A workshop, to most of us, is more than just a convenient work place. Over the last few days, you’ll have seen a lot of garages and shop tours from around the world already. I can’t say for certain – I’m writing this before I’ve read any other features put together by the rest of team – but whilst what I’m about to show you is humble. It is for me the most important set-up of them all…
Last year, Ben and I went on an adventure to Sweden. By now, you’re likely familiar with the cars we found on that trip: the Hemizon, the 1JZ Caddy, the 1294whp Supra and a particular diesel Chevy rod with more torque than a Bugatti Veyron. With a cast of cars like that, it was pretty easy to become over-awed. But nearly a year on, and it turns out that it was in fact one of the people we met who left the lasting impression.
His name is Emanuel Sandén. In the last twelve months, three of his own cars have been featured on Speedhunters. Quite a feat considering these were cars he built in his own spare time and for himself.
Emanuel embodies all that is right about global car culture. He’s humble and happy to talk about cars until the sun comes up. It was through one of these conversations as we were finishing up a shoot on the Hemizon, that he invited us to come and take a look at his personal workshop, in a sleepy Swedish suburb.
Sweden is a utopia and as such a lot of it looks quite alike. However, when we arrived at Slammer Garage, we were immediately aware that Emanuel had carved out his own little corner of Sweden.
I’m sure his neighbours must be horrified at the sight of hot rod projects strewn about outside his workshop’s doors.
Inside, as they say, is where the magic happens.
Whilst the space is compact, it’s used efficiently and doesn’t feel cramped. In fact, there were four rolling projects on the floor inside, and probably enough room for a fifth.
As this was the first time we had seen the Cummins-powered Chevy, I’ll admit that it did steal a lot of our attention for the first hour or so.
But once the novelty wore off (actually, I’m lying, the novelty never wore off), it was time to take a closer look at all those small things that to Emanuel are probably just in the way, but to us are what defines the character of this workshop.Who is Henry Ford?
I would love to know what this looks like to an American reader. To see your national flag proudly hanging on the wall in a country thousands of miles away and not a fellow US citizen to be seen for miles around. It’s clearly a positive thing, but am I the only one who finds these sort of homages fascinating?
It’s not unique to Slammer Garage of course, but something that can be found in every workshop around the world. All those little pieces of paraphernalia that we try to assemble to bring us closer, in spirit at least, to achieving a certain amount of authenticity with our projects and builds.
Even things as easily attainable as magazines that we can’t buy in our local newsagents but can perhaps source online. Not only do they inspire us but I believe they put us in the right state of mind.
Of course, no workshop is complete without the obligatory bias and banter. It’s never to be taken too seriously, more a playful shove than anything else.
Against each wall, you will find parts for upcoming projects. This Mercedes diesel engine has since found a new home.
In this ’49 Chevrolet pickup.
Which was spread pretty evenly around the workshop.
There were complete cars too, like this half and half (half painted, half rusted) ’40s Buick Super. Emanuel told us an amusing anecdote where they rolled down a street one day in this, before turning around and driving back the way they came. ‘Hey, did you just see that rusty version of that old car that went by a few minutes ago?”
This is the sort of character that you can’t buy off a shelf.
The same can be said for pretty much everything that Emanuel puts his hands on…One man’s thrash
So, aside from the amazing cars, the interesting parts and the random pieces of ephemera that reside here, what makes this garage more special than any other?
Well, nothing really. Slammer Garage exemplifies what is great about every workshop around the world.
This is not just Emanuel’s sanctuary, it’s yours and mine too. It’s like a network of safe houses the world over, where we can all take shelter.
A place where even the thrash fascinates us and starts up a conversation.
You see, garages aren’t just four walls and a roof. They’re places where we make things happen. It’s a place where we can walk inside, close the door and forget about the outside world for a couple of hours. It’s a place of gathering, where we can hangout with friends, work on our cars or just talk shop. Our garages and workshops define who we are as petrolheads and each one tells you everything you need to know about its owner.
You can take the cars out and still know exactly what type of person the owner is. These are our churches. These are our temples, our shrines or whatever else you want to call them.
This is where speed is born.