance, as it brought large engines to its Ranchero later than Chevrolet. A 7.5-litre or 460 cubic-inch engine only showed up in the ‘rancher’ in the mid-1970’s, with the beginning of a massive switch to unleaded petrol, denying the legendary ‘big blocks’ their erstwhile epic power due to lower compression rates. El Camino’s 7.4-litre V8, too, had only 245 horsepower in 1975. Despite this, it was the third generation El Camino that turned out to be the most popular one, with 250,000 cars sold in five years.
Character in the background
Our El Camino was born right at the dividing line between the ‘good old days’ and the era of stricter exhaust emissions rules and even stricter passenger safety requirements. The fourth-generation pickup is the biggest and safest El Camino of all time, with additional door skid rods, frameless side windows, improved sound insulation, and catalytic converters which were installed on all engines. Some of the engines were absolutely sickly, with the smallest six-cylinder unit producing just 105 horsepower and the once mighty 7.4-litre blockbuster cranking up to 215 horsepower – meagre by new standards. ‘350’ on the front wing shows that this El Camino is equipped with the most popular 350 cubic-inch or 5.7-litre V8 (175 horsepower), while the proudly erect lever at the steering wheel signals that we have here the only available three-speed Turbo-Hydramatic automatic gearbox. This El Camino turned out to be sluggish because the choice of stuff under the bonnet had reached the low point in the career of Chevrolet pickups and, frankly speaking, there wasn’t much left of the coupe itself in terms of the design. Its film appearances didn’t do well either. In The Bodyguard, Kevin Costner drives a 1982 El Camino, that is, the fifth and final generation of the model. Kill Bill 2? No, it has the 1979 version. In Breaking Bad perhaps? Also no, it’s a 1981 El Camino. But there is another way to look at all of this. Despite the rocky patch, Chevrolet El Camino outlived its main rival, Ford Ranchero, by a full eight years, and even managed to make a brief mid-1980’s revival in Mexico, where it was built until the end of the model’s career. The car shown in the pictures is effectively the first crossover of its time, designed and built when this term had not even been invented.
With the golden champagne sparkling and the Hollywood stars laughing, the most anticipated event of the year – the Kurbads Annual Ball 2023 or the Annual Awards Ceremony – took place at Kurbads.
Once upon a time in Hollywood… life as a movie? When we were planning the theme for the ball – one of the options for our annual ball was “golden year”, because thanks to the work of all of us, the figures were indeed like in a golden year, but still, we were not left with the feeling that a golden year was still ahead of us. As in Hollywood, when we think of the nominees this year, we are proud that several of them, from supporting actors, have become strong performers in leading roles for several years.
By creating an atmosphere worthy of the nightlife boulevards seen in the films and travelling through time and space, the party not only brought us to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where the brightest actors and most recognisable film characters meet. On this magical night, thanks to the exquisite scenery and elegant décor, we were able to create our very own Kurbads Awards Ceremony, the equivalent of the Oscars or the Golden Globes.
As usual, the guests took the theme very seriously and enthusiastically, dressing appropriately. The well-known multicoloured characters Shrek and Fiona, as well as the Grinch, the Christmas thief, were present for the important event. The superheroes Batman and Superman, who did not fight each other, and Maleficent were also present. The romantic criminals Bonnie and Clyde were also there. The elegant Audrey Hepburn graced us with her ever-young presence, while Austin Powers and Zorro added a touch of sparkle to the party.
To make the event even more fun and enjoyable, comedian Edgars Bāliņš, a virtuoso on the microphone, provided a fun atmosphere and lots of laughter. Thanks to his entertaining personality and the well-known rhythms of the legendary band “Labvēlīgais tips”, the fun was in full swing throughout the evening and the dance floor couldn’t rest for a moment.
We are very happy that the Kurbads, Kurbads Truck Service, Kurbads Ice Rink, Kurbads Hockey School and Lantes Manor teams came together to create and experience an unforgettably brilliant festival. And not only that, we can also say that we are a great and united team. We believe that our driving force is Kurbads as a team, and each one of us is a superhero who strives for success. Because it is the collective commitment of the whole team that will determine how Kurbads will shape the next episodes.
Thank you to everyone who came and congratulations to the award winners. Have a powerful New Year!
