Paulo Khise’s garage builds and modifies cars. Working on cars ranging from Fuscas (VW Beetles) and Hot Rods to a V12 Drift car, if you want more power, Paulo’s the guy to go to. But here’s the thing. Paulo has never received an education in mechanics. In fact, his last company specialized in painting epoxy floors for garages. Everything he knows about cars, he taught himself.
Paulo got his start in cars when he was 16. Inspired by the illegal street races in Sao Paulo, he bought a Chevy 500. Unfortunately, the Chevy 500 had a motor that actively fought motion – not exactly ideal if you want to burn down the streets. So Paulo began watching his mechanic friends to learn how to replace parts.
As his motor skills increased, he upgraded more and more parts in the Chevy. Pretty soon, the car was so enthusiastic about life that he would stun people off the line at stop lights. However, he outgrew the Chevy and moved onto his next project – a 500 horsepower turbocharged Volkswagen. He would hunt Supercars on the street with the Volkswagen and took photos of some of the cars he chased down (notably including a Ferrari F40).
The intervening years saw two other cars go under Paulo’s knife – each turning into a faster machine while giving Paulo practice. Pretty soon, he began making a name for himself with his crazy builds. Couple that with the shop owners and journalists he met through is epoxy flooring business, and it makes sense that people began coming to him for repair help and modification advice.
So when the 2015 Brazilian recession took his company with it, did the logical thing and opened a automotive shop of his own. Still self-taught, he consults numerous books, forums and his friends before doing a new modification or repair. He even has retained his passion for outrageous modifications, trading one of his completed project cars for a Mercedes S600 with a V12 engine.
But despite building and upgrading all aspects of his client’s cars, his focus is still on the motor. For example, he’s converting the Mercedes S600 into a drift car. In order to do so he’s divorced the motor from the Mercedes Car Computer, replaced the electric actuated throttle bodies with cable driven ones and mated an ECU-Tek computer to it. While a cranky fuel injector has been dogging his build, he was happy to fire up the motor to demonstrate how much power it is putting down.
So what’s Paulo’s secret?
Passion. It sounds cheesy, but the common theme in all of his builds is the engine work he does. The motor is the part of the car that fascinates him the most, so it made learning about how to replace parts, modify and upgrade the motor relatively easy. Since motors don’t exist in isolation, he began to learn about how to modify other parts of the car.
And I think that’s what is amazing about his path. He never received an education past high school, but because he loved to learn about cars he was able to create his own business out of it. In Paulo’s own words – “I could easily do this for free. I just have bills to pay.”