Paul Dumitru was taught to tinker at an early age in his home country of Romania, which soon turned into an automotive engineering degree. Now residing in the US, Paul loves all things mechanical, be it a diesel tractor, Formula SAE project, or vintage racecar. He also keeps himself busy with car designs, some of which include "St Manual", "Stay Negative", and "Baws".
Paul took a break to answer a few questions of ours:
How did your interest in cars start?
I can probably pinpoint my love for going fast through the twisties to the moment when I got my first mountain bike. The other aspect of my love for cars, the mechanical one, I owe to my dad. Amongst others, he used to rebuild engines in the garage when I was a kid and I was always glad to help. Most of the work my dad did was on tractors and old Dacias (yes, James May's favorite car brand). As a side note, my dad's car when I was a kid was an early 1970s white Dacia 1300. It was a great car to work on though, due to its mechanical simplicity. What I do remember pretty vividly is the fact that the first engine that I've seen my dad work on was a massive 4.8 litre inline 4 diesel engine from a tractor. You can imagine the sheer size of the motor's components and the way they must have looked to a five or six year old. The result of this is that, even now, every time I work on an engine or I see one disassembled a part of me still thinks "oh, that's cute".
What do you do besides designing awesome shirts?
I’ve recently graduated with a degree in Automotive Engineering for the University of Transilvania in Romania. Due to family reasons I had to move to Minnesota soon after, so right now I’m on the market for a job where I can put my degree to work.
How does your interest manifest itself?
Obviously, I watch and read a decent amount of automotive media and I’m a sucker for good automotive photography. As a kid, I would sometimes spend my time coming up with car designs, both on paper and on my computer, but that changed when I got my driver’s license.
Back when I was in Romania I was fortunate to live in an area surrounded by great driving roads. While most people know about the Transfagarasan highway, my favorite roads to drive were always the gravel ones, even more so in the winter when they were covered with ice. I used to drive a ’94 Audi 80 wagon who loved to go sideways.
During college I was part of my university’s Formula SAE team, where teams from universities all around the world design, build from scratch (except for the engine) and then race formula-style racecars against each other. Well it's not a race per se, it's trials such as a skidpad, straight line acceleration/braking and autocross. I witnessed the glamour (read dirt, sweat and the quick realization of the importance of safety gear) of designing and building a racecar. My team was closer to the bottom of the spectrum budget-wise, but we had some brilliant and hard working members. The results weren't great to be honest, but being a part of a team of passionate people and contributing to the design and build of a racecar were equally, if not more important than the results.
What is at the top of your automotive bucket list?
I have a passion for vintage racecars, so I would love to drive a Group B car one day. More realistically, I’d like to go to a rally school in the near future.
What was your first car? Do you have any sort of brand loyalty?
While my first car was the previously mentioned Audi Wagon, I can’t say that I have any brand preferences. I would say that I have a soft spot for German engineering though.
What is your dream car?
I don’t think anyone can have just one dream car, but if I had to limit myself to a two car garage I would go for a track modded 911 SC Weissach Edition for a fun car and an Audi RS2 for anything else. On the more affordable side, I would really like a E36 M3 coupe, either euro-spec or the US version with an S54 swap.
What are some of your hobbies, not relating to cars?
I'm always alternating between reading fiction and engineering books, so right now I'm working my way through Richard Morgan's "Altered Carbon" series and through Carroll Smith's "Tune to Win". I also like to play some guitar in my down time.
What have the funds from blipshift helped you accomplish?
I traveled a bit, part of which was a three-city tour in Europe (Munich, Vienna and Prague) with my then-fiancee last March. While all cities were great (Prague was especially pretty), I still see the BMW museum as the best part of the trip. Because touring car room. And the engines. And the M3 room. Another trip I took (again, partially founded by Blipshift) was to Las Vegas. Not exactly my type of city initially, but that changed a bit when I stumbled into a car expo where I saw a Lancia LC2 Le Mans racer, a couple Ford RS200s and an MG 6R4 among others. Additionally, it’s helped cover some of my moving expenses.
What's your favourite blipshift shirt?
TWBO (that will buff out), I missed out on it but I’m waiting for a return.
Any advice for fellow artists? How did you find the process overall?
I love working with the guys at Blipshift, the entire process is fun and easy and it’s always exciting to see other people appreciate your (sometimes) silly ideas. As some advice, keep it fun and don’t think too hard!
Thanks for your time Paul. Apex Everything!