With a down payment of Rs. 810 and 12 equated monthly instalments of Rs 150, one could get a “touring car with self-starter” from the legendary Ford. Without self-starter, it was Rs. 740 as down payment and 12 EMIs of Rs 135. Of course, this was in 1925.

Even a bus chassis of the Dodge cost only Rs. 2,750 in 1929.The overland-4 leapt 25ft gap at Prof Parasuram Rao's Lion Circus at Esplanade, Chennai, in 1923. Chevrolet, which sold only 5005 vehicles in 1914, could manage to sell 4.8 lakh vehicles costing Rs 3,250 each in 1923. It had the courage to describe a car as “one which is made for bad roads” in 1924. All these and more on the steady progress of the auto industry are available in the section titled “Motoring Through the HINDU Archives,” which is part of the three-day The Hindu Auto Expo 2011, powered by SBI Car Loan, which opened at the Chennai Trade Centre, Nandambakkam, here on Friday. Declared open by MRF Chairman and Managing Director K.M. Mammen, it will prove to be an unforgettable experience for auto buffs.

From the aam aadmi's Nano to the luxury Porsche costing Rs 1.3 crore, from the vintage Plymouth of 1935 and Fiat of 1936 to the latest from the stables of a dozen top Indian, German, Korean, Japanese and American automakers in the world are on display at the expo. Several of the models on offer are sedans and priced upwards of Rs 30 lakh.

While Tata Motors has models like Linea, Punto, Grande Gx, Manza, Aria, Indigo-ECS, Vista Zx and Manza Elan, Toyota is displaying Liva Hatch VX and Etios Sedan VX, Volkswagen Vento, Jetta, and Polo. While Korean manufacturer Hyundai has showcased EON Era, EON Sports and I 1O Newgen Magna (Kappa2), Nissan has put up Micra, 370 Z, and Sunny on show. Audi has displayed A-6 and Q5,Skoda has Laura and Fabia,Ford has Endeavour, New Fiesta and Figo Titanium and Renault has Fluence and Koleos. BMW has showcased X1, X3 and GT and Honda has Brio VMT, and City VMT.

In addition, Hyousung Bike GT 650 N,GT 650 R and ST 7 are on display.

The vintage section of the expo , supported by the Madras Heritage Motoring Club, displays models like Austin Chummy (1926) , Bug Fiat 500 A (1935), Rover (1947), Bug 8 (1947), Austin 8 (1947), Morris Minor (1951), Fiat Toplino (1952), MG (1953), Studebaker (1957), Jaguar (1966), and a Morris 1000.

About half a dozen stalls have been put for the accessories of the best brands also. The SBI has deputed a strong contingent to attend to the loan requirements immediately as spot booking is on for most of the vehicles on display except the Porsche.