WHO'S PETROLHEAD FROM BR?
A PETROLHEAD WHOOSE LIFE HAS ALWAYS BEEN CONNECTED TO THE AUTOMOTIVE WORLD
I can trace my roots with the automobile thanks to my grandparents, who use to take my father and my uncle on some unique roadtrips across south america. Thanks to that, my father has developed a taste for classic and exclusive cars and roadtrips. This taste was passed to me since I was a kid, and thanks to the support of my parents, I always had the chance to know more and more with information provided by magazines, newspapers, toy cars, videogames, brochures and TV programs. They also supported for me to draw a lot, do schemes of versions and models that I wanted to create and exist. Almost like a list of the project cars I wanted to make. Also, because of the know-how acquired in railway modelling, my father started helping me to modify my die-casts. So almost every die-cast I've collected, has a unique design or a different part.
My father always took me to car shows, exhibitions and to cruise around in the weekend. Since we had a very strong connection at the time, almost all weekends were like that. I've developed a taste to like almost any kind of car. As years passed by, my knowledge got stronger and began to question, why was this developed? What was the importance of this model? The first make I began to investigate deeply was Fiat of Brazil, I believe this was because my family had a lot of Fiats, a list full of Unos, Tempras and Tipos, it was the first and only automaker that sold cars with turbo for the Brazilian domestic market and it's styling was similar to cars from Alfa Romeo, another automaker from the group that had a very good image and reputation in the country in the 90's. That interest got me in touch with the first clubs and forums of car clubs of Brazil. I remember to go to web and see a lot of information at the Clube do Tipo Brasil, Clube do Marea and Tempra Clube.
I don't know how exactly, but I can trace how I've developed a taste for Minis. It was the base for the Innocenti Mini. It was one rival of the Fiat Cinquecento at the episode of Top Gear were Jeremy Clarkson went through inside of a shopping mall and had a go-kart racing. It was the Mr. Bean's car. It was the getaway car in the Italian Job and Bourne Identity. It was one of the best cars in Gran Turismo 2. It was the most collected car that I had (Today I may have around 150 Minis in die-cast). And most of all, it was incredibly difficult to find in Brazil, since it was not imported in huge numbers, so any time I spotted one in the streets I was really amazed by the car. In one of the exhibitions, my father and I spotted one 1275GT for sale, and since he already knew my love for the car and we were searching for a classic, he bought it and I had my first connection with vintage classic cars. I remember to go on a lot of exhibitions, fix stuff that was wrong with the car, buy the first car parts and organize meetings and events, even though I was not able to drive the car in the first 7 years we had.
We always had love for the Twingo. Since we have had 4 Scénics, it was a popular sight in the dealerships when we took it for service, and I remember how huge and well equipped the car was when compared to the other small cars in the market. I always considered it as the real substitute of the classic Mini, as the packaging and the innovative solutions of the interior are the same. Also, if you look at the Initiale version is very similar to the Knightsbridge version of the Mini for instance. Since we needed a car for the license restriction day that occurred in São Paulo and the car had to offer a level of comfort, we ended up buying a Twingo Pack. This car was fully loaded, offering even Airbag, an item that was very rare at the time and liked the car a lot. Since it was rare, I've decided to help organize the club and its first meetings. The club got the attention of Renault of Brazil, and today we are acknowledged as an official club by Renault.
At the same time, I got in touch with some people who organized the first drift events in Brazil! Even though it had been almost 7 years since I had contact with them, usually the car world brings us together.
I always knew that I would end up working with something related to cars, but I didn't know that would follow the path it took. I've changed my mind on doing engineering after going to a lecture by Istituto Europeo di Design, a well-known italian design institute that was recognized in car design. IED gave me the opportunity to meet designers and gave me abilities to learn and seek for innovation to offer a better design in products and services for its users. During my time in the Product Design course, I've fell in love for Marketing, Project and Design Thinking. My first work experience was in Marketing, so that emphasized the marketing area.
My second work experience was with Volkswagen of Brazil! It was what can be best described as dream job for petrolheads. It consisted in the learning with professionals from all the areas what was Volkswagen, its history and technologies, even visiting the São Bernardo do Campo plant, the first plant of VW outside Germany. After the learning, we would be separated to designated cars to show to the 2014 São Paulo Motorshow. I stayed with the Golf Variant, a model that was doing research to check public response for market in Brazil. Also, I was given two tickets for Rock In Rio 2015. Those made me do a unique roadtrip with a mate.
