Heavy Metal Affliction - Argentina
If you know two things about Argentina, they may be that it is the home of the great “El Maestro” Juan Manuel Fangio and that it is the southernmost country on the South American Continent. Fangio won the Formula One championship five times with four different teams, a feat only bested by Michael Schumacher. The diversity of the incredible Argentinian landscape has made it part of the great Dakar rally since the rally raid moved to the southern continent.
Through Argentinian Forza fan Ariel Rodolfo Fuentes, who we featured back in 2014 along with his much loved but lost 1978 Chevy Nova, we can see that their passion for car culture is no less than Fangio’s great racing accomplishments or the immensity of their sundry topography.
This edition of HMA has three brief stories to share of lessons, love, and dedication, all about cars that you may have never heard of. The cars may be different, but their owner’s passion for them isn’t.
A Car with More Days Than Kilometers
“My dad left for work before I woke up and came home at around 21[9 p.m.] every night, and from that moment until I fell asleep he dedicated all his time to being with me,” Matías Puga – Gamertag That P Bloke said. Such is the love of a father for his son. Always concerned for his safety in a city known for its high crime rate, Puga was driven to school every day in a Chevy Vectra, a car that was an affordable safety-inspired substitute for the German saloon his father always longed for.
When years later his father was able to afford a Mercedes C200 the look on his face when the keys were handed over showed the elation of reaching a major life goal. Owning the C-Class was the embodiment of a dream, a symbol of success. The father had always taught his son to look ahead, to think of what one action can lead to. One thing he hadn’t counted on was that driving the Mercedes might be more than he was willing to risk.
As a result, the Merc has only seen 1,400 kilometers in four years which is less kilometers than the days he has owned it. His father is afraid to drive it due to fear of its theft or worse. So it sits in a garage. Is this a tragedy? Wasted time and money? Not in the eyes of Puga and his father. The Merc still represents the achievement of a lifelong dream and has inspired his son to follow his own aspirations.
To There and Back Again
To cure a broken heart there isn’t anything much more effective than giving your love to a red Italian coupe. This was the plan for the father of Forza fan Pablo Vidal -- Gamertag IXI YAGAMI IXI -- in his youth, back in 1977. He found this 1973 Fiat 125 SS Coupe under a mantle of dust. It had been sitting for months as its former owner sorted through his own personal problems. Vidal and his brother blew off the dust and put a new battery in the car and fired it up. “For who it would be his first car, it was indescribable,” Vidal said.
The brothers polished the little coupe back to its brilliant Corsican Red and it was driven day after day with much joy. Time passed and Vidal had four children, including Pablo who submitted this story, all who loved the car as well. When the family moved, the coupe no longer had the cover of a garage. It had to “sleep on the street,” as Vidal put it.
Without the protection of a garage, the Fiat was rained on, which Vidal dutifully wiped clean. Attempts to steal it were foiled by a steering lock, but damage was done, and emblems were stolen. “I was at work and I was thinking if I would find her when I returned,” Vidal said.
After much convincing, his building manager allowed him to build a garage next to the family apartment in the courtyard. Here the condition was assessed and a full restoration got underway. The engine was rebuilt, a new interior was fashioned, and the suspension and brakes were completely gone through. To finish it off it was painted a spectacular Ferrari Red.
Along the way many people offered to buy the classic, but Vidal cherished the banner of his youth. He loved driving it and got many thumbs up when he drove it. It was his first car and had been within the family for 36 years. The car was always faithful, despite its 150,000 kms. Then one day, after stopping at a market, there was a strange sound when Vidal tried to start his car.
He inspected it right away and saw a failing timing belt. The car was towed home and taken in for repairs and thankfully the motor had not been damaged as can easily happen with such a malfunction. After getting the work done and the car back on the road, Vidal realized it was time to sell it.
After a few interested parties walked away, a young man with a glimmer in his eyes, similar to the one Vidal remembered having in his youth, bought the Fiat. The young man who bought it, appreciates the car as well the love its former owner had for it and is now painstakingly restoring it to its former grandeur.
Following in the Footsteps of Greatness
Alberto "Beto" Araujo always had mechanical aptitude, so when he graduated high school he went to work for one of his instructors who ran a metallurgical workshop. The proprietor and former instructor, Tony, was passionate about cars, and in particular the BMW De Carlo 700. The De Carlo brand licensed the BMW design to build their small two-cylinder sedan for the Argentinian market where 9,100 models were sold between 1959 and 1965.
Tony owned two De Carlo 700s and knew them well. His apprentice Araujo was inspired to own one as well, a “Glamour” model if possible, after being given a chance to drive his mentor’s cars. Despite its humble two-cylinder 698 cc motor, the car could take off with a nice burnout.
After saving for two years, Araujo, was ready to hunt down a 700 of his own. He found one blanketed under a shed behind a nearby workshop, but the owner wasn’t selling. Especially to a 20-year old who he suspected would hot-rod the classic, and in his mind, ruin it. For two months Araujo stopped at the shop to convince the owner of his pure intentions. Eventually, Araujo got him to sell it and he towed it home.
Over the next six months with the help of Araujo’s father who was a skilled metal worker, and Tony, they completely disassembled the 700, rebuilt the engine and restored every component to driving condition. Then Araujo left his job and mentor to go to college to pursue Aeronautical Mechanics. Over the next three years during weekends and holidays he put the finishing touches on the car.
During his last year of studies Araujo put the key in the ignition and took it for its first drive since being parked with a bad clutch nearly a quarter of a century ago. It drove so well he planned a road trip around the region as far as the borders of Chile. On this journey the car reached its top speed of 115kmh and conquered roads that today’s SUVs avoid.
As with any car rebuilt with love, it is never finished, and to this day Araujo is fine tuning the 700 Glamour’s details, taking it closer to perfection. No matter where it is driven, camera’s flash and onlookers adore the culmination of many years’ work.
Story details for Following in the Footsteps of Greatness submitted by Alan Gutman Gamertag- MrAlanGuttx14 on behalf of Alberto "Beto" Araujo.