AUTOLIFER | Angelo Di Massimo

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Me and the 206, summer 2005, north of Italy

Hello people, since you’re here on this page I assume you’d like to know one thing or two about my existence, unless you ended up here by mistake. Well my name is Angelo, I’m 22 years old, and currently I live in Bedford (England). I say currently because I might move somewhere else soon. Despite this I’m originally from Rome (Italy) and I moved on my own to England about 8 months ago. Talking about my car fever, it all started when I was 1 or 2. My mom told me that I could recognize the VW badge I would see on commercials and that’s because my dad used to have a VW Golf mk2, GTI replica from the outside, packing a lame 1.0l, 8 valves engine inside.

After that, as many other boys I got my first PlayStation, and I couldn’t stop playing Gran Turismo 1 and 2. I would play for so many hours, but the strange fact was that I wasn’t racing in the game as even my parents noticed. I would just stare at all cars available in the market, new and used ones, reading descriptions even though I couldn’t understand anything. GT2 especially had so many cars available, and different engines as well as many of you will remember: I really reckon that those two games affected my childhood so much and somehow made me who I am now, so thank you Sony (even if I only play Xbox now).

I remember back in the years, like in 2006, I was doing the countdown to the moment I’d get my driving license. I could remember me thinking: “Damn, still 3 years to go…” (in Italian obviously, didn’t know any English by then). In 2009 eventually I got my so-badly-wanted driving license and along with that, a little black two-door Peugeot 206, 1.1l, “poverty-spec”. We bought that car back in 2002 from new.

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My “SUV” 206 today

I did so many exterior modifications to it: sport bumpers, had GTi wheels for a while, changed about 2-3 pairs of taillights, 2 pairs of headlights, 3 exhaust back boxes, air-filters, wheel spacers, the usual stuff. Funny how nowadays the car looks completely stock, if not OEM+ style. Now it is right outside the house where I live, in England. An unforgettable two-day trip from Rome to Bedford, 2000 km’s, about 1300 miles. I love that car as every autolifer loved and loves their first car I guess, but I’ve always been a fan of track-racing and drifting and a FWD 1.1l car doesn’t really suit me anymore.

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I wanted an MX-5 N/A for very long time. Just a few days ago a friend of mine tells me about a car for sale on the local “cars for sale” Facebook group. A 1998 Mazda MX-5 (mk1), UK spec, 1.8i. I have a look at it, it doesn’t really catch my attention at first, plus I was waiting until March before going MX5 hunting. Since it was very close to me though and from the pictures it didn’t look too bad, price was kind of low, reasonable mileage I decided to go anyway, and a mechanic friend of mine came too. Well, long story short, I bought the car, and it’s got some minor work to do: I hate those darkened bits (reflectors, wheels, side mirrors), so I’m getting rid of them, aiming for a 100% OEM look as first target. Then I’ll probably go for a new soft top, a cover for it when folded down, also windows needs fixing and some other minor fussiness. Once everything is done I’ll probably go to a “forever broke” status after buying some good coilovers, as I don’t want to ruin the great handling of this car like many do, and a set of Rota wheels.

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January 2012: I know it sounds crazy now, but by then, I couldn’t choose between an SLR camera (Canon SX 150 IS) and a DSLR camera (Canon EOS 1100D). I didn’t know anything about photography really, I didn’t know I would still be working on digital pictures today, almost 2 years later. I decided to go for the DSLR, and along with that I bought a very nicely written book about professional photography which I read, surprisingly I must say, with curiosity. I had been watching videos on Vimeo about cars in the USA, and I really wanted to try and make my own. I decided to go take pictures at car events then, and that’s how it started. From car events, to a Facebook “fan page”, a few photo shoots (1 or 2 cars only), eventually I managed to make some videos in “Vimeo style”, of which I’m relatively happy today (even if they’re in 720p) and here I am, proudly joining AUTOlifers as a contributor.

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June 2012, randomly found in an English magazine by my friend, owner of this 206 GT

Moving abroad to England was an adventure from the start, so for the first 6 months I had no car, and even if I’m a lazy person, I had to walk long distances, or take public means (which I hate regardless of whether or not they work properly). As soon as I got my beloved beast car, after having missed the English French Car show, Japfest, and several other big events throughout the summer, I searched for the first event around my area which was worth going. On the 7th of December, eventually, I was at Santa Pod, taking pictures of cars drifting, breathing burnt tyre smoke. It was like heaven to me, as in Italy we might have Lancia Delta HF Integrale’s, old school Ferrari’s at certain meets, Alfa Romeo’s, Fiat’s, but for some reason I’m more about JDM cars. To put an end to this endless introduction (congratulations for getting so far, if you have), I’m sure that I will learn a lot from the Autolifer’s staff, and that it will be a remarkable experience, for my “photographer career”.

Words & Photos: Angelo Di Massimo

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