Car aficionado Reph Bangsil has owned and driven different cars and SUVs more than any average person in his or her lifetime. Since he got his student driver’s license at age 16, he must have driven over 50 cars—he had lost count!—20 of which he owned.
This makes the 26-year-old enthusiast, racer, reviewer and dealer a credible source for anything cars. He so far has 11,000 followers on TikTok—he just started posting car-related content in March. His fanbase on Facebook is 26,000-strong and he has 19,000 subscribers on YouTube.
But let’s not get lost on the numbers. Reph projects a friendly, nice guy vibe, and he also has cred. He used to be a host/car reviewer for online automotive platform Philkotse before he decided to strike it on his own—put up his auto dealership biz, Reph Motors, and create social media channels where he can share his expertise.
The guy has been a motorhead ever since he was young. His interest was born from playing and collecting toy cars but the fascination grew with the Need for Speed, Fast & Furious, and Gran Turismo car racing video games. “Ever since I was a kid, susi [ng kotse] na ang hawak ko,” he tells ANCX.
The first time he ever drove a car was at age 16, when he got his student’s license. “Talagang inantay ko ang day na makakuha ako ng student’s license,” he says as if reliving that long, arduous wait.
Owner-type jeep as first car
Reph’s first car, however, wasn’t exactly a car. It was an owner-type jeep.
“I don’t know why my parents gave me a jeep, when they can get me a car,” he says. “Siguro takot silang mabangga ako.” Well, it was actually a pretty cool jeep, he would later realize. It had air conditioning and it was automatic. He got it when he was in third year high school.
After five months, Reph sold the jeep so he could get himself a proper car—a 1995 Toyota Crown, which he got in 2012. “Being in college, I really didn’t have much of a budget, so I looked for a car that fit that budget. I was able to get a Toyota Corolla myself at P55,000,” he shares. “It’s not one of those cars na alam mong pag pinaandar mo titirik sya. After I spent about P15,000 on it, it was as reliable as it could be.”
He used the Crown for a couple of “very eventful” years. It was with that car that he experienced his first road trip, his first drive to Pampanga, to SLEX and NLEX. It was also with that car that he experienced how an engine can overheat. He liked that car except it gobbled up a lot of gas, which was why he decided to eventually give it up. “It wasn’t practical for a teenager like me,” he says, looking back.
Among Reph’s other early cars were a 2009 Toyota Vios 1.3E MT (in 2012), a 2013 Toyota Vios 1.3 (in 2014), and a 1974 Volkswagen Beetle (in 2016). Through the years, he developed the skill, experience and passion in fixing and selling cars, which led to starting his own auto dealership biz three years ago, and reviewing cars for Philkotse from March 2020 to March 2021.
The car enthusiast admits that the reason he switches cars more often than most people is because he’s impatient. “As much as possible, I want to experience everything that I want in the shortest amount of time,” he says. This includes trying out the cars he finds fascinating. “Minsan gusto ko ng classic Euro car, classic Japanese car, modern Japanese car, 4 x 4. It’s a lot talaga. And that’s why I try my best to experience all of them.”
There’s also the thrill of learning and exploring different vehicles, especially those used by generations past. “Siguro it’s the old soul in me, na I’d like to ride vehicles that our parents or grandparents used to drive and have personal attachment with.”
He has, however, slowed down over the last couple of years. “There were years when I bought four to six cars in just a year! But in the past two years, I’ve had mga five cars lang.” He says restoring cars can also get tiring. “I just want to have one that I could use reliably every day.”
The best car
After gaining a wealth of experience on different rides, Reph says he’s now drawn to more iconic models—“cars that look really beautiful and cool.” But comfort, reliability, power and fuel mileage remain top considerations.
“I want my next few cars to be models that I really want, saved for, and dreamed of having,” he says. “If you go for something that you really like kasi, kahit magkaproblema ang kotse or magka-aberya, it will always be worth it to you, because you know that you wanted it.”
He has driven many of the older, classic cars in the past so for his next ones, he’s eyeing the more modern vehicles like the Mazda MX-5 (ND). “I had the first gen of that car and it’s become a collectible na. It’s a two-door kind of British na roadster and that one is a bit expensive na these days so I’m planning to reward myself with that.”
He’s also keen to have a 2013 BMW F30 sedan and a 2019 Toyota Supra which falls under the supercar category. In terms of pickups and SUVs, he’s happy so far with his still brand new Nissan Navara. “I think okay na ako with that for the long haul. It does the job,” he says. As they say to every car enthusiast: Famous last words.
Photos courtesy of Reph Bangsil