The Beautiful Roads That We Chose

Knotty Nawadhinsukh Words by Knotty Nawadhinsukh


Adulthood is tough. Because for many, what you have a passion for when you were young may not turn out to be something that you could figure out how to make a living out of when you have to grow up. While some have been able to earn enough after a while or have done something that would be totally disruptive, in order to get back to what they always wanted to do instead, there are those that found a way of combining what came naturally to them and pay the bills with it almost immediately.

One of the shots of the Ferrari F430 Scuderia from "Speed of Light"
One of Pasin's earlier works as a photographer included this ex-Plaek Pibulsonggram (former Prime Minister of Thailand) Bentley R Type Hooper


Pasin or “Tamm” Auttayatamavitaya, the Thai Film Director at Tritonfilm sounds like one of those people. A passionate vintage car fan since he was able to spell out names of cars even before he could grasp the English alphabets, Tamm had been able to mesh his talent in capturing images with his beloved Mercedes-Benz 220S “Fintail”, although he did not realised his knack for photography until late in his teens. “I wanted to be a musician while I went to high school in Switzerland, everyone knew that it is a beautiful country and I wanted to share that with my family so I began to photographs what I see”. He went on, “I even made some money out of it by selling copyrights to my pictures, that’s when I realised I better make a living out of this than playing music.  I am very proud to say that it all happened when I was 17 and I rely on my own since then. Moving back to Bangkok I have turned myself into a fashion photographer for 7 years and for the last three years I have been working as a film director”. Barely out of his teens Tamm pursued a move that enabled him to acquire his real pursuit, “When I was 20 I wrote a book called ‘Speed of Light’ which was a three hundred something pages of pure technical skills concerning photographic lighting. The cover of the book featured a model posing with a Ferrari and when you are a car guy, you do not want to have just any Ferrari on the cover of your book. So it was the F430 Scuderia, one of the first on the road back then”. He added, “I forgot to tell you that I also started teaching about Lights when I was 18. The book once reached Thailand’s top 10 for a few days and was published twice, I took all the money I earned from that book to pay for my first car, a 1964 Mercedes-Benz 220S”.


The appreciation for anything vintage is not a trait that one would expect from a twenty-something like Tamm. But once he explained very elaborately it became abundantly clear, “I grew up when my parents are trying hard to make a better living for us all. My father who had a small fortune but a big dream would pointed out cars on the road. He would tell me how to differentiate taillights and badges of different cars.  I remembered vividly the day he told me, ‘that’s a Fintail Mercedes, can you see the fins on its back?’ That was a love at first sight and I wanted one. The car was parking in front of the barber shop in Phuket and we would go there twice a month. As a five-year-old, I never liked sitting still while getting my hair cut, but the glimpse of that Fintail made it all worth it. Later on mom got an E-Class which I learned to drive in and dad bought very big S-Class that came with so many buttons and self-closing doors. Still, I could not think about anything else except owning that Fintail someday and I did”. The process though took a while, “I looked all over for the right one until I found this example in maroon and all original red interior. The car came with bad suspension, leaking radiator, a non-original old Mercedes diesel engine and an aftermarket air-conditioner that doesn’t really work. Out of the five cars I have found, this one was the biggest headache but somehow it felt so right and I could see that we were going to be a great travel companion. So I bought the car, fixed everything up and drove it as much as I could and we have travelled all over ever since”.  Tamm’s companionship with the Fintail eventually received worldwide recognition through social media, “the car is loved by many people all over the world where they see the pictures of our adventure via my Instagram (@tamm.pasin). It even featured so many times on the Mercedes-Benz official account. Once I got to take over their account for a whole day, posting pictures of my car. But that wasn’t the point, I didn’t start doing this to seek fame since my Fintail already gave me so much more than fame and fortune”.


Such a relationship with his Mercedes eventually led to offers to show his craft in filmmaking, “I have a great memory working on last year’s campaign for Thailand Authority of Tourism. It was a big campaign that consisted of filming at magnificent places around Thailand. The other one was a little movie I did for Mercedes-Benz Thailand. We made an 18-day round the country road trip with two generations of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class: a modern day S500e and my 220S from the Sixties. We covered over 8,000km during the trip, meeting all generations of Mercedes-Benz S-Class from the Fintail onward to a modern day one. We got to meet their owners and hear their stories with their cars. To me, both trips were my ultimate ‘grand touring’ so far”.


With all the experience Tamm received in relatively few short years—in both classic car ownership and directing—it is refreshing to see him that he is still much grounded, “I am always influenced by people I grew up with. My family for instance, the way they strive for nothing but the best.  Also I want to say that people who I worked with also have a big impact on me. At Tritonfilm we make a lot of cars commercials here and they have taught me a lot about how to see cars in a different way. I have learned how to work hard and stay humble because of them”. So what would be the next step then?  Like making his choice in his profession, he was eager to reply, “There is always a chance to see so many interesting cars at Tritonfilm.  Sometimes we got to work on car commercials featuring an entirely new model, fresh out of the production lines and never before seen by the public. You know, the ones that we always see as spy shots where they put some funky covers on the car to hide its appearance.  I just like the way you get to know new cars with your own eyes rather than a photograph taken by someone else. I wished to get a chance to do that someday for Mercedes-Benz”. And if you do, then what are you going to do with money? “I think it is very obvious here, if I happened to have made it someday. It has to be the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster (W198) in DB172 Anthracite Grey Metallic with Red interior, isn’t that what dreams are made of?”

That is the beauty of choices. You only had to make one so that it can completely change your entire life.