Street Racing in San Salvador: El Salvador Part 3 of 3

Uploaded by drive on 06.03.2012

ALEX ROY: What a fantastic car, man.

Sergio bought that Alfa locally.
And I think he spent under $10,000.
If you book a ticket in advance from New York to San
Salvador, you get a round trip ticket for $400.
That's cheaper than going to California.
You can go down to El Salvador and probably rent a track car
and get a couple of mechanics.
You can call up Julio if you don't know him, have him meet
you here, get a hotel-- the Sheraton El Presidente for a
hundred some odd bucks a night.
For probably $2,000 you could have a racing
vacation in El Salvador.
Mind you, not as many corner workers as you would find on
an American track.
But with virtually 10 times more track time, freedom, fun,
and social interaction with other car lovers than you
would have anywhere in the US--
And what a great track.
ALEX ROY: I totally get it.
I was exhausted and sun burned, ready to
go back to New York.
But Julio had one more thing waiting for us.
Just past the pharmacy where I got my Pepto-Bismol refilled,
a car meet in a parking lot by a shopping center unlike any
car meet I've been to in the US.
It seems like exaggeration, but I never been to a car meet
in the US at night with a bunch of young guys in cars--
tricked out cars--
unless there was a police officer nearby, two
competitive groups separated by brand, people showing off a
little too much, and a little bit of an air of maybe someone
might have a beef with someone tonight.
But this is El Salvador.
We're here with Hymie Villanova, host, formally, of
Rev TV, El Salvador's at one point--
best car show, good friend of Julio from Speed Magazine,
who's now going to give us a tour of what car culture is
all about here in San Salvador.
ALEX ROY: Thanks for having us.
HYMIE: No, it's a pleasure.
ALEX ROY: No, it's a pleasure for me.
You have no idea.
This is what I imagined when I first saw Fast and Furious.
This is what I imagined it was like when you go out and see
people who love their cars and hang out.
But today in New York, New Jersey, or even in Southern
California, I've never been to a car meet where everyone hung
out together, was friendly showing the cars, nobody was
snobbish about it, and it was casual.
I have to ask you this question.
I don't see any police here, OK.
I see a lot of very nice people hanging out, drinking
beers in the parking lot, smoking cigarettes.
The police don't come down here and break this up?
It's very, very hard that you can find police.
ALEX ROY: There were no police.
HYMIE: You can do almost everything in this street.
You just have to be careful.
But this is a paradise.
ALEX ROY: A flat fine system.
I was told that any speeding ticket, no matter
what it is, is $55.17.
Is that true?
HYMIE: Yeah, you have speed tickets from $11
and things like that.
So you don't have to worry about that.
ALEX ROY: I just don't understand.
If you get a ticket, do you have a point system?
HYMIE: No, we don't have that.
ALEX ROY: I can not believe this.
HYMIE: Don't worry.
You can have 1,000 tickets and you will have your license.
ALEX ROY: Really?
HYMIE: Yeah.
ALEX ROY: With no real penalties for any bad
behavior, absolutely no one was behaving badly.
What does this say about the United States?
I never drink and drive.
I never had a DUI.
If you drink and drive, what is the penalty?
HYMIE: If you are got from the police, you can go to jail
maybe three days.
But then you go out and you don't have any trouble.
ALEX ROY: You don't lose your license?
ALEX ROY: If I took one of these cars and did a doughnut
over there, how much trouble would I get in?
HYMIE: Maybe the security from the place can say, hey, stop.
But you wouldn't have any problem.
ALEX ROY: So explain--
maybe I seem completely naive and ignorant as an American--
but why is everyone so well behaved if the penalties for
bad behavior are so small?
Is it just cultural?
HYMIE: Yeah, it's cultural.
You can go some places and you will find crazy people.
But there's a [INAUDIBLE]
where all the people here are very quiet and very calm.
You can come, you can talk.
There are some places that you can make illegal races, which
is some places near here.
But the people here are very good.
ALEX ROY: It made no sense.
I expected Fast and Furious on crack.
And I got a bunch of guys who actually thought Fast and
Furious was one of the dumbest movies they'd ever seen.
We're here with Alex Cruz, AKA, Trock--
that's with an O--
who's going to tell us a little about his car because
according to Hymie, he's the man to talk to.
Thanks for letting me talk to you.
ALEX CRUZ: All right, thank you.
ALEX ROY: Tell me about this car.
ALEX CRUZ: Well, I drive a Honda Civic, '97.
So I'm trying to make the [INAUDIBLE] look.
ALEX ROY: What is this?
Explain to me this license plate mount which is on a
reverse angle.
What's that about?
ALEX CRUZ: You know, because my ear, I don't like to put it
in the side because I had the fog lights.
So I bought these, like a new style.
I saw it on the internet.
So that's pretty much.
And it's funny because sometimes when the cops want
to see your license plate--
ALEX ROY: It's hard to see, of course.
They have to--
Explain, Is it legal to have a tow thing like that.
It is.
ALEX ROY: That's legal?
ALEX CRUZ: Yeah, it is.
ALEX ROY: Really?
ALEX ROY: And is it legal to have five point harnesses in
your car driving down the street?
ALEX CRUZ: Yeah, it is.
Just you have to use it so they don't pull over for not
using the seat belt.
ALEX ROY: Are you friends with any police officers?
ALEX CRUZ: Yeah, we are.
Sometimes when we were at the gas station with all the
fellas and they wait--
ALEX ROY: They want to see the mods.
ALEX CRUZ: No, we just, you know, break some money and
gave it to the cops.
ALEX ROY: Bribery money?
No, you know, we just gave them like--
ALEX ROY: Donation money.
It's a donation.
ALEX CRUZ: --$20 from there so they can let us race.
ALEX ROY: Buy them dinner.
I see.
ALEX CRUZ: So they can let us race for more than an hour or
something like that.
ALEX ROY: I feel like the most innocent man in the entire
parking lot.

