Autoclassica - Buenos Aires

May 13, 2018 / R. Bernasconi

ravel in time and space… you know it is not possible… but all sudden you are in the middle of scenes that make you believe the opposite…

It all starts with a trip to Buenos Aires visiting the yearly classic car fair Autoclassica, held in a beautiful park, near to the hippodrome.

The massive amount and variety of exposed cars is impressive. After a long day at the fair, I gained many new impressions and have learnt a lot about the Argentineans and their passion for automobilism. In the evening, some local friends invite me for dinner in Buenos Aires's bohemian quarter "San Telmo".

The restaurant "Napoles" is located in an ancient storage facility and has a very special charm - I would say the ambience is almost mystic. The feeling of organized chaos is perfect and you dive into a nostalgic experience that is rather difficult to describe. There is this dominant Art deco style Campari Bar at the entrance, between vintage racecars, motorcycles, ship models, furniture, statues, clothing and boats you find people eating and waiters serving Italian style food. A Bugatti Tipo 35 and a Mercedes 190SL park in a very casual way in front of the restaurant, and it seems all normal - just having dinner

On the next day, we drive some 4 hours north of Buenos Aires. In the middle of nowhere, surrounded by Pampas and some Black Angus cattle, we get to a private racetrack to enjoy a "Parillada", an Argentinian barbeque party with some friends. To our surprise, there are about a halve dozen of Bugatti type 35 and Alfa Romeo 8C standing in the paddock. The driver's briefing is unique; Gentlemen, no foolish behavior, the tanks are full and need to empty before lunch… start your engines and have fun.

The behavior and drivability of these pre-war cars are fantastic. The 2300ccm eight cylinder in line engine with supercharger delivers its power in a very enthusiastic and aggressive way, taking the revs like a motorcycle engine. The car is extremely neutral and honest in handling, what allows you to be in full control at all time. If you like to drift, you can get it at any time as a response to a slight push on the throttle. All controls are placed ergonomically perfect, what makes you immediately feel comfortable and in symbiosis with this pre-war vehicle. What a way to earn your lunch…

After Lunch we continue our trip in northern direction, our destination is Paraná entre Rios. This location has essentially not much to offer, unless you are a classic car crack. It is the hometown of "PurSang", the company recreating a choice of 16 models, building special vehicles and restoring important vehicles for clients around the globe. Strolling around in the facilities, where the 90 employees assemble these particular vehicles, I really get the feeling to be lost in time. Beside some high precision CNC Machines to build engine, gear and suspension parts, they create everything with prewar tools and techniques in a very artisan and artistic manner. It is just fascinating to see how they work and create everything by themselves.

Standing in the middle of all these recreations of Bugatti, Mercedes, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Prototypes and other Special Cars, I really loose cognition of time and come to the conclusion that time and originality is relative.