Without a doubt most of you are very much aware of the car scene in the USA, Japan, and the UK. Some of you are probably also somewhat familiar with automotive happenings within the boundaries of the other member states of the EU as well. However I’m willing to be that most of you are almost completely unfamiliar with the incredible scene that exists in that other America – the one in the Southern Hemisphere – specifically in El Salvador. Therefore, because we Motor Mavens like to expose our readers to the people, places, and automotive happenings that aren’t necessarily mainstream, we would like to take a moment to introduce you to a particular AE86er named Pedro Velado – a man after our own Japanese Nostalgic Car loving hearts. This is his very first story with us, and we hope to have many more stories from him in the future! And to you Pedro – bienvenida!
First, a little background info on myself. I’ve been a car lover ever since I was a little boy, helping my dad fix his Fiat station wagon. I grew up loving cars, but not really doing much about it until I finished University. After that, I started to learn about the wonderful world of JDM parts and style. It was in 2003, through a combination of my new knowledge and love for Japanese motoring and the process of building my Civic EF, that the idea formed with me and two of my friends to start the show circuit in El Salvador. Since then, I’ve been doing the CarShow every year, and getting more and more involved with cars as well.
In 2006, I got my AE86 and from there I started the process of building a “JDM correct” car all over again. It’s a good thing I bought this car, because it is the AE86 that opened the door for me to be a part of the Vehículos Antiguos Japoneses VAJA Club. In English that’s the Antique Japanese Vehicles Club, but VAJA sounds a lot cooler, don’t you think? I’ve been a member since then and with them I’ve come a long way in discovering my true passion for old Japanese cars. So here’s my first feature of the Salvadoran car scene!
It was a hot, humid Sunday morning and the sun was beaming down like a huge spotlight on the biggest race of the year – Autódromo El Jabalí. San Salvador Volcano was the main spectator to some of the best racing action of the year. Autódromo El Jabalí takes place at our local race track, with drivers coming from as far away as Guatemala and Panama. And you can be sure the old Japanese iron was ready to kick the asphalt that day.
For example, this Datsun “Tiburón” owned by a member of VAJA is in really good shape and looks really sexy. You agree?
All the action kicked off at 10AM with the Initiation Race, which included all types of cars and drivers who came to get a taste of Salvadoran circuit racing. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to be there on time to get all of the action shots, but this race is one of the most liked by the public because the drivers race with passion and there is lots of drama because they are constantly overtaking and passing one another.
I think these 13” wheels look damn good along with the suspension setup and body work.
It’s at this time that all the cars were starting to enter the track and some of them were ready before the others – nothing like a little air and time to reflect before the race.
Because the time for reflection is over once the race has started and all concentration is focused on winning. During the six laps of this Datsun Cup Race (which is one of the crowd favorites), the constant back and forth of racers overtaking one another, the precise maneuvers, the visits to the gravel and the 180º spins were served up as the main dish. At the end of this six-course meal, Parras (the pilot of this red Sunny B210) took the checkered flag.
After the Datsun race, the Alfas Cup took place on a grid consisting of sixteen Alfa Romeos of all types. These guys race like there’s no tomorrow. I mean, if you close your eyes you can almost hear the doctor giving them one day to live. Those who get left behind get left in the dust – literally.
Do you see the two cars similarly painted matte black with creamy lime trim? Those are the Tarazis, a father and son team (Sr. and Jr.). They put on a great show in almost every race, starting from the back of the pack, lap by lap they plow through the others, with both usually finishing in the top three.
This 71-72 Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 is being driven blurringly fast by #09 – the talented Mr. Tarazi Sr. I’m really feeling that matte black finish with the creamy lime trim.
In the end, Tarazi Jr. pictured here waving the checkered flag and piloting #9 (as opposed to his dad in #09) finished on top of the podium. His dad finished in 3rd place and got to share the podium with his son for another race. Did I mention the matte black with creamy lime trim?
Here’s the scene before the GT1 category (which is the main race) was about to start, as all drivers and cars were preparing themselves for 100kms of fast laps and hard driving.
Here’s Tarazi Jr. trying to cool down for a while after winning the Alfas Cup but it’s hard to cool down when you’re surrounded by an ocean of hot chicks. Did I mention he’s the top racer in El Salvador? It is good to be King! Shortly after this, Tarazi Jr. was ready to race his Camaro in the GT1 category. Can you believe the sacrifices our racers make for this sport?
The main attraction was the race between Camaro and Oldsmobile. The Camaro driven by our local favorite Tarazi Jr. (whom you met above) and the Oldsmobile driven by the Panamanian Powerhouse – Chocron. Two warm up laps and the race started, but all of the spectators were doomed for disappointment from the first lap because, due to a mechanical problem, the Oldsmobile was unable to keep the pace. The race was easily won by the Salvadoran favorite, Tarazi Jr! Long live the King!
Sunday 27th the first round of the Central American Cup was held in Guatemala, with drivers from all over the area: Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama and the Dominican Republic. I’ll try my best to report all the action here on MotorMavens!
If you want to see more action photos, cars and chicks from this super Salvadoran Sunday check out the Vaja Club website.
:: Pedro Velado