Málaga, 04/09/2015. - "I'm 77 years old and I've spent more than 40% of my life on the road driving a SEAT", says Vicente Roda, a native of Málaga who spent over 30 years at the wheel and who has had a total of 12 SEAT models throughout his lifetime. We visit Vicente at his home in Alhaurín de la Torre so he can tell us about his lifelong connection with cars - the voice of experience of someone with intimate knowledge of the trials and tribulations of working on the road.
This southern retiree spent his working life as an earth-moving machinery inspector, which led him to cover long distances daily in the company of a SEAT car. "I've never had any other car that wasn't a SEAT. I've always trusted this brand because the cars gave good results and were easy to handle and take care of", says Vicente. "I literally lived on the road and cars were just another work tool. Wherever I had to go, my car had to be able to take me, no matter what type of road I travelled on", he comments as he recalls past experiences and tells us how the road network in Spain has changed in recent years.
Vicente has an enormous collection of memories of his years at the wheel and recalls that the most popular car in Spain in the 60s and 70s was the SEAT 600. "It was a great little car for everyone who made a living on the road in those years. We'd often get together over coffee and trade stories about our cars and share tips on how to improve their performance", adds Vicente as we make our way to his garage to take a look at a 600 he inherited from his father, a motoring gem that's nearly half a century old and that Vicente is restoring. "I've always been a motoring fan, and what I like about SEAT is that nobody else but me touched the car for several years. My family used to call me MacGyver because I managed to take care of any necessary repairs with my own hands", he says with a grin.
Vicente's three sons come over with a surprise gift from the brand that stood by him for so many years on the road. They hand him an envelope with an invitation from SEAT to tour the company's Historic Car Collection. No sooner said than done, and the following day Isidre López, the Historic Car Collection manager, welcomed them in the Barcelona Zona Franca facilities to walk Vicente through the history of the company and, by extension, through the history of motoring in Spain.
Vicente is visibly emotional at the end of the tour, but manages to say "it's been a real treat to get a close look at all these cars that I grew up with and grew professionally with" as his mind is racing with 30 years of memories on the road with SEAT.