So I see that you and your brothers have some of the best
modified Subaru's I've seen anywhere,
not just in El Salvador.
ALEX ROY: Tell me about your car.
TRANSLATOR: Well, this is a Subaru 2005.
TRANSLATOR: We have invested in the engine around $45,000.
TRANSLATOR: And it goes around 800 horse powers.
ALEX ROY: 800 horse power?
ALEX ROY: So we have Anna Flamenco, the
girlfriend of Hymie--
the other Hymie.
Don't even ask.
We like them both.
And you're going to explain to us-- you're going to prove to
me my theory, which is that the girlfriends of car guys
are the same everywhere in the world.
Are you enjoying yourself here tonight?
ANNA: Maybe not enjoying myself but I'm used to it and
I like to accompany him [INAUDIBLE].
ALEX ROY: If you had a choice as to where else you could be
right now--
ANNA: I would be [INAUDIBLE].
ALEX ROY: If you--
ANNA: I'm a different type of girlfriend.
ALEX ROY: If he asked you what you wanted to be doing
tonight, what would it be?
ANNA: Be with him.
If he likes this, that's why [INAUDIBLE].
ALEX ROY: That's the difference between girls in
car shows in El Salvador and New York because none of the
women I've been to car shows ever want to be just with me.
Thank you Anna Flamenco.
ANNA: I told you I was different.
ALEX ROY: The quality of life, El Salvador?
Way better than expected.
Quality of automotive life, of car culture?
I think better than the US, more expensive, harder,
conditions are more difficult.
But money--
you need to have money--
but money doesn't really matter.
This parking lot had an STI with $50,000 modifications to
the engine parked next to a Scion.
Everyone's sitting together.
No competition, no snobbery.
A $75,000 track prepped GTI next to an
RSX missing its hood.
They were all friends, no snobbery.
You know, the love of cars here is not here.
It's all here.
And with every freedom that we don't have in the US to get
away, literally, with murder, no one was.


