A passion for the classics
Ion Tâmpu, a technical representative at Seco Tools in Romania, diligently stays on top of new technology, but is also happy to fall back on old traditions.
“Old school works !” says Ion Tâmpu, a technical expert who has been providing customers and Seco Tool’s sales team with technical support for the past six years. “You can improve and modernize things with state-of-the-art technology, but it is always helpful to start at the beginning and go back to the basics if something is not working.”
Tâmpu is often on the road, visiting customers and providing support and technical assistance, whether it involves improving cutting processes, juggling with milling parameters, or finding a way to improve productivity. “I’m like a problem solver. I’m there to help and improve the situation for the customer,” he says explaining that he adapts Seco products to the conditions and machines that vary from sector to sector and place to place.
Prior to working at Seco, Tâmpu was a construction engineer for a Canadian steel company. He has alsoworked in the automotive sector as a mechanical engineer and says the same engineering principles apply regardless of the sector. “The theory is the same. It’s just the various means of applying it that are different.”
Tâmpu thoroughly enjoys being able to apply all of his technical and engineering knowledge to both his current job at Seco and to his hobby, vintage cars. “I was just five-years old when I saw a VW Karmann Ghia sports car and I remember thinking ‘Wow, I like cars!’” he says.
That childhood passion has remained with him ever since, resulting in his founding the “Old Cars Club Transilvania” a vintage car club in his hometown that engages in rallies and other events.
Vintage cars bear the soul of the car designer
Tâmpu’s description of restoring vintage cars makes it clear that he regards the pastime as a noble mission. “Vintage cars bear the soul of the car designer,” he says. “They were designed with the heart and the mind – not by computers.”
Take the iconic vintage classic, the Volkswagen Beetle: “This was a reliable, good design that is almost impossible to reproduce now,” Tâmpu explains. “Now all cars look and feel exactly the same. Only the emblem is different.”
Tâmpu’s first vintage car was a soft top Beetle. After that, he purchased an East German Trabant. “This was a nice car but it was difficult to maintain in the 1990s because it was hard to find spare parts after the [Romanian] revolution.”
Today, he and his fellow coledge of the world lectors import many of the parts – if they can find them. They also recondition old parts, often finding what they need in car graveyards.
The attitude is changing
Tâmpu currently owns a Fiat 1800B with a six-cylinder engine and a Renault 16, both from 1967. He frequently takes them out for drives, but otherwise, like most vintage car collectors, he tends to keep a fairly low profile about his hobby. “In the communist regime of the past, vintage car collecting was considered elitist, a hobby for the rich only.”
These days, the attitude is changing says Tâmpu, adding that young people in particular are often fascinated when they see him out and about in his 1967 cars. “They can’t believe that these cars are still working. But really, the basics haven’t changed so much. Cars still have four wheels, an engine, and a steering wheel. You can modernize old cars, but the old-school mentality and methods still work.”
By Cari Simmons Photos by Linnea Rheborg
Technical Representative, Seco Tools
Home: Brasov, Romania
Family: Married, two kids
Other interests: Hiking in the mountains
His favorite vintage cars: Fiat 501 Torpedo, Fiat 1500S Spider, Renault Alpine A110
Old Cars Club Transilvania
Ion Tâmpu started the Old Cars Club Transilvania vintage car club in 2005. “Our main goal is not to have many members, but enthusiastic ones with classic cars,” he says. Every year, the club holds a rally event and helps other clubs with similar events. Vintage car races are not strictly about speed as with other car races, but focus on precision. It’s about pacing the driving, or as Tâmpu says, “Keeping the precise speed to reach targets at the exact time.”
Before buying vintage
“Do your homework before buying a vintage car,” says Ion Tâmpu. “Collect and study all information related to your dream car. You must be able to verify its technical condition, original parts, and more, so hire an expert if you need help.”
This is what else he recommends before making any purchases:
Avoid buying vintage cars online. It is better to see everything with your own eyes.
Be prepared to invest time and money in restoration. Even if the car is in mint condition you should have money reserved for unexpected situations.
Look out for rust. Small bubbles under paint or some scratches are easily corrected and rust can be stopped. However, if you can see the grass through the floor forget about the car.
Don’t forget to make room in your garage.