Building of the first car factory in Brazil is 101 years old, but future is uncertain | Industry

If the cinema has Han Solo, from Star Wars, one of its greatest heroes, the Brazilian automobile industry also has a “Han Solon” to call its own. As heroic as the character, he is not fiction but very real, solidly built with cement and bricks.

It is about first building built in the country to function as a car factory. installed on Rua Solon, 1145, in the Bom Retiro neighborhoodcity ​​of São Paulo, he is still standing, firm and strong to this day, despite his advanced age: more than a century.

the building was opened in 1921, the work of the Ford. They left running wonderful T modelswhose parts arrived through the port of Santos (SP) direct from the United States and were shipped on the São Paulo Railway. The tracks ran just behind the factory.

The first assembly line in Brazil was built with cement from Canada, wood from the USA and structural steel from Europe — Photo: Disclosure/MIAU Collection

Can anyone remember that the Ford arrived this way in 1919, and it’s true. But first she settled in a townhouse in downtown São Paulo and then moved to an old skating rink in Praça da República. These locations, naturally, were not very suitable for the operation, so the company decided to build a factory especially for this purpose – which was, therefore, the first in Brazil.

The project is from Albert Khana kind of Henry Ford of industrial architecture. He pioneered the use of reinforced concreteexposed steel structures and natural lighting and ventilation through large glass planes — all to meet the needs of an automaker.

Building the building was not easy: the cement came from Canada, the wood to assemble the concrete structure forms came from New Orleans (USA) and the structural steel came from Europe.

The building houses a space for parties, events and filming — Photo: Disclosure/MIAU Collection

ONE Ford stayed there 32 years, until 1953when he moved to another factory he built, even bigger and more modern, in the São Paulo neighborhood of Ipiranga. THE building was then sold and served for a little bit of everything in the last 69 years: shed, parking, warehouse, stock, distribution center and even skatewear brand office. Now it works there Superlounge, space that hosts events, parties and filming.

The most incredible thing is that, even after so long, practically all the original features of the factory are still preserved, such as the glass panels (although many are broken or painted), the perfectly aligned hexagonal columns and the brick facade. They beg for a restoration, but they are there. Even the freight elevator engines, brought in from the US, are still running.

The building completed a century last year and is still standing, including the original elevators and a safe that no one takes away — Photo: Disclosure / Collection MIAU

As unbelievable as it may seem, even a hundred years later there is still a brand Ford over there: in a small, strategically windowless room, where the treasury of the automaker, there a majestic vault. They took your door, but the structure is so heavy and solid that no one has ever dared to move. A plaque with the logo is affixed to it. Ford and the inscription SP Office Equipment 4108.

The building maintains the Ford treasury, which has a plaque on the door with the Ford logo and the inscription SP Office Equipment 4108 — Photo: Publicity/MIAU Collection

Another special fact is that, of all the historic factories in Ford in Brazil, this is the only one to resist: Ipiranga, sold and demolished, gave way to a shopping center; similar fate had the unit of St Bernardreceived with the purchase of Willys in 1968, which is going to the ground to house a logistics complex.

Currently, however, the future of the Solon Street building is uncertain. He is for sale and may have the same fate as the others. Practically no one who passes in front of the building knows that the first car factory in Brazil was located there.

Certainly the building deserved a destiny linked to the history of our industry, thus telling its own origin. Any millionaires out there qualify? MIAU, the Automotive Press Museum, is already offering to occupy a space in this historic building. Who knows?

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