I recently received an application from Arismar Valente who asked to join the UK Owners’ Club following the demise of his local Belgian club. Although living in Belgium he originally hails from Brazil and has dual Italian/Brazilian nationality. He is neither proficient in Dutch nor German so Arismar has asked to join the UK Club. You will see below that his English is excellent and that he has every reason to be completely disillusioned with the draconian regulations to be applied in and around Brussels. Here is his story.
My name is Arismar Valente, I am married to a lovely Portuguese lady, we have two sons and we live in Brussels, Belgium. Thanks to Martin’s understanding and generosity, I was allowed to join the UK Barchetta Club since the local one folded some time ago for unknown reasons and I’m not very proficient, to use a euphemism, in either Dutch or German.
Anyway, I am the proud owner of a 1995 red Barchetta chassis number ZFA 18300000004327, MOTd until October 2019 and with some 86.000 km on the clock. It is an early example of the “Little Boat” which happens to be a mixed blessing because as from 01/01/19 – due to new legislation creating the LEZ, (Low Emissions Zone,) aimed at reducing pollution in the area – all petrol engined cars, vans, trucks, buses (registered in Belgium or not) which are Euro 0 or Euro1 and are not at least 30 years old, when they classify as classics, will not be able to run within the Brussels Region. (This comprises the city of Brussels itself and 18 more areas surrounding it.). The owners of such vehicles may buy online a day pass costing 35€ per day for a maximum of 8 days per civil year. Penalty for non-compliance is stiff, 350€ each time and controls will be severe. There is also specific legislation concerning diesel vehicles, even more strict. What all this means is petrol engined vehicles made as from January 1990 up to December 1995 (after that it’s Euro 2), and including the first series Barchettas, will be heavily penalised and scrapped or sold to places outside the Brussels Region. Only idiots like me will keep them and buy the expensive one-day passes but keep my Barchetta until I move out and bring it with me, it turns 30 years old or it becomes impossible to own one. You can find more about this anti-pollution scheme following this link: https://lez.brussels/en/content/affected-vehicles. However, someone not living in the area might be able to find a bargain Barchetta in good order in Brussels from now on – not mine though, it’s not for sale! In fact, it will be going for a phase variator and fuel pump change soon by the very capable hands of Franco, the Italian mechanic who has also taken care of my 1971 Fiat 500 l. But, as they say, that’s a different story!
That is it for now! For geographical reasons I will not be taking part in most club activities but I will follow the club site and try to contribute to it as best I can. Keep up the good work!