Youthful Folly And Adult Maturity Live Inside This One-Family Volkswagen Scirocco TS
Photography by Armando Musotto
When I was 18, back in the surprisingly distant year of 2010, my dreams were different. I lived a life without much thought, without particular obligations, and certainly without much responsibility—a typical teenage situation. I wasn’t in strife, but I wasn’t doing all that well either and in hindsight I could have spent my time better, or at least more productively let’s say.
I’m not my teenage self though, but throughout my life cars have been a constant. The day after I turned 18 in fact, I started going to driving school, eager to take the wheel and think of the possibilities provided therein. I took the license test shortly after, easily passing all the sections, and thought “Okay, I’ve been ready for a while now, let’s get on with it.” I had a heavy foot from the start, so heavy as to gain the total distrust of my parents, who continually denied me the use of the family car.
I figured I had to get my own if I wanted to live the mythical experiences that have become attached to the idea of our “first car.” Unfortunately times and other things changed, and instead of parking a car in that garage it’s only ever been filled with old bikes, which I shoot more than I ride most days. Still though, the fascination and pull that I felt towards automobiles remained as other parts of my life evolved.
In my so-called “past life as a teenager,” I collected plenty of stories that it would taken another one to tell, and cars were so often an integral part of these antics. Street racing in the city center with my grandparents’ Cinquecento, clandestine hillclimbs with my dad and his Fulvia 2c with friends in tow, sneaking out at night to friends in a quiet car at the end of the street—what times!
In Sicily, you might here someone say, “Iamu a pruvari?” (“Let’s try?”), and this will be followed by a full push of the accelerator. A lot of the cars my friends and I were driving back then entered into other dimensions of being—no longer a mere “family car,” but real racing car that delivered all the adrenalized you asked of it. And though they sustained a few bumps after these transformations, it wasn’t like the new dings were without company so no one seemed to mind much.
When you’re young—not that I’m not now—you make a lot of, frankly, crap decisions. You might not realize it at the time of course, and maybe it’s the only moment of life in here we are really happy and carefree. It’s a rare time, and perhaps taking advantage of this means being a bit mischievous? Asking for forgiveness typically means something fun happened beforehand, and this was our approach most of the time.
I’ve learned to take on more responsibilities in my life and for it, and I think I’ve definitely improved as a person because of it. We all mature eventually (though to what degree I cannot say!), we all grow up. However, I never stopped going on late night driving raids with my friends, I never stopped trying to make up some unauthorized hill climb routes, and probably I will never stop doing such things. I’ve become very passionate about photography alongside my enduring interest in cars, and I like to mix the two whenever I can, crafting my style by trying to put these kinds of experiences into still moments.
I want to put these youthful feelings and late-night clandestineness into a series of photos that did justice to the emotions and nostalgia, so I called Federico, an old friend of mine. One who pushed the pedal to the carpet when he was 18 and still does. He is one of those people that embodies the unruliness and total freedom of youth, and he also happens to own a wonderful Scirocco TS, one of those machines with which I grew up and with which I made so many of those stupid memories. I had a friend with a Scirocco back then, mustard colored. Scrapped.
While that car’s life was cut a bit shorter than it deserved, this one is the perfect candidate to tell a life story. There are prettier cars out there, more exotic ones too of course, but few have given such joy to a family as this car has, and Federico overflows with anecdotes and stories about his father’s time with the car before it came under Federico’s care.
It’s hard for me to think that the Scirocco is more than 40 years old, to tell you the truth. Perhaps it’s because when my friend had his we were so awed by the new freedom of a driver’s license that anything we drove would have seemed brand new to us. Federico’s family has had this one since the beginning though, and his father bought it back in 1976 with the intention of using it for daily driving. He’d chosen the TS model because back then that was the more luxurious and optioned-out of the Scirocco range. It’s been the family’s transportation protagonist ever since.
It was there when Federico’s father married his wife, they took it on their honeymoon, it went on uncountable family vacations, business trips, and put up with the general rigors of driving in the city day in and day out. He went everywhere with the blue VW, and on most trips his entire family was riding along next to him and in the comfortable rear seats.
However, as I said, times change for all of us, and Federico’s father eventually closes the car up in the garage to give it a break with an unforeseeable end. He puts a blanket on to cover it up, and so it sits. After eight years locked in the garage like this, one day Federico raises the blanket and remembers that there’s a jewel under there, if not a dusty and smelly one. Displaying and learning great skill and patience along the way, he set off to restore it, giving the car a beautiful second chance at life (still wearing is original paint no less!). What was once his fathers is now his own, and it’s come back from its likely grave to crawl around the same streets it did decades ago.
After an exchange of calls to set up the photoshoot, Federico picks me up together with a friend, Gabriele, and just like we were 18 years old again, we start a snappy drive together through Montelepre, a little city that climbs between the Sicilian mountains. A mixed road surface, narrow curves, ruined houses and cliffs at the boundaries, Federico advises me, “Do not look down.” He’s handling the large-diameter steering wheel like an expert or at least someone who’s quite comfortable with his machine, and though it might irk the ire of rear-wheel drive purists, I think the Scirocco is one of the best German cars from the era that I’ve been in, and Federico, restoring it with patience worthy of a professional, has brought such a special car back to its former glory that it rightly deserves.
The Ancona blue, original paint lovingly treated by his father’s hands, fascinates me from the first moment I see it, and I am struck as well by all the yellow and orange reflections that are formed on the shapes of a naked, angular, extremely Teutonic body (designed by an Italian, I know). It is the people’s car yes, but this one is for a more attentive kind of people, someone who appreciates a bit more of what the ‘70s had to offer back then, and are more discerning in how they preserve the decade’s designs for the future.
Giugiaro’s expert hands gave life to this stark yet elegant car. I’m using this car as a symbol of sorts for the egregious carefreeness of youth and the evolution that follows, and it’s not lost on me that the bright yellow leaves marking the beginning of spring are in stark contrast to the 40-odd-year-old blue paint they leave their reflections on. After shooting it, the car remains in my head for the rest of the evening, the catalyst for dormant snippets of my past to come flitting back to the surface.
A love for cars, a true one, never leaves the enthusiastic driver, photographer, writer, designer, even simple spectator. It might change form, but it doesn’t pack up and leave. This Scirocco, among so many other loved classics, is proof of this. Time flows, but some things keep up with the currents. A sapphire, set in yellow.