Honoring the best employees of the year in various nominations, the winners are:
2023 Kurbads best employee Toms Hartmanis
2023 Kurbads best driver Māris Labarevics
2023 Kurbads best young driver Invalds Eglis
2023 Kurbads best employee of the warehouse and pre-sale preparation Dimitrijs Manušins (Dmitriy Manushin)
2023 Kurbads best employee of Kurbads truck service Aivars Niparts
2023 Kurbads best employee of Kurbads service Kārlis Hāzenfuss
2023 Kurbads best employee of Kurbads Rumbula Sports Center and HS Kurbads Vladislavs Vodolažskis
2023 Kurbads best employee of Kurbads Lantes manor Lauris Goldbergs
Lexus launches a futuristic minivan in the business segment
The comfort of a private jet on wheels
Keeping up with the latest technological innovations and design trends, car manufacturer Lexus is launching its latest model, the LM, a minivan with the comfort of a private jet. This new and luxurious minivan of the future has everything passengers need to experience the highest level of comfort during their journey, with a futuristic blend of technology and modern luxury.
As the manufacturer points out, the sophisticated Lexus LM is designed to stand out. In developing this model, the car manufacturer studied the private jet customer segment to offer them a first-class ground travel experience. It offers the highest level of comfort for those who can appreciate modern design combined with the comforts of a private jet.
Specification and performance
The Lexus LM is available in two versions, the four-seater VIP comfort and the classic seven-seater. The overall length of this model is 5130 mm, width 1890 mm and height 1945 mm. The car’s spacious interior, boxy body and 3000 mm wheelbase allow for maximum room in the rear. This is perfectly complemented by the rigidity of the massive body and the most advanced drive, braking and adaptive suspension technologies, which provide outstanding safety and dynamics while maintaining driving comfort.
The four-seat model is a showcase of business comfort convenience and modern technology, with two multifunctional airline seats and a myriad of modern features to make every journey exceptionally comfortable and enjoyable. The classic seven-seat model has a middle row of seats for comfort, while the third row can be raised and lowered as required, providing space for luggage.
The Lexus LM is equipped with a next-generation 2.5-litre self-charging hybrid petrol engine and all-wheel drive, offering 184 kW (250 hp) of power for an ultra-smooth ride and a top speed of 190 km/h. It accelerates to 100 km/h in just 8.7 seconds. This shows that comfort and power can go hand in hand in the minivan segment. The LM features the third generation Lexus Safety System, which includes a driving assist system and a fatigue monitor to improve driver focus on the road. It also features an advanced collision avoidance system that recognises and helps avoid crash situations. The car itself recognises obstacles ahead and will never let the car crash into a slower vehicle.
Exclusive design, rigidity and unbeatable comfort
From the outside, the expressive exterior of this limousine-like car shows glimpses of Lexus and other car manufacturers, as indicated by the massive and robust contours of the car, making it look like a boxy lump. And the Lexus-specific radiator grille, visible at the front, is even larger. But it should be remembered that it is comfort and the latest and most advanced technologies that are valued more highly than visual contours.
Inside, passengers can feel uniquely comfortable and enjoy the journey to the fullest, whether relaxing in the comfortable leather seats or working, thanks to the LM’s ultra-sleek design and everything needed for a modern working environment, making it a mobile luxury office on wheels. This level of comfort is unrivalled even by the most elite cinema seating, because the manufacturer wanted to give its customers the comfort of a private jet, and it has succeeded. It is not for nothing that they call it “the plane on the ground”.
Modern technology and the highest standards of comfort
LM has focused on the four-seat model. It offers an unforgettable driving experience, complemented by exquisite interior details, making every journey a special occasion. Its multifunctional and ventilated air seats offer the highest quality and comfort piloting that will be appreciated by everyone who can afford it.
The most advanced technologies that run through the cabin are certainly worth mentioning. If things like a refrigerator, air quality and temperature precisely controlled by thermal sensors and state-of-the-art lighting are no longer special in the business class segment, then the 48-inch widescreen display and the Mark Levinson 3D Surround Sound audio system, specially developed for this model, which can be controlled via touch-sensitive control panels in the armrests, are particularly noteworthy.
