Follow Us

The first Argentine car in history has a Galician heart

The story of Manuel Iglesias is not that of one more Galician emigrant who left for Buenos Aires for a “better future”, but that of a man who with his ingenuity and only some artisanal tools made the considered “first Argentine car.”
He arrived in Buenos Aires when he was fourteen years old and, after a small adventurous journey through various Buenos Aires towns, he settled in Campana, 80 kilometers north of the country’s capital.
Carpenter and worker of the railway workshop of the place, his restlessness and economic limitations led him in 1903 to get down to work with the aforementioned feat, little by little, without haste but without pause, “first in the workshop in which he worked” and later from his home and “in his free time,” the grandson of this Galician-Argentine celebrity, Juan Carlos Iglesias Pelliza, explained to Efe.
With a file and hammer, Manuel Iglesias shaped each of the pieces of this racing car and after many chains of error and success, on November 20, 1907, coinciding with the anniversary of his wife, he was able to present his great work, a vehicle that reached 12 kilometers per hour, quite a feat for that time.
“The fundamental merit is that it is made absolutely by hand”, Iglesias Pelliza proudly points out about this metal and wood relic, with a single gear, forward and reverse, and a steam engine, which was nicknamed the “dog killer” precisely because of the damage it caused to the animals in its path.
Manuel “was a restless man of great worth, and, not having the economic capacity to buy his own car, he decided to do it with his own hands,” reveals his grandson.
But Iglesias did not get to visualize the recognition that his original creation would have over time, “he never imagined it,” says his descendant; and, in fact, after a few years of use, the car was relegated to the hen house of the family home, located in Campana.
It was the son of this inventor, Juan Carlos, who conditioned it to leave it again the same as in its glory days.
At present, it is considered, by law, as the first Argentine automobile in history and places the Buenos Aires municipality of Campana “on the map” as the cradle of Argentine motoring.
The southern town has, not in vain, a full-scale replica of the car, as well as several smaller copies that give vivid proof of the link between the city and the car of the Galician emigrant.
The uniqueness of the car has caught the attention of some of the main Latin American presidents in history, such as the Brazilian Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva or the Venezuelan Hugo Chávez, as well as the most distinguished figure of Argentine motorsports, Juan Manuel Fangio.
And, after a visit to Argentina by the mayor of Vila de Cruces (Pontevedra, Spain), Jesús Otero Varela, the possibility arose of twinning the two most important towns of the illustrious Santa Cruz inventor.
Since then, Vila de Cruces and Campana have had several common ties, says the mayor of the Buenos Aires municipality, Stella Maris Giroldi, such as educational “exchanges” or business negotiations.
Giroldi maintains that “it is a satisfaction and a joy” that Campana has such an important milestone in its history and confesses that it fills them with “pride” to be able to “share” it with the hometown of its creator, located in Galicia.
The twinning is expected to experience a new chapter before the end of this year with the placement at the entrance of Vila de Cruces of a replica of the legendary vehicle, measuring 50 centimeters, which will honor one of its most famous neighbors.

You can also read:  VIDEO: Impressive race between F1 motorcycle and F1 car

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

29 + = 31