As I opened my minuscule eyes to get a glimpse of the striking light above my fragile little body and as I grasped for my first large lump of oxygen my mother, the doctor, and the nurses smiled in relief. That 12th of February of 1997 I was born. But almost immediately, after just seconds in planet earth, the doctor noticed something wasn’t as usual with me as with every other newborn. He discovered that through my veins, Super Unleaded ran with all the might of its 93 Octanes. He discovered that my hands were in the 3 and 9 o clock position and I would refuse to move them.
That my little right foot moved downward, then upward to let the left foot go down and quickly lifting it to continue with the right foot. All as if I was driving a manual. Then, there was my head, which had just enough hair to be able to trace the shape of the Nordschleiife (I may be going a bit too far here).
“Mrs. Esteve.” Says the Doctor. “Your son was born with the uncommon case of the “Gearhead” or “Petrolhead”, in which he will have large appreciation for all things automotive.”
My name is Vicente Esteve Alatorre, I am a 17-year-old that was born and loves living in the city of Tampico in the State of Tamaulipas of the great country that is Mexico, and although the story may seem as fake as the taste of Minute Maid Lemonade, there is a truth in it. I was born a car maniac. I was born into buying toy cars, looking at cars in countless magazines, and learning every single one of their names. All that passion kept going with my parents that never once bought me toys of a human male, they all had to have wheels. As an infant I had about 3 different mats with streets in them (Oh yes that was life right there), and connected them to make my mega city, which the only thing I did with it was have a slight crash between 2 cars and create a massive traffic pileup with all the other cars. When I went to the supermarket my mother always bought me magazines with names like “Automobile” or “4 Wheels” etc. and she tells me I would go to my room, open the first page and whatever car was there I forced myself to learn it by memory. When I finished memorizing that car or whatever amount of cars that were in that page, I was able to turn it and start again. Also, there is an anecdote they tell me about the time I was at a party and I was about 5 years old. The place was one that I always chose to do parties at, with swings, games, and bowling. But what I loved most was that I could see the parking lot from inside. My mother told me another mother from a friend came by as I was alone looking outside towards the parking lot. I guess she though I was sad for some reason, so she told me to go and play. Then, I interrupted here and started saying the name of every single car on the parking lot, and she was so impressed by that she still tells that story to us whenever we meet someplace. I was not normal as a child, and I loved being that way.
As I grew into a more annoying child, then into an adolescent my car love just got bigger and bigger. I started a collection of 1:18 scale of cars that I still keep on, I started buying form the same magazine which I have every copy from since 2006 to today. Also, since my father had manual trucks, he told me I could change gears when he drove. He would call out the gear, and id happily move the Gear Shift just to then wait for a compliment or a tip for the next time I did it. Then, I started configuring cars, which is to any car enthusiast, a time-consuming, motivational, sometimes heart breaking exercise. As I reached my 14 years of age I became desperately curious of how it would feel to actually drive. My father, who is a truly amazing person, was there to half satisfy my eagerness. Id sit on his lap and work the steering whilst he worked the pedals. Then, as I became expert in steering he let me drive for the first time with all of the controls. We went to the Golf Course and picked up our cart every sunday for months so I could practice, and feel how it was to drive. It was an excellent tool for learning car behavior. As my 14th year old gift, I was given the opportunity to drive on the street for the first time. I grabbed the keys to my mothers Expedition EL (Which isn’t ideal for a first time driver), and my father and I we went off a sunday morning. We repeated several of these drives, trying to give me confidence and to realise that a car was a huge responsibility. Then, as the year went by I knew what I wanted as a gift for my 15th birthday. A Car. When that day arrived, and I told my parents what I wanted they laughed in unison and said it was sweet that I asked for one, but I wasn’t legally allowed to drive it. Alright I said, and kept on driving with my mother, father, and sometimes alone around the block. Then, that summer of 2012, my yearn to drive increased drastically.
I became a much happier person after starting my relationship with my beautiful girlfriend. I only counted the months I had left before I could go for my licence and I would drive us both everywhere. That was the dream. The months afterwards, I drove a lot more alone than with my parents since their trust in me rose. Still, I had no licence, and if for some reason a cop was to pull me over my father would be in big trouble. Then finally the day arrived. That 12 of February of 2013 gave me the chance to legally drive, so I pleaded my father to take me to for the licence that very same day. And he did. I left school at about 10 AM to get my licence and be back by 12 PM. After getting my little special white card, we returned home so I could for the first time take the car to school that little card allowed. I went to my final hours of school, and had the whole day planned with my girlfriend. We ate, we laughed, and we were both really excited that after that day things would be different. And oh boy they were. When you are a 16-year-old with a car, you have a sense of freedom and of opportunities you can’t find anywhere else. The car I first used was a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta my mother bought for herself, but made me use it. It was a 2.5 inline 5, 6 speed Auto, and it was perfect. I got compliments from random people that my car was cool, but that is because in Mexico the Jetta has an amazing reputation and people truly respect it. In short, it was the car that cemented me as a fan of the brand, and VAG as a whole. I used it ad used it until my older sister started driving as well. We had to share, right until my father bought me my first car.
This is a supremely important moment and vehicle for me, which I will remember for all my life. I found the ad of a 2001 Volkswagen Cabrio GLX Manual in the newspaper. We went to see it, and although some issues were apparent, the car drove nicely and I wanted it. My father agreed, and we bought my little gem the next day. Oh how much I suffered after that. There were days and days that my car broke down, things got fixed, and money got spent. When it worked, I was the happiest person, but then something would go boom and leave me stranded somewhere. My father and I tried everything, but in the end, I decided to sell it. We fixed a lot of that little car, and I did too. It taught me everything a car can teach you about mechanics, and what to do when something goes wrong. I love it and respect it for what it did, but it was not an option to try to keep it going.
And now, I have reached this site, and the point where I am about to be given by my parents a brand new car. Its been a wonderful life that I have had, and one where the Automobile will keep being a meaningful aspect in my every day.
And that’s the thing.