Also noteworthy is the glass panel between the driver and passengers, which can be blacked out for privacy. For longer journeys, this combination will provide cinema lovers and music lovers with HD-quality video and a superb audio experience akin to a private concert hall or home cinema. Even the finest businessmen and VIPs will be impressed.
Read more and see photos here: https://www.lexus.lv/new-cars/lm
The transport and logistics company Kurbads supports the latest film of Dzintars Dreibergs, In the Hoop. The Birth of the TTT Legend (Tīklā. TTT leģendas dzimšana) by transporting historic cars. This historical drama tells the story of the greatest women’s basketball team of the 20th century – TTT. The aim of the film is to educate, inspire and emotionally engage audiences across Latvia to work together in building a strong national identity based on national values.
Patriotism is the foundation of Kurbads. We are known for preserving the national identity of Latvia and protecting our ancestral heritage by adorning our vehicle carriers with national heroes and symbols of strength. We are therefore very pleased that the film production team approached Kurbads as a cooperation partner to take part in the film, to ensure the delivery of historic cars to and from the filming locations. It is a great way for us to get involved and support the cultural heritage of Latvia, opening up new pages of our country’s history and strengthening our national identity.The producer of the film In the Hoop. The Birth of the TTT Legend, Inga Praņevska, appreciates the contribution to the film. “We are happy and grateful that Kurbads is helping us to tell great stories about Latvia. Already when we were working on the film Blizzard of Souls (Dvēseļu putenis), we felt that we had met the right people – our own people. We are united in the conviction that we should be proud of Latvian achievements and respect Latvian values. When we see the authentic historical cars in the footage of the new film In the Hoop. The Birth of the TTT Legend, we will know that it was Kurbads who brought them to the film set from the collectors of old cars with great responsibility and understanding of its work. The company’s contribution is not just about logistics – at the end of the day, for the viewers of the film, it is a journey through time, and new pages of Latvian history are being highlighted”, explains I. Praņevska, the producer of the film about the successful cooperation.
Toms Hartmanis, the head of Logistics at Kurbads: “We are proud to be able to travel back in time and witness the birth of the basketball team TTT. We were able to do this thanks to the film team, who approached us to do what we do best – transport historic cars. It was a very great responsibility, to be carried out with the utmost care. We are pleased that Kurbads is known not only in the transport sector, but also in the cultural industry. Our drivers carry the name of Latvia across Europe and further. We wish that the message of the film goes as far and beyond.”
About the film:The film In the Hoop. The Birth of a TTT Legend is about the greatest women’s basketball team of the 20th century, unrivalled anywhere in the world. The TTT team is included in the Guinness Book of World Records for winning 12 consecutive USSR Championship gold medals and the European Champions Cup 18 times, which today would be comparable to the FIBA Europa League. The story of the film is based on historical events of the post-war years in Soviet Latvia and the main character – the Latvian basketball player and coach, one of the golden girls of TTT, Dzidra Uztupe-Karamiševa.
Photo by: Raimonds Birkenfelds
Our colleague Brencis Pēteris Eglītis continues his education at ECG Academy – automobile logistic management.
The second out of five ECG Academy 2023/2024 modules has been held in Bremen, Germany. In this module, the focus was on continuing to expand the knowledge of innovation topics in the FVL (Finished Vehicle Logistics) sector.
Three out of five days consisted of lectures about innovation and project management and the specifics, that come with the FVL.
Recently, one of the main topics in logistics is the soon-to-be mandatory reporting of CO2 emissions in the EU, to control and better understand the footprint on our planet made by the supply chain of the automotive industry as well as the logistics sector altogether. With the recently published ECG guidelines on CO2 reporting, the automotive logistics field has taken a big leap to become more efficient and sustainable in the long term.
Two days of the course were dedicated to visits to compounds in Bremerhaven and Cuxhaven ports as well as the Mercedes-Benz factory in Bremen. During this time, the participants were introduced to the inner workings of some of the biggest logistics hubs in the whole world, and what is being done to further improve the efficiency of not only passenger car delivery but also the specifics for farming and mining equipment, and public transport (busses, trains, trams) distribution worldwide.
“We are leaving Bremen with a clear vision of what we, as a part transport industry, have to do to further improve our efforts to help make the world a greener, better place while keeping up the standards that are expected from us by the clients.”