JF: I want to start off by apologizing to you for
ALEX ROY: Well, that's good because I was going
to ask you for what?
The list is so long.
JF: I'm sorry that you went to El Salvador
without a camera man.
That was not a problem.
JF: Well, and I'm also sorry for sending you to such a
place without really knowing anything.
ALEX ROY: Well, let's be clear.
I never know anything about anywhere that I ever go.
That's part of the schtick.
Secondly, the absence of Tom Morningstar, however much it
would have been nice to have one of the best shooters
around, Josh Fizza, the American Chuck
Norris, did a great job.
JF: Yeah, and I think that the episode showed it.
And I think Live and Let Drive--
let's step back.
A year ago we started being on camera with Road Testament,
and as a producer and friend, the most difficult thing I've
ever had to do is try to find where you fit best and what
you do best.
Because you on camera, up until this year, was nothing
like your real personality.
It's very difficult.
And I think that Live and Let Drive has--
ALEX ROY: So you don't think [INAUDIBLE] was my real
JF: I think that-- well, Road Testament wasn't your real
personality up until the past few months on Live and Let
Drive where people actually see who you are.
And that's one of the most difficult things
I've ever had to do.
ALEX ROY: Yeah, by the early hate mail, let me tell you, it
was also one of the most difficult things
I ever had to do.
JF: Well, you have traveled your whole life, right?
JF: And I think that this puts you in your element because
the problem with you is that when you go places--
you travel so much that you really don't prepare for much.
ALEX ROY: Well, I don't even bring clothes.
JF: Exactly, [INAUDIBLE].
ALEX ROY: But I mean, there was a time when I went
backpacking all through college.
And I loved it.
The happiest I ever was living in Paris and I was literally
broke and I didn't have no idea what I was
ever going to do.
You meet much more interesting people that way.
JF: El Salvador.
What were your expectations when I said you're going to El
Salvador and this is Julio.
ALEX ROY: Let's just say now that a lot of things were not
in the episode that occurred, including my statement of
expectations upon arrival, which is that it would be the
eighth most dangerous place in the world.
And I knew the history of the death squads, the civil war,
things that have gone on.
And I was scared upon arrival.
JF: Why?
ALEX ROY: It's the eighth most dangerous
country in the world.
JF: No, besides that.
What did you know about El Salvador--
ALEX ROY: That's all I knew.
ALEX ROY: And let me say this, I grew up in Manhattan and
lived on the Lower East Side for almost 20 years and moved
to Santa Monica a couple of years ago.
And the joke I always tell people about safety--
I feel safer in New York at 4 o'clock in the morning,
walking down the street, see a black guy, a Hispanic guy, and
an Asian guy, I'm like, where's the after hours party?
But in Santa Monica, you see a white guy at two in the
morning, it's a meth dealer.
I felt safer in El Salvador anywhere we went than I feel
walking around in LA downtown at three in the morning.
JF: Really?
ALEX ROY: Absolutely.
JF: Well, what was your first experiences
when you got there?
You actually got sick, right?
JF: I wasn't sick right away.
My first experience was noticing how
many guns there were.
And one of the things that was not in the episode is that at
the Volkswagen dealership was a guy with a submachinegun who
would gently stroll towards people who spent too much time
looking at a car.
And I tried to enter one of the cars, and he literally was
there within two seconds stopping me.
JF: Really?
ALEX ROY: Oh, yeah.
JF: And not having anything to do with doing anything wrong.
Just because that's what they're used to, that's what
they're accustomed to.
ALEX ROY: Obviously there's crime like anywhere else.
But go to the New York auto show and look at how many ship
knobs are stolen.
JF: That's true.
Well you got to the race track on the second episode.
What was that like when you saw all those cars beaten up?
Most people would assume that this is just a shit show.
ALEX ROY: Also edited out of the episode is my comment that
racing in El Salvador is like going to a lemons race every
weekend, which, I guess, is not really a fair thing to say
because the people there are not taking it, as if it's not
a joke at all.
JF: How do you define the car culture in El Salvador?
ALEX ROY: A lot more honest than some of the car events
I've been to in the States.
I mean, the States have like 285 million people.
Like any large country you're going to have people who are
cool and love their cars and those who buy them as trophies
at every price point.
In El Salvador, nobody's buying cars as trophies,
except for one kid who we won't talk about.
JF: Well, let's talk about what else we didn't see in the
first two episodes.
You actually went out at night to explore the culture, the
behind the scenes of what happens with people who
actually are car enthusiasts.
JF: Well, they all said the same thing.
Don't eat tacos at one particular place, if you're
going to go driving the next day, which is exactly what I
did and suffered for it horribly.
But I will say, the bathrooms at the track-- up at the
the bathrooms at the track, cleaner than any bathroom at
JF: That may be true.
That's probably and understatement.
ALEX ROY: It's definitely true.
JF: But tell me about that cultural car culture at night.
What was it like going to that car meetup?
ALEX ROY: Oh, the meet up the last night.
You know, one of the funniest things about it is, I've been
to some meets in Jersey and you have the VW guys here, the
Audi guys here.
Everybody's split up according to make with some pretty
severe kind of clique divisions between the folks.
El Salvador's not that big a country.
It's 5 million people, 15,000 cars a year sold and 12,000
used exchange hands.
These kids buy their cars and keep them.
And these people-- there was no clique
competition, division.
Everybody knew each other and was friends.
And it was, without a doubt, one of the warmest car meets
I've ever been to ever.
Nobody was insulting each other even for fun.
You can't go to a garage in New York City with your
neighbors without some guy saying this
is a piece of shit.
Well, part of our fun is we curse each other out, and I
think everyone that we work with--
JF: Because you drive a lawnmower.
JF: Yeah, well.
But you didn't that there?
Everyone kind of took care of each other.
ALEX ROY: Absolutely not.
I mean, I guess in a smaller place it pays to be nice.
But the warmth and coolness--
people say, ah, like any hobby people are people.
Interests are international.
Maybe half the people there had been to Daytona or lived
in southern California.
Almost everyone spoke English, had seen our shows, read Car
and Driver.
And so it was more of a transnational crowd than an
international crowd because everyone there had been to
events that we go to.
They do what we do.
They go on Priceline, get a $300 ticket, got to Daytona.
JF: Before this episode I did some research and found the
analytics for Drive.
We've been operational for about 60 days.
We've gotten somewhere around 12,000 views--
unique views from El Salvador.
ALEX ROY: Really?
JF: That's insane.
When you think about that country, to have that
percentage of people watching our content--
ALEX ROY: That's really high.
JF: That's very high.
ALEX ROY: Well, going back to what you were saying earlier
about finding what my show would be or our show would be,
going way back even to Road Testament days, we were
getting a lot of traffic.
A very strong majority of our traffic is
from outside the US.
And even outside the UK, non English speaking countries.
This El Salvador episode, which is probably the most
popular we've ever done, made it really clear.
I want to go to more second, third world countries.
Anyone can go across the United States and a lot of
people will.
We need to go to more unexpected places.
It's more fun for me and I think a lot more fun people
that we're going to meet.
JF: Now, you said that the car culture in El Salvador is
potentially better than what we find here.
JF: Well, I hate to say better.
But I probably have gone to too many meets with supercars
and guys polishing their cars.
I haven't gone to enough meets of just the people--
the kind of guy I used to be when I was saving
money to mod my A4.
Because in El Salvador that's all there is.

