There are those who build their car for closed circuits, or parking lot hangouts. And there are those who long for the open road. Each brings enthusiasts a different sense of enjoyment, but for Tomás Apellido, nothing beats carving through the winding roads while taking in the scenery.
As someone who once saw cars as nothing more than a tool to get from A-to-B, he began taking interest from an ergonomical stand point. At the age of 20 while living in Poland, he purchased an Audi TT Quatro, "the 225hp version", shortly after receiving his driver's license. Originally from Spain, Tomás' plan was to re-sell the car when he returned to his home country. However, something happened. He became enamored with driving and road tripping. Something he says may not have happened, had he owned a "more basic" car.
Turkey - in front of Mount Ararat near the border with Iran
After selling the TT, Tomás lived in London for a year, where he did no driving at all. It was during this time that he realized his longing for a car as an instrument of driving pleasure. His criteria was simple. "The more unknown, the better, but without breaking the bank", he says. After browsing several cars, his choices narrowed to a short list including the MG TF, Pontiac Solstice, Chrysler Crossfire and the MR2 Spyder. In the end, Tomás chose the MR2 after having found it in great shape and trusting Toyota for its famed reliability over the other brands. "I think it was the best choice," Tomás remarks. "I absolutely love my MR2. It has not given me any problems since I bought it, and I believe I will never sell it, even up to the point when it will be "grandpa's cool car".
Georgia - on the "road" to Shatili in the Caucasus mountains
At 32, Tomás still has a passion for traveling. Working remotely allows him to explore new regions. "I believe traveling overland is the best way to really know a country. And there are few better feelings than driving with the top down in a new road of an unknown exciting country." His travel series
is exciting. It's not every day you see an MR2 as the focus for this sort of content, especially in his region of the world.
(Left) Iran - the city of Yazd / (Right) Ukraine - abandoned gas station near Poland
When asked where his favorite destination so far has been, he answered Iran. "It is a very unknown and misunderstood country. People are great, I would say the most hospitable I have met in all my travels. Amazing historical places and nature. Very safe. And the cheapest fuel in the world after Venezuela (less than 5€ for a full tank!) which makes it a great place to drive around." He goes on to explain something quite interesting involving cars in Iran. As Tomas puts it, the trend is called "dordor".
"It's a way to meet the opposite sex! In Iran there are no bars or night clubs, so they have developed a system called 'dordor'."
Basically, some streets in the main cities are known as "dordor" streets, where people go there with their cars and drive very slowly, talking to each other through the windows. Therefore, having a cool car is paramount. "I can say the MR2 Spyder was a total success at dordor!"
Tomás closes by encouraging everyone to go on as many road trips as possible now. He believe in a few years, autonomous cars will be the norm and the joy of driving in a road trip will be a thing of the past. Bold words. "Seize the moment while you can!", he exclaims.
Iran2 - highway between Tabriz and Tehran