|COOL DUDE: 18-month-old Truong Thien Bao behind the wheel of his Bugatti Centodieci. Photo courtesy of Truong Van Dao|
On many a young man’s bedroom walls from Hanoi to Houston, you’ll see posters of Ferraris, Bugattis and Lamborghinis.
Children will be nodding off to sleep dreaming of one day owning a Spider, Centodieci or Aventador. Sadly for most those aspirations will never come true, but not so for one toddler in Bac Ninh Province.
He may be only 18 months old, but Truong Thien Bao already has these wheels – and it’s all thanks to his father Truong Van Dao, a woodwork wizard who, along with his team, builds identical replicas of supercars.
Bac Ninh may be regarded as the carpentry capital of Vietnam, but 30-year-old Dao is more interested in making Ferraris than furniture.
He has built his son a working replica, albeit a little smaller, of the Bugatti Centodieci.
The boy already has a Ferrari and the latest project is a wooden version of the BMW 326 Hommage. All the cars are made entirely of wood.
Bao may still be a little young to fully appreciate his new wheels, but in a few years’ time, he will be the envy of the town.
“It’s all about passion. I am very passionate about carpentry,” said Dao.
“I grew up in a carpentry family. So I really like making things from wood. Recently I have made some videos about my wooden stuff and these are watched by both local and international people.
“My son is 18 months old. Initially, I made some small things for him like a mini wooden house. He liked it a lot and played with them every day but these small things break easily and only last for a few days.
“That pushed me to do bigger stuff. When I took my son to the park to play he was really into electric cars. So that’s how I started to think about making cars like those.”
Dao works on the supercar projects with three other carpenters. His latest creation took two months to build.
“I downloaded images on the internet, printed them out and had a sketch of different parts, which took about five days. Then I bought wood and it took me 10 days to dry wood.
“Then I spent another 40 days to work on it. So basically it took me about two months to get it finished.
“Before I did the wooden cars, I’ve tried doing other products. But I realised that cars are my destiny after receiving applause from people.
“Each time, I try to make these cars become more beautiful, more perfect on a daily basis, and they can even run smoothly.”
Making a wooden car actually drive was no small task. It took trial and error for Dao to get it right.
He added: “Initially, I made the first car which resembled electric cars for kids at the park, but I had difficulties. The car didn’t work with the engine.
"We are experienced in carpentry but found it hard to make the car move like a real one. My first car failed but the video about it that I posted on YouTube has 24 million views now.
“After that, I searched for more eye-catching brands, learned about engineering. We looked for old engines from scrap metal collectors, soldered them, and created spare parts by ourselves. The engine and motor are safe for users.
“I choose those brands because they are my favourite. I like convertible cars and I also want to make this suit for kids so they can drive it. I like toy cars as a kid but never thought of making them one day.
“Only a few years ago, when I grew up, being well aware of my village’s carpentry making traditions and knowing about the small cars for kids, then I had the idea of making real wooden cars.”
And with his skilled hands, eye for detail and imagination, maybe Bac Ninh could soon become the wooden car capital of Vietnam.
Foreign website Carscoops has published an article titled “Amazing wood carved scale models” which showcases a range of impressive Vietnamese wooden car models.
From top 49 of Vietnam’s Got Talent to record-breakers, the journey of preserving Vietnam’s traditional tò he (toy figurines made of rice dough) of brothers Le Xuan Tung and Le Xuan Tung has touched hearts nationwide.