My father and I decided that I needed a new car, since I had a daily to commute for college and work. With that agreed there was no need to have two old cars that required a lot of money in maintenance. My uncle was selling his 500 for a fair price, and since I've always loved its italian design and handling, I bought a 500 SportAir Automatic, not manual because São Paulo. But its gearbox was fine and quick, with the silencer removed; it made a very nice sound. With it I was in touch with the 500 Clube and soon I got in touch with the organizations of meetings and events. In this group I did a lot of friends, from various locations in Brazil. Also, we got in contact with Fiat, to solve problems in various cars of the club for free.
VW vs VW
In 2014, my friends from VW and I organized a meet with people from our network that also were petrolheads to form a car club. This club was part in a very underground culture of the automobile in São Paulo. Since motorsport it's very restricted because it demands a lot of money, this was the way petrolheads did what they do best related to cars. I used to share a lot of my knowledge to everybody, always wanting to teach people what to do with their car and its information. We've organized meets, tracksdays, dynodays and even surprise birthday parties. This club turned itself into a big family of petrolheads. Fast And Furious has never been so real.
"Speedcamera, 60!" "No, but it's on the way back"
My father and I always did a January roadtrip, usually to Foz do Iguaçu, which is in the border with Paraguay and Argentina. This year though, we've decided to go a little bit further down. Since I was coming to Europe, we thought that could be one of the last big roadtrips we were going to do together, so we decided to do it like my grandfather did, going to Buenos Aires through Chuí and down Uruguayan coastline. After 13 days, we've managed to travel 5150km.
I came to Portugal in the beginning of April, next month, in May, it would take place the Vodafone Rally de Portugal. Since I've never had the chance to go to a WRC and it was on my birthday, I paid the 100 euros, otherwise, who knows when I would have the chance to see Sebastian Oiger racing in his Polo WRC. It was an amazing experience, and I made friends with people from the organization. In a feedback of the event, I got in touch with the company who organizes automotive events in Portugal. I sent my CV and kept waiting for a reply.
While I was waiting for the reply, I discovered the Portuguese summer. So I've decided that the best way to win money was to take tourists for a tour in a convertible around the Porto region. The project was going well up until the point where I had a mechanical fault with it and was unable to fix it since it was not worthy. I ended up selling it because I needed money.
With the help of friends, I was able to go on unique roadtrips! Making friends and connecting to the world by car is a dream for every petrolhead. I believe that the roadtrips that I've done are among one of my best life experiences that I had.
M-Sport, the company that organizes the WRC, contacted me, offering work at the Peugeot International Convention held in Cannes, France. Obviously I said yes and at the beginning of September, I travelled to the event, where our team had was responsible to take care of more than 100 Peugeots that were at the convention. At the free time, I had the chance to see some of the supercars/vintage cars of the French Riviera and Monaco.
During my visit to the Oktoberfest held in Munich, I had the chance to visit the BMW Museum, where they share their history to its visitors.
I'm currently coordinating the NewCo Portugal. I've wanted to go to this festival since it was a chance to visit companies and ride in a MINI. But unfortunately the ticket costed 35 euros, and I couldn't spend that money at the time. I then got in touch with the company which organizes the event, firstly to work as volunteer. They recognized my interest on working for them that they called me to be coordinator of the volunteers. With this event, I was able to visit companies, share business cards and stay with a MINI.
Why I started the Petrolhead from BR? Well, that one is easy to say. Brazilians have creativity to create some unique models. Since our market was closed to imports from 1976 to 1990, our companies had to innovate using old technology or even creating new models. This led to some cars that were made exclusively to the Brazilian Market, like the Karmann Ghia TC and a unique way to personalize its vehicles. This project is a way to show the world what Brazil has to offer in terms of cars.
This doens't look good
I believe that with the progress of technology, a social media that brings automotive experts and general people together is a great chance to determinate the future of the automobile and how can we improve its contribution to the society.
I will post about curiosities, share my experiences and want to open discussions in how can we improve what we love the most, the automobile.