49 vehicles steal the show at vintage car rally

For an infamously traffic-choked city that gets impatient with even a moment’s delay in movement, the busy stretch from Windsor Bridge to Freedom Park on Sunday looked like an old picture of the city. Vehicle users and passersby alike spared a minute or two, enjoying the slow moving traffic, as a bevy of vintage cars and bikes made heads turn.

Participating in the ‘'ITC Vintage and Classic Car Rally’ organised by the Karnataka Vintage and Classic Car Club, the line of yesteryear vehicles was a picture straight out of a period movie. A derby-like atmosphere took over as vintage car enthusiasts, shrugging off their lazy Sunday blues, soaked in the rare sights, wide hats and eye shades in tow.

As many as 49 vintage cars and bikes took part in the rally, which was flagged off by Home Minister K.J. George. A felicitation programme for freedom fighters and writers was also organised.

Basking in all the attention and camera flashes were the proud owners of the classic cars, who could put those regularly featured in page three columns look almost uncomfortable. But like the stars, the fame associated with being the owner of a vintage beauty comes at a price.

Like 35-year-old Clifford, who grew up going on drives in his father P.J. Joseph's 1937 Morris says, “These cars are temperamental, yet priceless. Frequent breakdowns don’t reduce the pricelessness of it.”

His father was quick to add: “One can’t depend on mechanics. We haven’t re-painted this ever, and the parts are no longer available in India. But weekly maintenance and knowledge about the car keeps it going, though we don’t take it out often.”

There are three contenders for businessman Gerard Santamaria’s car, his 1946 Citroën: his two daughters and son. As Annie, who is now in college recalls, “My dad made me believe the car belonged to the Maharaja when he used to drop us in this car to school.”

The next generation has obviously latched on to these vintage classics. Like 26-year-old Christopher N. Rodrigues, who has his own restoration garage. Making a huge shift from his commerce study background, he now cares for not just his own (or rather his father’s ) seven vintage cars, but also for the others’.

“The cost of maintenance depends on the make and condition of the car. But yes, this definitely has a future. In fact, there is more demand and less supply,” he said.

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