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Magazine

Forever young.

GETTING AWAY FROM IT ALL

Barcelona is a turbulent, lively but also rather noisy city. In the summer, tourists flock to the city center. At this time, Lamarca and Blanco often escape to the sea, to the Costa Brava or occasionally to the South of France. They like being on the go, spontaneous and free from the constraints of timetables – to coin a phrase: “auto-mobile”. “A car is essential for escaping from one’s everyday routine,” says Lamarca. In the city, you often leave your car at home. Especially at the weekends, when the couple stroll around the traditional quarters, along the narrow, winding lanes of the Barri Gòtic – the gothic quarter dominated by the cathedral – or in Barceloneta, the old fishermen’s quarter. “The best way to get around these districts is on foot,” advises Lamarca.

De Pablo, recently retired, was Head of Production at SEAT’s Martorell plant. Parked on the promenade is a piece of automotive history: his cream-colored SEAT 600 from the 1960s. (photo)

REPRESENTATIVES OF AN OLDER
GENERATION – On Montjuïc, Francisco
de Pablo lets his SEAT 600 take a
breather. The little SEAT 600 put Spain
on the road, allowing families and
friends to get away in their free time.

The SEAT 600 is now parked at the Miramar lookout point on Montjuïc. The castle is situated a little higher, surrounded by greenery – a park, woodlands and Barcelona’s botanic gardens. From Miramar, you can look down on the city and the port. The free trade zone – the “zona franca” – is home to the older buildings of the SEAT plant, where de Pablo began work in March 1972. He had already passed his driving test four years previously, even before his father had a license. “When we first drove into the village where my father came from, he insisted on getting behind the wheel himself, even though he couldn’t drive – he was a very proud man, my father. As luck would have it, the car remained unscathed,” recalls de Pablo. In 1973, the very last SEAT 600 rolled off the production line in Barcelona. The workers bade it farewell with the banner: “You were born a prince and will die a king.” When Volkswagen took over the company in 1986, de Pablo went to Germany for two years, where he was involved in planning the new SEAT plant in Martorell, which he subsequently helped to open: “An exciting time – the beginning of a new era for SEAT.”

In the evening, the time-honored SEAT 600 once again meets the fresh-faced Ibiza – at the heart of an architectural gem in Barcelona’s old town: the Plaça Reial. The “Royal Plaza” is surrounded by a complex of classicistic buildings from the mid-19th century, all based on French models. Palm trees provide shade. The evening is lit up by lanterns designed by the then-unknown Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. Gaudí’s creations – the best known of which is the still-uncompleted Sagrada Família church – are among the main sights of the city. It has been a long time since de Pablo was last here. “I used to come here with my father to look for stamps and coins at the flea market.” Today, Plaça Reial is where young people meet to socialize. The nights are long here, in the arcades with a wide range of cafés and bars, in the “Glaciar”, the “Pipa Club” or – a well-kept secret – the disco hidden away in the basement of the “Taxidermista” restaurant.

“Barcelona is synonymous with diversity and temperament – just like SEAT.” Álex Blanco, Seat driver (quotation)

VERSATILE AND LIVELY – JUST LIKE SEAT

As the last rays of daylight fade away, the meeting of the generations draws to a close. “SEAT and Barcelona were made for each other,” says Blanco over a glass of beer, “the city is every bit as modern and style-conscious as the brand.” “And Barcelona is synonymous with diversity and temperament – just like SEAT,” adds Lamarca. And then the car fan in Blanco comes to the fore: “The Spanish roots of the brand today are more evident than ever. This is also because the workmanship and engine technology have improved constantly in recent years.” De Pablo listens and smiles. He has a lot of time for young people and is always interested in hearing their opinions. The SEAT 600 is his hobby and his passion. However, in everyday life he also drives a silver-colored Ibiza ST which offers lots of space and driving pleasure.

Back at Plaça Reial, Japanese tourists have discovered the cute little vintage car. After the obligatory photo at the central fountain, they stand next to the 600 and ask friends to take a picture. De Pablo looks on with satisfaction. “It still has the ability to turn heads,” he says, “and the Ibiza still has time to become a true classic.”

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
www.seat.com

AUTHOR
Merten Worthmann

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