En­deav­our: Fizza Shab­bar

A young woman from La­hore makes her dream come true.

Slogan - - FRONT PAGE - By Faizan Us­mani

Can you name the car that won the first prize in Pak­Wheels La­hore Auto Show, Pak­istan’s big­gest car ex­hi­bi­tion, held on March 22, 2015? It was won by a home­made car, solely de­signed and pro­duced by Fizza Shab­bar, a fine arts grad­u­ate from An­ju­man-e-Hi­may­ate-Is­lam Col­lege in La­hore. She con­verted a Vespa scooter into a mo­tor car sin­gle-hand­edly. Turn­ing a 2-wheeled scooter into a 4 wheeler was an in­no­va­tive idea, pri­mar­ily con­ceived by Fizza to re­lieve the grief of her lost brother, a car en­thu­si­ast, who died ow­ing to a brief ill­ness in 2011.

Cre­ated out of used ma­te­ri­als and old parts of a Vespa, Fizza Shab­bar took the chal­lenge of as­sem­bling a home­made car de­spite the lack of sup­port and mo­ti­va­tion from her fam­ily. Most of her rel­a­tives and friends had re­jected her ideas as be­ing too weird and dif­fi­cult to im­ple­ment, par­tic­u­larly for a woman like Fizza with no auto en­gi­neer­ing back­ground what­so­ever.

Says Fizza, “Of course, things were not favourable and sup­port­ive in the very be­gin­ning when I de­cided to make a car on my own by reusing old en­gine and auto parts. Con­sid­er­ing that great ideas are al­ways re­jected at the start for be­ing im­prac­ti­cal, I didn’t look back and kept work­ing on mak­ing a dream car with very lim­ited fi­nan­cial re­sources and auto as­sem­bling skills. By the grace of God Almighty, to­day I have achieved what I strived for.”

Cre­ated out of a re­cy­cling pas­sion, Fizza’s con­trap­tion hap­pens to be quite a task from its in­cep­tion to fi­nal com­ple­tion, break­ing the stereo­type of a male-dom­i­nant so­ci­ety where no­body ex­pects a woman to de­sign a car and bring it on the road. In ad­di­tion, the idea of us­ing a Vespa en­gine to make a 4-wheeled au­to­mo­bile is out of the or­di­nary, but cre­ative peo­ple like Fizza love pro­duc­ing dif­fer­ent things by us­ing re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als. Since her child­hood, she has been pas­sion­ate about find­ing con­nec­tions be­tween dif­fer­ent ob­jects and this is what is now help­ing her move for­ward.

“To be very hon­est, I don’t be­lieve in be­ing con­fined to rou­tine meth­ods and old tech­niques as we al­ways need new, out of the box ideas to cre­ate won­ders. There­fore, I al­ways try to use new tech­niques and ma­te­ri­als, be­cause this is the best way to dis­cover the hid­den po­ten­tial of var­i­ous ma­te­ri­als and com­po­nents,” she says.

As­sem­bled in the shape of a low-bud­geted, beau­ti­ful small car, her Vespa cre­ation has ev­ery­thing to fas­ci­nate lo­cal automotive fans. For in­stance, it’s an en­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly car, adding no more noise or smoke to an al­ready pol­luted en­vi­ron­ment. De­spite the fact that a scooter’s cen­tre of grav­ity is to­tally dif­fer­ent than that of a 4-wheeled au­to­mo­bile, the car runs quite smoothly on mo­tor­bike wheels through its auto load bal­anc­ing fea­ture skill­fully con­fig­ured in terms of cen­ter of grav­ity.

Start­ing from solder­ing, me­tal-join­ing and weld­ing, etc., Fizza took charge of the en­tire fab­ri­ca­tion process her­self - a daunt­ing task, es­pe­cially when it comes to con­vert­ing the frame struc­ture of an open ve­hi­cle into a closed one. She added two front tyres and also crafted a canopy made out of iron sheets, of­fer­ing a greater sense of style and com­fort. With lim­ited money, un­favourable work­ing con­di­tions and time re­stric­tions, it took her al­most 4 years to com­plete the car and the whole pro­ject came out to be a ‘one-woman show’ at the end of the day.

Due to its com­mer­cial vi­a­bil­ity and lo­cal com­mut­ing needs, Fizza’s re­cy­cled mas­ter­work has also at­tracted prospec­tive in­vestors and auto com­pa­nies in Pak­istan, where lo­cal com­muters are al­ways look­ing for af­ford­able trans­port. Cur­rently work­ing as a cu­ra­tor at the Nairang Art Gallery in La­hore, Fizza is pur­su­ing her car-mak­ing dream in her spare time. She has now started work­ing on another car for which she will again use a mo­tor­cy­cle en­gine.

“We can never es­cape prob­lems, ex­ter­nal chal­lenges and in­tim­i­dat­ing con­cerns while fol­low­ing dreams, but a per­son like me loves work­ing in rather dif­fi­cult and de-mo­ti­vat­ing con­di­tions as it helps me take it as a chal­lenge,” she says.

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