Many youngsters in the city go that extra mile to customise their wheels. Auto shows, an integral part of techno-cultural festivals conducted by engineering colleges, have become a pit stop for those striving to be in top gear. Hari Shanker R. has the details

Auto shows have always been a major attraction for car and bike lovers in the city. Over the years, the shows have grown to include more exotic vehicles for discerning enthusiasts. During the past week, automobile enthusiasts in the city were in for a treat thanks to different auto shows that were held simultaneously. ‘Full Throttle’ by Government Engineering College, Barton Hill and ‘Offroadz’ by Mar Baselios College of Engineering and Technology were the key events that shared the limelight, with their exquisite collection of automobiles drawing huge crowds.

The showstoppers

Imported cars were showstoppers at both events. “We have tried to include an extensive array of unique cars,” says Aby M. Philip, one of the coordinators of Offroadz. “Some of the cars that we have on display include the Porsche Cayenne, Audi A7 Sportsline and the Mini Cooper Mayfair (Convertible),” he adds. A Formula 3 racing car on display was the highlight at Full Throttle. “This modified Formula 3 car uses an Opel engine which helps it attain very high speeds on the circuit,” says Anandhu S.B., the Technical Coordinator of Full Throttle. The car belongs to JA Motorsport, a Coimbatore based racing company. “Formula 3 cars are similar to their Formula One counter parts in terms of the ‘open-wheel’ design. This car uses a unique ‘monocoque’ (shell-like) design along with smooth tyres and aerodynamic wings, to facilitate better speeds,” says Vignesh R., an official from JA Motorsport. Full Throttle also had a set of exquisite, imported cars like the Jaguar XF. Apart from imported cars, both events also had a fair share of vintage vehicles as well. Both Offroadz and Full Throttle had the classic Volkswagen Beetle, dating back to the early ‘60s, on display. There were also other vehicles including the Willys Jeep and older editions of the Ambassador too.

Riding high

Bike lovers also had their field day with several exquisite and imported bikes made available for display at the events. Various Harley Davidson bikes on display at both events drew a lot of attention from participants. “The Harley Davidson bikes were made available by the Trivandrum Chapter of the Harley Owners Group,” says Aby. The various Harley Davidson bikes included the famous ‘Fat Boy’, the ‘48’, and ‘Low Riders’. Expensive sport bikes such as the Ducati 848 Evo, the Yamaha R1, Honda CBR 600, BMW 650 and the Fazer 1000 were also on display at Offroadz. How did the coordinators manage to bring such a unique collection of vehicles under one roof, one wonders.

“Even we were surprised to know that our city had its collection of unique automobiles,” says Aby. “When we approached vehicle owners, asking for permission to display their vehicles at our events, they were more than happy to agree,” he adds. Suprasanth S.P., a member of the Harley Owners Group, agrees. “We share a close relationship with our beasts, something that keeps us moving forward. It brings us joy to share our passion with the world,” he adds.

Wheels on the ramp

Another highlight of both events was the competition to find the best modified vehicle. While Offroadz had separate competitions for both cars and bikes, Full Throttle’s competition section was for bikes alone. The competition offered viewers several creative modified models of normal cars and bikes, mostly with exquisite paint jobs done. Bike modifications stole the show at both festivals. From incorporating comics to funky custom-designs, the festivals offered a wide variety of bikes with paint job modifications, with some of them vying with even sports bikes in terms of looks.

“Modifying bikes is an art in itself,” says Christy K., a professional bike modification artiste and one of the participants in Full Throttle. According to him, the job is not as easy as it seems and could take up to 48 hours at a stretch. “Paint-job modifications cost anywhere between Rs. 8,000 and 60,000 depending on the extent of the job,” he mentions. Christy maintains his own design studio for paint-job modifications alone. “The process is arduous. The designs are first prepared in the computer, and using custom apparatus, they are painted on to the bike,” he explains.

And music too for roadies

Both festivals included several new additions over their previous editions. In fact, Offroadz had a rather unique competition to find out the best music system in cars – an event which had several takers. “Auto shows are the only avenues for us average citizens to have a look and feel of exquisite automobiles,” says Rajeev Mathew, an automobile enthusiast. “The current edition of the festival offered variety in terms of modified vehicles. That said, I feel the organisers could include a larger variety of vehicles in further editions,” he says.