This Is Portugal’s Piece Of Ferrari Heaven
Story and photography by Joel Araújo
Hello. My name is Joel. I’m 26 years old, and I’m a designer and classic car photographer. I daily-drive and am restoring my first car, an ’88 Toyota Starlet EP70 XL, and this was my visit to Ferrari Heaven.
During an average Portuguese day—waking up, eating codfish and drinking wine, sleeping—my routine was suddenly interrupted by a phone call from Salvador Patrício Gouveia, fellow drummer and car aficionado, and one of the directors of Museu do Caramulo, which serves as the home of the Caramulo Motorfestival.
Salvador had called to talk about Portugal’s second national sport, which is flirting with women, just after football (…soccer…) of course! He kept talking about these old ladies with funny names like Testarossa, Lusso, Mondial, Inter Vignale, and so on, and just wouldn’t stop chatting about it. I told him I wasn’t interested in his cougar hunting and only as I was putting down the phone, did he refer to something I’m really into: photography.
It turns out Caramulo was to become a piece of Ferrari heaven for the upcoming months, and he needed someone who’s just as crazy about cars as he to capture the moment. As the world celebrates the 70th anniversary of the prancing horse, the Museu do Caramulo had the idea to assemble the greatest roost of of Italian machines ever to be seen in this country. Between them, a 1951 195 Inter Vignale (the oldest Ferrari in Portugal); a very rare and unrestored 1955 French Blue 500 Mondial; a 1964 250 GT Lusso; a 1965 275 GTB/C used in historic racing; a 1970 Dino 246 GT; a dark blue 365 GTB/4 Daytona from 1973; a 1977 308 GTB; an example of the iconic F40 from 1989; a modern classic, the F512 M from 1996; and finally, on the even more modern end of the spectrum was a 599 GTB F1 Fiorano from 2007.
After 160km of driving and some time spent on preparations beforehand, I finally arrived at the museum right at the top of the Caramulo mountains, a very romantic and magical place that was once a region famous for its innovative treatments for tuberculosis. Nowadays, oddly enough, people come here to treat their need for gorgeous cars—a much better situation to find oneself in, surely!
Just as I was entering the big wood-and-stone entrance hall, I was greeted by Salvador, who was still in a hurry until the last moment, making sure everything was ready for the big opening when the exhibition would open its doors to the public a few short hours later. I took some time to take some shots of the final preparations, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the detailers’ dance with the beautiful curvy lines of these machines as they gave them some last-minute attention. A truly special sight to behold before the obstruction of the coming crowds.
After a big lunch (with codfish, what else?), which is mandatory by Portuguese classic car law, there was still some time for me to re-visit other very special corners of the museum, especially the vintage toy collection and the permanent exhibition which features an array of cars from different eras: cars such as the Lamborghini Miura SV, Lotus Europa, Porsche 356, and Lancia 037 as well as the bulletproof 1938 Mercedes-Benz 770K Grosser and the 1947 Cadillac 75 Series that served António Oliveira de Salazar, the infamous Portuguese dictator who ruled the country between 1932 and 1968. I was here for the Ferraris though, this time.
A few minutes before 5pm, the official opening hour, a mass of people had gathered at the museum’s gates with size I’ve never seen before. Some came from as close as 6km, while others made their ways across 600 just to be there on the first day of the exhibit. For me, there is no distance that can keep me separate from these machines; my life changed when I fell in love with classic cars, and that love was born here, in Caramulo.