Automotive Experiences, 3rd part – Coming back to Brazil.

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As soon as Collor was taken off the charge of presidency and his economical plan was finally expunged of the national economic policy, we felt secure to come back to Brazil.

Despite the life quality we were having in Italy, there weren’t many expectations to grow and, after all, our country was and has always been Brazil. That’ss why my parents didn’t have to think twice about coming back when things started to settle here..

My mom could take her job back because the permission was still available. My father got a temporary job in a research taken by SEADE (A state-funded Institution for economical researches), thanks to a friend from college times. Years later I had a two-year internship there also.

Meanwhile, both of them started to study for a new test that would allow them to take a better position on the public sector. And our car was a blue Gol, quite old. And this car gave us tons of pain in the ass.

Our lucky was that our house was located on a hill and every time the Gol (aka Goleta) needed to be pushed so it could start, the hill played a big role for us.

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The Goleta was really similar to this one, but way more destroyed. I remember the blue colour was precisely that one. It was made in 1983.

But it didn’t last much, though. My father got so pissed of always parking the car backwards, so it would be easy to push it down the hill, that he decided to sell that piece of junk and got a better one.

The “better one” was a 1990 Ford Verona, the colour was beyond any possible definition. Then we entered a VIP club of the 90’s car’s owners. We were giving a step forward to our lives standart.

I remember that car quite well. So well that I can even remember the car plate: YY-2937. And we were already in 1994.

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The Verona was quite similar to that one. Two-door, kinda silver, kinda golden, kinda whatever.

With the Verona in our garage, my parents were aproved at the same test they were studying for and got a new job working for the state government. The office wasn’t in São Paulo, but in Taubaté, a city located more or less 130 km away from where we were living. And for half a year they had to go back and fourth daily to work.

In 1995 I was about to turn 8 and we found a little house in the even smaller town of Tremembé, 10km away from Taubaté. A “cul-de-sac” (I had to google it to find the proper translation for it. In english is “dead end” street) street in the very end of the countryside town that had less than 35 thousand inhabitants at that time. Indeed, the street was completely out of traffic and I had the chance to grow up playing street games.

And that was how I grew up. It was 1995 and I only left that little street 10 years later, when I had to come back to São Paulo for college.

Back to the Verona, she (Verona is a woman’s name) didn’t last too much either. In 1996 my parents were seeking to buy a house. Our rented one was too small and quite old. In the end of the same street there was an abandoned unfinished house. My parents made a deal and gave the car as part of the payment. So long undefined-colour Verona!

The next car was an old pal my father loved, a Belina again. But this one was newer one than the one lost in the accident with the police beetle. It was a Belina Del Rey, 1988, metallic blue (if there’s such colour in english). Large comfy car that stayed with us for a couple of years.

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In 1997 we moved to our new house. Even deep down the end of the cul-de-sac street, the house was surrounded by trees and grass. No houses or neighbors close by. It was so calm and quiet that I was woken up by the cows, frogs and dogs fighting. Boy, the dogs of my street were fighting a lot.

Talking about dogs, Giulinha – that can be seen on the first part of the post – was already 8 years old. The previous year she gave birth to 12 puppies. We took one for us, Peter.

Peter loved the new house. A huge garden and a gate with holes big enough for him to create his own technique to sneak in to the street. And we, living in the end of a dead end street on a 35 thousand inhabitants town, never really worried about keeping him inside. Actually we tried, but failed. Every time we heard the gate bouncing, we knew he was jumping to his freedom.

He was a strong dog. Beyond his size, he was really strong. He wasn’t even a year old, at the old house, and he got a very deadly disease called Parvoviruses and somehow managed to survive. In the next year, at the new house, he had a quite dumb habit of jumping in front of the car when my parents were arriving home or whenever we left the house for a while. He knew how to recognize the engine sound (or as we were the only ones who reached the end of the street, he could recognize it was us) and jumped the fence to meet us.

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He and his god-please-give-me-something-I’m-starving-to-death face.

But one of these times, he jumped and stumbled. My father couldn’t break – or didn’t even notice he got stuck in front of the car – and ran him over. I remember hearing his whinning from the living room and left the house desperate to see what was going on. The Belina had crushed him over but, luckily, none of the wheels had hit him.

He got a broken leg and a concussion. And there he was at the Vet’s again, Dr Ingrid, that called us the next day begging us to take him away, because he was bringing chaos to her office. That little guy, even dizzy and with a broken leg, still wanted to fight the other dogs.

After this trauma with the Belina, my father got a new car. a Fiat Tipo mpi 1996, the only Tipo produced in Brazil. Bye Belina, hello Tipo.

It was our first 4-doors car. Finally! Freedom! Better late than never!

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The colour wasn’t this light blue like in the picture. It was a dark green. And it was a nice car, I must admit. It had plenty of room for my 10-years old kid’s legs, that was growing everyday. And a Pioneer radio. It was the best radio ever.

I remember to go down the stairs every night, get in the car and listen to the radio. The radio stations from São Paulo couldn’t reach the regular radios, but the radio on the Tipo could. I used to listen to 89 FM, the rock radio. There I was introduced to many rock bands like Pearl Jam (specially Do the Evolution, Soldier of Love and Last Kiss – these last two from an album made for the refugees in Kosovo). I also became a fan of comedians “Sobrinhos do Ataíde”.

