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Porsche pair

Cross-cultural marriage buoyed by a common love of classic automobiles

Published on July 25, 2007

It is difficult for a man and a woman who have grown up in different cultures to make a happy marriage, but a common interest in classic cars has helped it happen for Sayam and Kristi Sethaputra.

Sayam was raised within the Thai culture, while Kristi, who is pregnant with their second child, grew up in the US. They first met at a classic-car fair in Thailand in 1999, in which Sayam's BMW 502 was shown opposite a Porsche 356 Speedster belonging to Kristi's father.

Sayam, who works as office manager for the president of Bangkok Glass Industry, says he knew Kristi's father was a classic-car collector but didn't know he had a daughter.

"I was very impressed at my first sight of her, because she was wearing a miniskirt and was cleaning the car's bonnet," Sayam says. "It's rare to see a young girl at a classic car show. Most of the women are older.

"What's more, she was cleaning the car of someone I knew, so my first question to her was: 'Where is he?'"

Kristi, who had just arrived from the US, says she drove one of her father's Porsche's to the fair, and he drove another.

"My father is a hard-core collector of Porsche cars in Thailand. Those who collect Porsches must know him. I thought only senior people would be at the show, and I was surprised when I saw a BMW 502 parked opposite my car, because it was in perfect condition. I'd seen that model only in magazines, and when I saw the owner's name was Sayam, I thought he must be old, because his name was outdated.

"When I saw him, I was surprised again. He was not at all what I thought. He was well dressed, and I was impressed, because he was a classic-car collector like my daddy, and I love cars, as well.

"We took several years to get married. My life after marriage has been happy, because I can spend my life with a man who has the same interests as I do. I drive faster than my husband, because he has a calm heart. It's very good that we can share our lives with someone who has a common interest."

Sayam says it is rare to find a couple who are both classic-car collectors.

"The wives of many of my friends attend classic-car shows before they get married, but soon afterwards they both disappear, because the wives don't like cars. Some of the men eventually come back to the shows after they get divorced.

"I think I'm lucky, because we both love the same thing. On some weekends, my wife and I drive to used-car dealerships, to see if there are any classic cars on sale. We're both willing to do that because we love the same thing. I believe married life is sustainable if a couple shares the same interests," he says.

Thanadol Rila

The Nation

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