There isn't a class division within car culture because
everyone is kind of in the same boat because
of the cost of things.
But that is the core of it.
That's what it is about down there.
But like I said, we're a huge country so of course you're
going to get guys who consider cars jewelry.
But a car without a driver is just a brick, maybe a gilded
brick, still just a brick.
And there are not many F40s that see a lot of road time.
I know a guy takes one on a rally every year.
That's my guy.
Car's got scratches and dents but he loves it.
And I love him for it.
JF: The reason this show exists and the reason all of
these shows exist is because buying a car and owning a car
is an emotional decision.
And it seems from watching what happened in El Salvador,
everything is built off emotion.
Would you say that's true in terms of the racers, the car
It's all built off of greed.
ALEX ROY: Well, I'm reading this book by a Setright, who's
probably the best automotive historian of all time, who was
quite clear that the Ford Model T is the most important
thing to happen--
not in automotive history--
but in the history of class in the world because prior to
that, people--
working class people--
were literally stuck in a two mile radius of where they
lived and worked, which were very close together.
And the fact that one could get beyond two miles ever and
see anything was the most important thing to happen
culturally to working class people, which changed the
nature of class itself and suddenly made it possible for
people to migrate in both directions and buy a car,
which may even be representative of where they
were in life.
That doesn't matter to me at all as much as the fact you
can meet anyone if you have access to a car, even a $500
Craigslist piece of junk.
And that's what it's all about.
JF: Next week we're going to California to finish off
season one.
What have you learned from the past episodes that we hope to
finish the season off on?
ALEX ROY: Keep my mouth shut if I [INAUDIBLE]
because we know something really cool.
JF: Yes.
ALEX ROY: And let people do the talking and talk a little
less because I'm the king of that.
And next week, we're going to go see an old friend of both
of ours who's got something really, really cool.
He's going to take it to show us and I can't wait.
I always thought the show would have been driving a car
that I own because, of course, I think my car's the best even
when they suck.
But I really would like to drive other people's cars,
however slowly, to learn something.
JF: Cool.

