Photos from a Classic Car Meeting in Teresópolis, Brazil
It’s always nice to get a ‘bonus’ during your travels. And, the more different interests you have, the more ‘bonuses’ you can expect. We went to Teresópolis for a completely different reason.
We wanted to see the ‘Organ Mountains‘ outside of Teresópolis, and to visit the National Park of the same name, for its Atlantic Forest. In the end we stayed longer than intended because we found out that the town’s annual meeting of classic vehicles would be held on Sunday in front of the town hall.
The meeting was due to start at 9 in the morning and go until 4 in the afternoon. We arrived around 11 expecting to see a few dozen old cars on a parking lot, and afterwards have lunch back in our camper. Little did we know that one side of the only main road through town would be completely blocked off to accommodate the classic car meeting.
When we arrived we still didn’t realise how many cars we might find. The street was so crowded than we couldn’t see very far ahead, maybe 6-10 cars down the street. It was a real family event; young and old, couples with strollers, kids eating fairy floss or ice cream, lots of people taking selfies in front of every shiny bonnet.
Hundreds of beautifully restored classic vehicles in one place
The event was much larger than we expected. It probably covered 8 to 10 blocks on both sides of the closed street. There were more cars on the parking lane along the open side of the road, going the other direction, and some squares in between. We didn’t get back to our truck (2 blocks down from the event) until around 3:30pm – totally hungry and with sore feet.
We certainly didn’t see all vehicles as it was nearly impossible to get from one side of the street to the other through the crowds. The vehicles lined up in the parking lane were somewhat obscured by trees and planter boxes. It was also dangerous taking photos of them as traffic passed by at normal (Brazilian) speed.
Classic vehicles from Brazil’s own industry
Brazil has a long history of manufacturing vehicles and exporting them all over Latin America. Most leading manufacturers maintain at least one plant in Brazil. Over the years many local car manufacturers sprang up within the country: some creating vehicles from the ground (chassis) up; others building custom vehicles based on locally mass-produced cars like the VW Beetle.
Interestingly, the Brazilian market is big enough to justify models specifically designed for it. Some are simple body modifications, whereas others hardly resemble anything you find elsewhere. For example, Brazil has a very substantial market for small utility trucks (pick-ups) and almost every brand still has a locally designed and built ‘ute’ in their line-up – often in two or three different cab variations.
Until the late 90s, the country had stringent import restrictions; to this day, import tariffs control the market. This provides some protection and market strength for locally produced vehicles.
If you browse through our photos you will find some very unique cars, which I’m sure you haven’t seen before. Most of them were very popular and we see them on the road almost every day. Others, like the ‘Santa Matilde’, are so rare that they are not used as daily drives.
Going through the photos of this gallery you might wonder why I haven’t showcased a single Volkswagen. Well, there were so many – probably more than half of the exhibits were classic Volkswagens. Plus, the local plant always enjoyed a lot of liberty in its model policy. To this day Brazilian Volkswagens aren’t the same as found elsewhere. Only particular styling elements remain ‘typical VW’.
For all these reasons, I have put together a second gallery dedicated to the Volkswagen !
With all the people, it was rather difficult to get photos of any vehicle without a stray leg or arm somewhere in the picture, often right in the foreground. And, whilst I was patiently waiting for the right shot, Yasha often wandered off being a little bored. We almost lost each other a few times.
Another surprise was that a quite a few of cars left early, starting around 1pm. When we headed back, the field had thinned out considerably. In a way this was better for photographing, as I could then get an occasional side view of a car. Earlier, when they were all closely lined up, this was nearly impossible.
This meeting in Teresópolis was held on the first Sunday of July 2016. Check online for dates and times in future years.
By no means did I manage to get a decent photo of every model in the show. I found two good web pages with many, many photos of classic Brazilian cars. Yes, these are all model cars, but excellent reproductions and sharp close-up photos. If you are curious to see more follow the links: Brazilian Wheels I & Brazilian Wheels II