How a South Side family crafted an unconventional sports car
Within minutes of rolling the bright red sports car to the curb of their South Side auto shop, Pablo Aranda saw drivers circling the block to get another look at the car’s blown-out contours and four-pipe exhaust. “Is that the new Corvette?” one passerby asked Aranda and his father Ramon. “If this car were at a dealership,” he continued, “I’d trade in my new Cadillac CTS.”
It’s exactly the kind of reaction the Arandas hope to garner from private investors or an established automaker who can manufacture the car they’re calling Vertigo. Building this radically different sports car is the reason they emigrated from Argentina in 2000 and opened Metro Collision a year later.
Instead of using computers or blueprints, they eyed up measurements and traced ideas on old pizza boxes. They fashioned their own hand tools to form body panels, taillight mounts, a branded interior console and other parts. They chip in cash and labor when they can and are aware of the difficult odds in marketing a grassroots car. But that won’t stop them from trying, Aranda says.
“With all the cars now, it’s just a copy of a blueprint or another branch from the main tree,” says Aranda, who’s spent three years building alongside brothers Martin and Gustavo, as well as his father, who’s worked in garages since he was 11. “It’s nice to see something different.”
In the photo above...
- Art meets aerodynamics on the hood. Air enters through twin intakes and leaves through a central outlet, cooling the V-8 and keeping the ride grounded at high speeds.
- Vertigo’s name gleams across a rear body panel, down a leather console and in the hood-ornament logo—a lady flying over a shiny, bold V. “You have your name, you’re proud of it,” Aranda says. “You want something where people say, ‘Look what I got!’”
- The Arandas wanted side optics to emphasize showy contours and highlight the two-tone color scheme—Ferrari red and a house-made chalky tan.
- Shattering sports-car convention, the large trunk was designed to fit two golf bags. “If you want to go golfing and show off your car,” Aranda explains, “this is the way to do it.”
- Side panels were designed to marry new with old: Aggressive modern lines meet the sumptuous accents of vintage models like a 1951 Chevy Bel Air garage mate.
- Air channeled by flared, ribbed side intakes cools wheels that can torch at high speeds. An exaggerated design shows off artistic chops.