Neither age nor rapid technological advancement can make an automobile outdated. A few surviving models, which still retain that gleam on the tyre rim and a pulsating engine, can represent a bygone era and therein lies the charm of heritage cars.
That was the sentiment conveyed by those at the flagging off of an impressive line of 32 vintage and classic cars, from an Austin to a Plymouth, here on Saturday at the ‘Preserve Our Heritage Rally 2010’ jointly organised by the Madras Heritage Motoring Club, Tamilnadu Tourism Development Corporation and Puducherry Tourism Development Corporation.
The oldest car in the rally, a 1927 Austin 7 Chummy, truly belonged to another era and showed how much the automobile industry has progressed since the early days when rickety vehicles were piloted more by dreams than gasoline.
After the flag off, all the cars proceeded towards Puducherry with three stopovers on the way.
“Owning a heritage car is like collecting stamps,” said V.Vekatesh, who had come to see the line-up of cars. “It is difficult to explain to someone who has never owned it. Love for the machine is there in the blood of some people.”
He added that though he could never afford to own one of the vehicles, just seeing the expansive chassis designs and hearing the pulse of the rumbling engines at least during such rallies was worth it.
“I saw a line of heritage cars in Chepauk last month and came just to have another glimpse,” said Dinesh Ramalingam, another onlooker at the function organised at Prarthana Drive-in Theatre on East Coast Road.
Chief Secretary K.S. Sripathi, who flagged off the rally, said “Vintage cars allow common people to understand the value of heritage. We have come a long way from the gas guzzlers of the past to the clean fuel technologies of today. Our collective past has a lot of lessons from which we can learn.”
Tourism Secretary V.Irai Anbu and Tamilnadu Tourism Development Corporation Managing Director A.C. Mohandoss spoke.