The next module of ECG Academy will be set in Barcelona, Spain, in February.
Read more about academy: https://www.ecgassociation.eu/activities/education/ecg-academy/
On 30 November, the annual competition “Safest Company Fleet 2023” organised by the insurance company BALTA (PZU Group) and the Ministry of Transport awarded for the first time three platinum and seven gold awards to companies that are best able to balance all components of road safety – Car, Business, People – in their daily operations.
The companies were judged in four categories – passenger carriers; local (Baltic) freight carriers and special-purpose fleets; international freight carriers; lower-risk, national and municipal fleets.
For the first time in the competition, Platinum category awards were presented – we received them as well.
Ivars Čiblis, Kurbads service manager, comments, “It is very nice to be appreciated, but striving for perfection is the daily routine of our Kurbads team – we are constantly looking for ways to develop and improve our company!”
Many thanks to the insurance company BALTA and the Ministry of Transport! Kurbads will continue to make improvements to promote a greener and safer future and will continue to encourage others to follow this example.
Continuing the tradition of decorating the Kurbads car carrier fleet with exceptional personalities, characters of myth and legend or signs signalling Latvian might, the 116th car carrier’s cab will feature a portrait of the singular Latvian songwriter Haralds Sīmanis.
As usual, we wanted to adorn the latest addition to our fleet with an image that is special and meaningful to us – the energy and spirit of which are in step with our values. One such image is that of the late, well-known Latvian songwriter Haralds Sīmanis. He stamped a very personal imprint on each of our hearts, so we wanted to honour the artist by ornamenting our newest car with his portrait.
Alfreds Paulausks, Kurbads artist, reveals that it took a very long time to develop the portrait because it is extremely detailed. However, he admits that if the job would have been twice as long, he would do it without a second thought. “Once I saw the photograph, I knew immediately that it was just what I needed – the perfect light, the look and the movement that’s so characteristic of Haralds. It was a tremendous responsibility for me to be portraying him, because only recently we were standing by the stage singing along to his gorgeous songs. I see Haralds as an extraordinary phenomenon in Latvian music and – without getting bogged down in terminology – as a rock star. And that’s how I portrayed him,” says A. Paulausks.
In the beginning, the work of decorating the car carrier was no plain sailing, because the author of the photo deemed most suitable, which was come upon online, needed to be found. A big thank you to our friends who helped us do it! It turns out that Haralds’ striking portrait, which will adorn one of the car carriers, was painted in Cēsis, his hometown. After a long search, thanks to Ilze Grunte, we managed to learn that the photographer is Mārtiņš Otto and the photo session took place in Fonoklubs, where Haralds was a frequent and special guest.
Jānis Sildniks, owner of Fonoklubs in Cēsis, says of his relationship with Haralds: “Fonoklubs in Cēsis established a relationship with Haralds Sīmanis as early as 2012, when the singer-songwriter stopped by for the opening concert of his album I am the Morning (Es esmu rīts). Unfortunately, in autumn 2022, the presentation of his album In circles (Pa apli) at Fonoklubs turned out to be his last concert, which came to close in a cosy and soulful atmosphere with the audience singing along to the song “Lake” (“Ezers”). It is vital to honour our heroes, and Haralds Sīmanis is nothing less than a hero of the Latvian stage, so we are happy about Kurbads initiative to keep Sīmanis alive both musically and, in this case, visually.”
This is only further proof that the great man and his wonderful heart is cherished all over and honoured in the hearts of countless people. We hope that this serves as yet another way to immortalise Haralds’ spirit and pay respects to his character for a long time to come, so that everyone can feel his kind presence whenever they see our car carrier.
We trust that Haralds’ fortitude will protect us and his wisdom will accompany our drivers on their long journeys across the highways of Europe. Perhaps one day his image will be the stuff of legends, and passers-by will ask “Who is this big man possessing the energy of a mighty spirit?” It is no coincidence that Haralds used to say of himself that he is known by many, but truly understood only by a few.
The fate of the human soul is to depart, but the light and warmth it leaves behind remain and live on forever. May the light of Haralds show the way in the darkest nights, and may the vigour of his spirit accompany us on our journey and protect all drivers, watching on from above.
The reins of the 116th truck driver are entrusted to our driver Viesturs Latkovskis.