In the era of Facegrams and Instachats and Snapbooks, it's easy to look at another man's life from afar and think, “Damn, he's got it all.”
That's the first impression we had — and everyone has, probably — when we learned about the classic auto enthusiasts at Cool & Vintage. For the unacquainted, their site is essentially an ode to vintage Land Rovers and Porsches filled with scantily clad models.
But it can't be all fun ‘n’ games, right? Life is life, and involves hardship and disappointment and bad weather and heartbreak. It can't all be paddleboarding on the beach with gorgeous women, traversing the wilderness with your pals and drifting slick through graffitied garages in ‘74 Ford Escort MK1s ... right?
It was a question that was keeping us up at night, so we dialed co-founder Ricardo Pessoa (who was kicking his feet up in sunny Lisbon, Portugal, aka the California of Europe) to see what goes on behind the scenes.
Turns out: life's a beach. And he's living on it.
InsideHook: Who are you?
Ricardo Pessoa: We are a couple of creative guys that have marketing/photography/fashion/filmmaking backgrounds and this is our take on cars. We were already dealing with restorations since we were driving mainly classic cars in our everyday life.
Why do you do this?
We do it because we were the happiest when driving, experiencing and enjoying life. Hence, our #stopwaitingforfriday hashtag. The travel experience, the road trip — that is when we connect the most.
How do you do this?
Well, we bought one [car], after that another and a few years later we have a workshop, a few guys working on the cars, ridiculous amounts of wheels and parts laying around. And sometimes when we get in early in the morning we think, “Wow, that escalated quickly.”
How do you source your new rides?
We are very fond of Rovers and Minis — and those we usually just buy them in any condition and then build them up from scratch.
How long does each take?
When the stars align, six months.
How do you choose the makes?
We just imagine what we want next and we build it.
What is the next ride you have your eye on?
We have about four-six Rovers we are working on at any given time. We are doing one in Nato Sand and a V8 LWB in Matte Blue in the next couple of months. Those are now our dream builds.
What is the next steed that you have your eye on that's not a Rover?
We are restoring 5 Mini Cooper S MK1 to absolute originality.
Tell us the story of your first restoration project ...
I restored a Portuguese Military 4x4 called a UMM (Google it, it's a cool-looking rig) to drive to college without any sort of experience and bought all that was necessary at the local hardware store. Let's just say it didn't really end up like I thought it would.
What was the most challenging part of getting to where you are today?
We have been doing this with love and a lot of enthusiasm. We wake up every Monday pumped to start the week. I don't think we have been challenged yet. It has been a very smooth ride so far. Don't get me wrong: we put in a lot of work, but at the end of the day it doesn't really feel like work to us.
So, find some lovely ladies, add cars; perfect formula. How's that working out for you?
We try to create the environment that will inspire people to use the cars, whether you buy it from us or not. The concept behind the company is to enjoy life through experiences and cars do that for us because we love to travel by car. Thankfully, we get a lot of mail and photos of people that we inspire with our films and photos and they are having fun and traveling with their cars.
What's the most difficult part of the restoration?
Definitely the last week. Every day you get to the workshop and it's almost done, but that week seems like a full year.
What's next for C&V?
We just launched some apparel and we have a lot more coming in the next few months. Not sure if it's because the weather and landscape in Portugal is very similar to California, but our biggest market is now the U.S. We have been challenged by some people there, so a Cool & Vintage workshop/store in California is something that could be in the near future. For now, we are just so thankful of all the support from this community that was born around us and obviously all the websites like yours (blush) that feel the content is good enough to share with others and hopefully inspire people to enjoy and experience life.