The ‘My Proton Makeover’ contest, which Proton announced as part of its 1Perayaan Proton programme, has kicked off, and first up to bat in the project will be a 1992 Saga owned by Fadly Hisham Roplay, whose car is slated to be completely reworked by Proton Motorsports’ R3 unit.

The programme, targeted at rewarding Proton car owners who have loyally supported the brand over the years, will see five other selected Proton car owners with the most interesting story winning a makeover or renewal of their Proton. The contest – which runs until December 28 – requires entrants to submit their story involving themselves and their Proton, and the company will then identify the best stories or most heart-warming and reward these five owners with a complete car makeover.

Choosing Fadly to be the first recipient of the programme was a pretty clear-cut affair. “When we kicked off this initiative, Fadly’s name came up as a model example. The story of him and his Proton Saga was lighthearted and entertaining. But more importantly, it was really heart-warming to hear about much he loves his car and the memories that his family and him share with it. For this, we truly felt that he and his car deserved a big ‘Thank You’ and reward,” Proton MD Datuk Seri Syed Zainal Abidin said.

Purchasing his Proton Saga in 1999 from its original owner in Kuala Lumpur, Fadly, a technician with an international electronics manufacturer, drove it back immediately to his home town, where upon arriving at the Sultan Azlan Syah bridge in Perak, shouted out “Welcome to Kuala Kangsar!” to the car, as described by his mother who was travelling with him.

“He has such an attachment to the car that only he can describe best,” said his mother, Hamiah Abdullah. “He once brought us down to shop in KL, and had his car towed by the traffic police as it was parked illegally. After frantically rushing to the impound and paying the fine, he ran over and hugged the car! We couldn’t help but watch and laugh,” she added.

Fadly expressed his great sentiments of the car. “One of my most memorable moments, or rather nightmare, involving the car was when I drove my mother over to my girlfriend’s house for her to convey the proposal of marriage to my girlfriend’s parents. I was sitting in this car, outside the house, trembling!” he recalled. His Saga has certainly travelled with him through the years, being the vehicle used on his first date with his then girlfriend, who has since become his wife and mother to his two children.

“This car and I have shared many stories together. We have been the brunt of jokes by my family and friends. My father-in-law has even offered to pay the down payment for a new car, but I politely declined,” said Fadly. “It is a bit of a relationship, where my car keeps me going and I also keep her going,” he laughed, after revealing that thousands of Ringgit have been well spent over the years on regular service maintenance and to keep the car roadworthy.

Fadly’s 19 year-old Proton Saga will now be in the R3 workshop for four weeks, for a complete tip to toe rework, inside out. Proton Motorsports Division’s R3 unit is certainly excited about the project, according to its head of engineering, Tengku Djan Ley. “It’s not often that we are given free-rein to do up a car like this. Considering the background of the situation, we’re really looking forward to giving the car an outstanding makeover as a gift for Fadly.” The fully reworked Proton Saga will be unveiled in September.