"It's all about emotion. Passion!"
Frédéric and Sébastien Suber look a bit like racing drivers from days gone by. Jacky Ickx. Jochen Rindt. Jim Clark. Guiseppe Farina. Fangio. Son and father would fit stylistically into that list without a problem. They share the same sharp features, look just as dandy as the legendary drivers and above all, they know passion. Philippe has put his - for the time being the only - Suber Factory model on the table. Niki Lauda steps towards his 1975 Ferrari 312T. Even at scale, he looks relaxed.
The race is over: the tyres are showing signs of wear. James Hunt will not really be able to compete until next year. Soon, the Austrian will become world champion for the first time. The rivets under the bodywork of the Ferrari are bulging on the sheet metal, although you have to use a magnifying glass to see that. But that is how it is. Because in reality it was like that. And that is what it is about. "Ola, je connais. I know that model. Frederic Suber demonstrates how the nose of the car is repositioned. Sébastien looks on. "It's nice work. He works at home with a magnifying glass. Very detailed. What follows is a conversation in three languages. English, French and Dutch. Passion is about feeling, much more than language. The perfectly bilingual Sébastien complements his father where necessary or looks on amused. "The story is important. Passion. Emotion. A car has to move me." "My son is gradually taking over from me. My job is done. Actually, I just want to do what I love best: making models. He won't get it for nothing: Sébastien, who is Alberto Ascari? Frédéric doesn't wait for the answer. "That's for him to know, of course..
The history, the passion, the emotion - that's what it's about.
The car and motorbike scene is a special interest and the start of our story. That is also how it started for me. Everyone around me thought I was crazy when I wanted to build miniature cars after graduating. The story is important. Passion. Emotion. A car has to move me. That emotion is also independent of the period in which it takes place. Fangio's Maserati from 1957 and the McLaren in which Hunt won the F1 World Championship in 1976 are two completely different cars, but they move me. Each in its own way. It is a game. It's a game. I like people and I meet a lot of interesting people, but first and foremost I still make a model for myself. The adrenaline, the colour, the skill it takes to get the smallest details right... that is what fascinates me. Along the way, I like to do some people the pleasure of making a model for them too, but there has never been a business plan behind it. On the contrary."
Ferrari and Jacques Swaters
"The meeting with Jacques Swaters was - I think - the most important one in my life. He was the first importer of Ferrari in Belgium and opened doors for me. Through him I got to know the world of collectors and the Parisian fair Retro Mobile. Today, I can't make the orders fast enough, but what fascinates me most is the question of how I can create something. How do I turn a relatively cheap plastic base kit into a scale model in aluminium or metal? How do I create the illusion that the car has just finished a race or could just drive off? Rust. Rivets. Dust. Tyre wear. The colour... Oh, finding the right colour is something I can get lost in. I don't worry about fashion, about what's in trend. Pfff ... that's boring huh. I love what is beautiful. It is an obsession. Dedication. Passion. Lines over horsepower. Feeling. Emotion. In this small world, I am addicted to what I do. I get up at night for it. When we go on holiday, I need my workshop. After two days I go crazy." "I love what is beautiful. It's an obsession. Devotion. Passion. Lines over horsepower. Feeling. Emotion."
"Gosh. Selling ... I might prefer to keep them myself ... Business has never been my primary concern. Just write down that my grandmother made sure that today I have the luxury to do what I like to do, in a way I like to do it. You know, I would rather sell a copy to a man with whom I share the same passion, than to the highest bidder. The list of 'greats of the world' who have one of my cars is absolutely worthwhile, but that doesn't matter. Michael Schumacher appreciating my creation for him, that is what I feel. That is it! By the way, there are - in all discretion - super rich people who would immediately like 50 models. But it doesn't click. I don't feel it. And then I don't do it." "Is Suber Factory art or craftsmanship? That's a good question. For me it is both." "Today I sometimes see an improvement point to a previous creation, yes. Just me. The owner won't notice. But at the moment, I always strive for absolute perfection. I cannot hand over a model if I am not convinced that it is 100% correct. If I make a mistake, however small, it is over: dustbin.
Is Suber Factory art or craftsmanship?
That is a good question. For me, it is both. Everything is handicraft so there is a lot of fine craftsmanship in it. I hope that for the owner of a piece it also becomes 'art'. It is a kind of emotional investment of course. Philippe wanted this particular model because he met and shook hands with Niki Lauda the year before. So it is about heroes, about stories. And then we are back where we started." "I love people and I regularly meet interesting people with whom it clicks, but first and foremost I still make a model for myself."
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