Meet fellow car enthusiast, Vincent Metais, the man behind Suixtil and a man with an appreciation for the glory days of vintage racing. He might just have a man crush on (Juan Manuel) Fangio, you’ll understand shortly. Vincent is a man who is passionate about cars and upholding original style and elegance of vintage motorsports.Anyone who is a connoisseur of vintage automobile racing will likely recognize the name Suixtil as it is emblazoned on many a car. Back in the 1940’s the petrol-head owner of a ready-to-wear apparel company, Suixtil, also the man who bought Fangio his first Chevrolet, took a turn at creating racing uniforms. They made what are affectionately known as racing blues, which were and are still loved by drivers for their comfort, ease and style. Remember this is back in the day when drivers were first and foremost gentleman, not personalities.
With Fangio’s successes, what Fangio wore, other drivers coveted. The brand disappeared mid-60s when its founder died. Vincent secured the rights and re-launched the brand over 6 years ago to preserve the rich history. Through the vector of the Heritage line, he has managed to revive that very spirit of a great automotive name. Today’s racing enthusiasts can happily snap on their blues for a vintage rally or other automotive gathering. With pants, gloves, jackets, shirts, bags and more the car enthusiast can embody the essence of the glorious past.
So just who is Vincent, the man behind such an admirable accomplishment?
20 Questions for car enthusiasts
1. When and how did cars or motorsports shift from an interest to an obsession? My grandfather, who has always been passionate about cars, used to take me on secret visits of car museums – everything, I believe, stems from then.
2. What is your experience with cars? Are you able to fix them, car clubs, shows or racing? Yes I could fix cars – see 4, 5 and 6 underneath. No real experience racing except to scare myself enough. Now participating at as many shows as possible because they represent such great forums and opportunities to meet great people.
3. What is your most memorable experience with a car? Sibille (my wife) and I drove a 1984 (St) Range Rover across 22,000 km in Africa over a 9-months period, the first leg of our honeymoon. Oh, and over the second course of that same honeymoon, we also drove a Datsun 100A hatchback around Australia (probably another 7,000 km at least). We’re still happily married 20 years later.
4. What was your first car? A badly run-down Ford Taurus that I had bought from a friend for a leather jacket.
5. What was the worst car you ever owned? A badly run-down Ford Taurus that I…. (We won’t tell anyone. – ed.)
6. Any automobile achievements you would like to share? Achievements would be an exaggeration. Every good time with a classic counts as a great time for me. 7. If you could die and come back at any time in automotive history when would it be? I’d like to come back as Dennis Jenkinson to be Sir Stirling Moss co-pilot for the ’55 edition of the 1000 Miglia, and not screw-up.
8. What car best resembles your personality? The big Healey, maybe?
9. If your dream garage held only five cars what would they be?
- Ferrari 250 SWB
- Aston Martin DB4 GT
- Maserati A6G 2000 ZC
- Gordini T24S
- Porsche 718 RSK
10. Is there any car which others may covet but you would not take it if someone gave it to you? Most of today’s recent “Supercars” that bear little resemblance to a road car and would costs $$$$$ to run for a half-hour before you’d need to stop and change the set of tires do not present much of an attraction to me. Then again, I probably would just take them anyway and trade them in for something I would enjoy.
11. If you were to characterize your love of automobiles or motorsports in one word what would it be? Cannot do it in one word, but will try with three: The Right Stuff!
12. Road course or oval track? Road course.
13. What do you consider the most beautiful car ever made? I guess the W196 from Mercedes would be my most beautiful racer (though the 250F and 300S would not come far behind). Then there would be “regular” cars and I have always had something for the SM from Citroën, with a Maserati engine, perhaps because it was just so far ahead of its time, but there too there are just so many choices….
14. Old cars or new cars? Old cars with lots of personality.
15. Do you have a favorite automotive movie? A short : “C’était un rendez-vous” from Claude Lelouch. Unfortunately, I find none of the full-length movies that have been made so far give a good fictionalization of the characters or the spirit of motorsports in the ‘50s and ‘60s when it was at its zenith (and this despite the quality of the source material). There are some great documentaries, though, in particular the “Fangio – a life at 300 km/h” by Hugh Hudson (the Monaco scene – unbelievable).
16. What is your fun car and what is your daily driver? None in Shanghai, where we have relocated 3 years ago.
17. Does your spouse or significant other share your love of the automobile? Oh yes she does, luckily or the current pursuits would otherwise be impossible!
18. What is your favorite vice, other than cars? Not sure whether it is a vice yet but might become one in this age of dematerialization, but I enjoy social interaction with passionate people. I also have a great fondness for good movies and books.
19. If not cars, what would your interest be? People who change the(ir) world.
20. If your automotive fairy-godmother could grant you one wish, it could be a car, an experience, a lifestyle, an achievement – what exactly would it be? Be transported back in time in the ‘50s and ‘60s and hang out with the legendary drivers from back then and enjoy their spirits!