Ramadas spent his retirement benefits on a 1959 Fiat Select, a decision he has never regretted

The rattles and creaks of a weather-beaten 1959 Fiat Select, as it slid through his gates, were celestial music to T. Ramadas' ears.

This happened in 2004, and it was a fulfilment of a 44-year-old dream. In 1960, Ramadas came to Madras — after clearing SSLC in Trivandrum — for higher studies and stayed with his uncle L.S. Mani, who had a Fiat Select that was run as a taxi. Ramadas' chores included washing the car clean. “While I did this day in and day out, the Fiat seemed to have got into my skin. I consider Fiat Select ‘the car'! No other four-wheeler interests me so much.”

Ramadas could not buy one, until 2004, when he retired as assistant postmaster (from GPO, Chennai – 1), and part of the retirement benefits went towards the purchase of a 1959 Fiat Select, advertised in a newspaper. “I could have bought a modern car, but that would have appealed to my mind, not my heart.”

What is interesting is that Ramadas can't drive and relies on drivers to take him around in the Fiat. He has travelled by this Fiat to Thiruvannamalai, Melmaruvathur and Bangalore. Hike in petrol prices has become a deterrent to taking long journeys.

Among the signs of intermittent usage is a tight steering. But an overhauled braking system proves 67-year-old Ramadas is not going to give up on this ‘dream machine'.