ALEX ROY: Have you heard the famous story of when Chevy
released a Nova in Spain and nobody bought it because of
what Nova translates to.
I don't know what Nova translates to.
MALE SPEAKER: I thought it means it doesn't go.
MALE SPEAKER: I know that.
ALEX ROY: It doesn't go.
MALE SPEAKER: Yeah, I know it doesn't go.
It doesn't move.
Yeah, that's true.
ALEX ROY: So are there any other examples of American
cars or any manufacturer releasing a car here with a
name that just wouldn't work?
MALE SPEAKER: Yeah, I'll tell a couple of funny stories
especially with Japanese cars.
Like for instance--
ALEX ROY: The Mitsubishi Puta.
MALE SPEAKER: Laputa, yeah.
No, I think that was Mazda, Laputa.
ALEX ROY: Really?
MALE SPEAKER: Which means the whore.
ALEX ROY: It was really the Mazda Laputa?
MALE SPEAKER: Laputa, yeah.
But it was the name of a cartoon character, Laputa.

We can wait for them to go by, OK.
ALEX ROY: How long ago was that when they
tried selling it?
MALE SPEAKER: No, they never actually
tried to sell it here.
It was sold only in Japan.
But they had also the Nissan.
And I drove one.
I can actually say I drove a Nissan Moco.
Moco is booger.
ALEX ROY: I see, say like the Honda Maricone.
Is that right?
A very famous failure.
MALE SPEAKER: That was a big fail.
ALEX ROY: I guess they don't have too many
Spanish speakers in Japan.
MALE SPEAKER: And then like in South America it's widely
known [SPANISH], which you read Pajero.
But Pajero is someone who is a big fan of jacking.
ALEX ROY: Really?
MALE SPEAKER: Yeah, Pajero that is.
So what's the Pajero called here?
MALE SPEAKER: That's why they changed the name to Montero.
ALEX ROY: Of course.
What's a Montero?
MALE SPEAKER: It's something from the hills, the forest.
It's a very tough name as well.

Yeah, but [SPANISH]
wasn't the happiest of--
ALEX ROY: Of models.
ALEX ROY: Interesting.
The things you learn.

Great stuff.
That was really funny.
four languages between you to have a conversation like that.

Was it Tiburon?
I never knew that.
MALE SPEAKER: Tibauron, yeah.
Or like in Europe, I think, there's a version called the
Tuscani of the Tibauron.
ALEX ROY: What does that mean?
MALE SPEAKER: It refers to the people from--
ALEX ROY: Tuscan area.
MALE SPEAKER: ---Tuscan area, that's right.
Speaking about Tuscan names, I would say the coolest name is
TVR Tuscan.
ALEX ROY: Oh my God, dude, that's one
of my favorite cars.
MALE SPEAKER: Yeah, that's one of my favorite cars ever.
ALEX ROY: I love TVRs.
Have you ever seen one in El Salvador?
There isn't any in El Salvador.
ALEX ROY: I heard about a guy a few years ago who--
you could bring a car into the US for one year if you're
working there.
If you have a visa, you can bring your car with you for
one year and then you have to send it back.
And you do not have to have a federal [INAUDIBLE].
You can keep it for one year and then it has to leave.
So there was a guy who had brought a Cerbera.
ALEX ROY: Fucking, such a cool car.
And like the eleventh month that he had it, it was
destroyed in an accident.
MALE SPEAKER: Oh, how sad.
ALEX ROY: He had it in San Francisco.
And I found some pictures of a car off
the Golden Gate Bridge.
The Cerbera for me is just absolutely the coolest TVR.
There have been a lot of cool TVRs.
MALE SPEAKER: TVRs are just cool.
I'm so sad they're gone.
ALEX ROY: I know.
MALE SPEAKER: The left one, the Sagaris, I think was cool.
I liked it.
ALEX ROY: Not as much as a Tuscan.
MALE SPEAKER: No, but the Tuscan was--
ALEX ROY: The Tuscan R.
MALE SPEAKER: Awesome machinery.
Hold on.