Although this news story occurred in Brazil, it is sure to appeal to American do-it-yourselfers determined to live a happy and sustainable life style. Orismar de Souza is a homeless man who without a single shred of mechanical training, constructed the “shrimp mobile” from junk, spare parts, a hammer and chisel. It took him four years and countless hours to create his dream car.
Souza, aged 35, panhandled the streets of the Brazilian city of São José de Piranha and claims to have survived on minimal food in order to raise the $270 he needed for sheet metal. He cut that into the shape he wanted with a borrowed hammer and chisel. He scrounged all over the area for junked parts and hit the jackpot when he found a 125cc motorcycle engine lying in a junkyard.
Souza had no real experience working with metal except for the metal cans he decorated and traded as a child in exchange for food and clothes. There were times when the metal work was so difficult for him that he almost gave up, but like that old expression, “almost doesn’t count”.
Eventually, Souza was able to replace the motorcycle engine’s kickstarter with a car ignition. Over time, he was also able to add a gearbox with reverse gear. The mostly Fiat “shrimp mobile” can reach 50 mph on the highway.
The really good news is that this car not only gave him a source of pride and inspired him to keep going, it has also provided a means of transportation, which he has used to find a home and a job working in the local sugarcane fields.
Souza says his next creation will be a garage to house his treasured vehicle.
One can only wonder what that will be made of.