He started going to his father’s workshop, Autocolombo Laco in Bareggio, when he was 10 years old, and at 13 he began to work. He was immediately attracted to classic cars. Today Samuele Colombo is 31 years old and says, smiling “for almost twenty years I have woken up happy every morning, because I know that I go to work to do the thing I love the most: bringing back to life car engines that I believe are true works of art”.
Listening to him is a pleasure and is a way of understanding many things from the great world of collecting and passion. “The thing that fascinates me most about my job is without question being the first to touch certain pieces, I feel like a doctor operating on a patient. I find it truly romantic to be able to restore these technical masterpieces. My work is also similar to an archaeologist who has to research documents and discover hidden secrets, just like Indiana Jones. Being able to solve a problem on a car that nobody has managed before is another great satisfaction.
There are of course also negative sides to my work, such as the lack of documentation. We are currently restoring a BMW 327 and a Mercedes 290 from the Second World War era. All the archives were destroyed during the bombings and so we lose a lot of time searching for the material. But difficult challenges are the ones I love the most, so I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to solve this mystery too.
The project I’m most proud of is the 1912 SCAT which won the FIVA UNESCO prize at Villa d’Este in 2017. A monstrous effort to restore an original 100-year-old engine that hadn’t been fired up for about eighty years, but seeing it come to life was really exciting. A fundamental part of saving this world is the willingness to pass on secrets, restoration techniques and knowledge from one generation to another. There are things you can’t learn on YouTube but have be taught in person and practiced by hand. I see that interest and passion for vintage cars is returning among the younger generations, also thanks to social media and technology. I am very positive for the future, because we are talking about works of art that will always have an interested clientele. I don’t do this job for the money but out of passion, if someone else paid my bills and various expenses I would almost certainly do it for free. Working with my father and family gives me a great responsibility to carry on a tradition. This fills me with pride, and I will do my best to pass on this passion to other fans. ”
Thanks Samuele, for this fabulous lesson of life.