I met the term gearhead in the late Jalop. To be honest, I initially did not identify myself with the expression – and there are times when I still do not know if I fit into the typical “car class” profile.
I grew up among them, though. My father kept his cars in a friend’s workshop and put his hand in the crowd probably more for hobby than necessity. I lived in the middle of the grease and I even remember a swap from CHT to AP in the late Ambulance – nickname of our white Belina – in the mid 90’s.
They tell me that as a kid, I just calmed down with a car key in my hand or sitting behind the wheel of the Ambulance. There was the stage of decorating the names of the cars on the street. Immediately afterwards came the turn of the tours of Fusca with simple carburetion of my flight, which later gave way to a Itamar of two carburetors. Today it makes me laugh to think that my “gurus” said that one should never prefer double carburetion to simple carburetion because of the difficulty of synchronizing the triggers …
In the family there was a Ford 1929 that I never hit the ball and called “fubica”. My mother was taken to the altar in this Fordinho, who fortunately remains among us. What changed everything, however, was The Opal. No “opalion”, “opalera” or whatever they call the G5 class on the glass. For me it was The Opal and nothing else. Six cylinders, hydramatic, 250-S, with integral seats, air-conditioning and vinyl roof. Super Luxury was something different. Its only accessory was the infamous antenna that went up and down by pressing the adapted button under the steering column.
This Opal transported my grandfather every year from Rio Grande do Sul to Santa Catarina during the summer, and although I dreamed about it, it was not the car in which I learned to drive. Too old to see most of what was happening on the other side of the dashboard, there were already some marches on the 1600 Fusca – but “I could not go to 3rd.” For my age, however, to accelerate until the end of the second march of the Fuca was adrenaline equivalent to nail the foot in a Veyron of 1,001 hp.
Imagine then when, on a special occasion, they said that on that day I would drive The Opal. It was the xodo. It could not be treated like a car. Care should be taken when closing the doors, as you sit gently on the curvy of the seats, give the ignition following a procedure, a series of checks, a ritual. Concern about letting a child guide the Opal exuded through the adults’ pores, terrifying me even more.
But the storm happened when I set the exchange rate to D. Or not. When I stepped on the accelerator, I got carried away with the force, the rear set, the front went up and I did not know if I was thrown out of the window in front of that jump or the car was moving in motion. They pulled me out of the car and hinted that I was not ready yet.
I grew up more afraid of the Opal than with the greed gearhead of taming the beast. I feel ashamed that I never hit the Ford 29, and I’m saddened to be annoyed at having been amused by the beating of the Beetle’s throttle, which forced us to start the carburetor with a string pulled by the hand. Such a gearhead spirit was far away.
In 2000 I wanted to become Randall Raines, more because Eleanor was the Unicorn than by understanding inches on the V8. I did not want my first car to be a white Corsa Wind with plastic bumpers. I asked my father for a Maverick V8 already imagining the graffiti painting with black bands of the Memphis Unicorn. While we were searching, time passed and the Mavecos were listed as Mona Lisas. The process was repeated with the next exotic on the list, the Karmann Ghia which in months would become an automotive Monet.
When I received my first good salary I decided that in just one week I would find my old exotic – and beat the hammer before the market in the process of madness made it the next Baroque work of art. On the day of the insight I saw a slender Puma GTS on the other side of the avenue, parading without a hood. I went to the internet, did a thirty-minute search, discovered the aesthetic differences in the model over the years, identified the version that I liked best, accessed a search engine, and scheduled the visit. The whole process took no more than an hour.
The car was so low it barely reached my waist. There were only two seats. Behind the benches was a door … something. Something very small. In photos it was one thing, live was another. I was thinking mainly of my parents. I knew they would kill me. The idea suddenly seemed flushed. But I thought it would be cowardly if I gave up and had the battery charged.
When I sat down at the GTS I felt completely foreign to the driving position. With the seat literally glued to the floor and the high pedals, brake and clutch action was almost triggered with quick kicks when stretching the leg. The position is more lying down than sitting. The gearshift couplings were very hard and the steering wheel barely moved out of place with 185 tires without power steering. I had trouble starting. It was necessary to get some gas from the walking sticks without pushing the pedal too hard in order not to drown the engine.
The snoring of the boxer was very different from the old “Fuca” of the. The 4 × 1 exhaust system with kadron dampers was corroded and allowed to leak flames and the classic VW pipocos as a result of the rich blend. There were no seat belts or a mirror on the right side. It was night, it took me a long time to find the light switch from the various lights on the leather-lined panel. After having triggered a sea horn and accidentally connected the cleaners, the green illumination of the six clocks finally appeared. The green was out, the filthy dials and no pointer moved. Somehow inexplicable, in the case of an evaluator not so passionate about cars, the scene was extremely hypnotic.
I put the long beak of the car in the street and when the cars passed I stepped on the accelerator until I heard the Kadron scream hoarse. I let go of the brick clutch, and I remember thinking of being watched by all living beings around a 100-kilometer radius. I was an automobile comet sweeping the street with flames and popcorn coming out of the deafening exhaust, smoked by a relentless smell of gasoline, all while zigzagging at high speed struggling with the imprecision of the steering.
There was no geometry, balancing, alignment, nothing. I dealt with the infamous “holidays” (as there is not enough time) on the wheel while the end of the block arrived. I looked at the panel frightened by the dizzying rush. And then I discovered that I was not even 60 km / h. What? Exact. The 1978 Puma GTS more biting, so to speak – and the proximity of the ground greatly increases the sensation of speed.
The end of the court came and along with him, the first corner. With great difficulty I rounded that corner and remembered that there were still three more to complete the return on the court until the resale. It seemed too long to be true. I arrived alive, amazed with my average speed of 50 km / h. Everything is relative…
The car was not good. If he were, he would not be convinced it was good. The driving position was weird. Pipocos, fire, smell of gasoline. The seats looked like coal. The canvas hood had a few holes. The instruments did not work. The steering wheel pulled randomly on all sides. Power was low. Security does not exist. The price was absurd for the state of conservation of that trouble. The fear was even greater than that caused by the late Opal during childhood.
I say I do not do the type gearhead because I’ve never been to gas stations, parking lots or malls. I do not get ripped off, I’m not adept at radical sound systems. I’ve never joined the tribes of demolitions, boulders, stickers, airfoils, or any of these things that stuck in today’s cars. I have no interest in taking walks with a lot of cars just like mine. I do not want to call attention, although I like to drive convertibles – and I always abominate the expression “presence car”. I like vinyl, tape recorders and Tojo amplifiers.
What would I say if I showed up with a business of those in my parents’ garage? What would you say about the fate of the first pay as a responsible adult? They would surely kill me. The result of all this?