With that car we made our first countrywide trip. We went to Maceió for the new year’s eve of 1997.

Besides the car managed the travel quite well, it was starting to devaluate and my father decided to change cars again in 1999. This time was a 1997 green Ford Escort.

From there on I will tell in the next part. This one is big enough.

 

 

My “first” car.

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After the post about how life was in Italy, I’ve noticed I’ve had completely forgotten to talk about my “first” car.

As I said before, my passion for cars started there. Senna was unbeatable in F1 so was I in my imaginary races on my bedroom floor. Ok, once and a while I crashed the car on a breathtaking accident. But that was just because it’s boring when only one person wins everything. Nevertheless, I was just a human being.

But my dream was yet to become true.

I admit I don’t quite remember how did it happen, but it happened. There was a abandoned car in my relative’s yard and me, after a long time asking, got their “ok” to go there and play on it. Finally I would be able to sit on the cockpit, put my colorful helmet and deep rev.

Well, it wasn’t like that. If I could manage to step on the accelerator, I wouldn’t be able to use the steering wheel. Sitting I couldn’t see anything. So I decided to be a pioneer. I was the first-ever pilot to drive standing up. You bet I was! The accelerator pedal I fixed it. I could handle it mentally. The breaks? Never used them.

Unfortunately I was so fast, so fast, that no one could ever take a picture of me driving it. The only ones available are me and my sister – and I was teaching her how to drive it. And we could see that it wasn’t something natural. She was always quite bad at it.

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Here, as we can see, the car – a Fiat 500 from God-knows-when? – was ready to enter the pits. I was helping my sister to correctly park the car, so the mechanics, that were too shy to appear in the picture, could change tyres and refuel the car.

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At this one – unfortunately the last one taken – I was in the back seat to help my sister to drive the car away from the pits. As I said, she was quite bad at it. But I was always a cool brother and supported her. Notice that I am so cool that I even gave her my helmet, so se could feel how champs are.

It was an unforgettable day.

A few months later I had to abruptly end my promising racing career due to a surgery I had to make in my eye. I was born with strabismus. Brazil lost its arguably best pilot ever.

Since then I’ve been focusing my career as a broadcaster. I am still very promising.

Automotive experiences, 1st part – The first memories.

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Iniciando uma “série” de relatos sobre as minhas experiências com carros, começo falando sobre as minhas primeiras lembranças automobilísticas.

I would like to talk about my previous experiences with cars. I start talking about my first memories.

I’m a middle-class person. I’ve always been. When I was born, in 1987, my parents, even with so-so jobs – if compared with their actual ones – were still in a better shape than much of the brazilian population. My mom was working in the public sector, in a very initial position, and my father was one of the owners of a building supply store – in a time when people weren’t buying stuff like that.

We could still manage to live a reasonable life and we even had a car, something that was impossible for those who weren’t middle-class – even if the lower middle-class. My mom and dad came from big and simple families and they were doubtless that even the little they had then was much more than what they had when in childhood.

The public sector, where my mom was working, gave her some good things, like school for my older sister and a maternity leave without the fear of losing her job. While my father was living the economical instability and the store was under real pressure.

I, obviously, don’t remember which car we had when I was born, but my father said was a VW Beetle. It was so old he didn’t remember the year very well – he assumes was 1971 – but the colour he did remember: white. This beetle has some history.

When I was still kicking my mom’s belly, we went to Santa Catarina state, in south of Brazil. My parentes used to say it was my first road trip. So sad I can’t remember it very well.

After the Beetle we had a Belina (a Ford car that was only made here, it was the station wagon version of the Corcel) and my father really loved that car. It was a 1982 version, much better than the previous car.

When I was only a year old, we were all going to my grandma’s house through a highway called Marginal Tietê. We were living 15 km away, in different neighborhoods of São Paulo. We lived in Pirituba and my granny in Penha. The road is crowded all day long since always. My father saw a Beetle from the Police coming very fast behind him. He gave he sign indicating he was going to change lanes, so the Police car (without the lights turned on, so it wasn’t chasing anyone) could overtake us. When my father was going to the lane on the right, the Police decided to overtake us through the same lane my father was going to. Result: a huge car crash and hopefully no one was hurt. Me and my sister were really scared and crying while my father was arguing with the Policeman. He was ironic and said “Go to the court and try to prove I was wrong. Maybe in 10 years they will pay you something”. And even 10 years later nothing happened. Ruined car and no money. Buhbye Belina.

 

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The final detail: the Police Beetle was, literally, just fixed from a previous accident. It was the very first time it was on the road again. The picture above is from a police car from those times, but I’m not sure if it’s the same.

After the Belina we had a Brasília. The colour none of us really remember it. It was a car that, in my father words, “never left the garage”. Another Volkswagen old stood there. Even though, my first picture next to a car was with it. In the black and white picture we can’t really know what is the colour of the car, but I assume it was brown. Together with me is my older sister and out forever beloved Giuly, gently called Giulinha, out half dalmatian, half stray dog that only deceased in 2006, almost 17 years old. So this picture is from the last half of 1989. I was almost 3 years old already.

 

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This car was our last one before we had to leave and go live in Italy. There the history was quite different.

In the next part I will tell more details about the cars we had in Italy and the reasons we had to move to another country.