Museums are supposed to be quiet and foreboding. Understanding the past is supposed to be an arduous process. Yet, as machines from another era rolled out one after the other at The Hindu Chennai-Pondy Heritage Car Rally on Saturday, a crowd of onlookers cheered and whistled as they watched history drive by.

Nearly 40 vintage cars participated in the event which was organised in association with Puducherry Tourism and Madras Heritage Motoring Club. “Look at the rear wheel spokes of that car,” exclaimed an onlooker. Every little innovation in the illustrious history of automotive engineering was observed, enjoyed and shared.

The procession of cars encapsulated a timeline that stretched all the way back to 1927. While the 1927 Austin was the oldest car in the fray, other vehicles such as the Bug Fiat and the Hindustan 14, one of the oldest cars made in India, also received much attention. Yuri Sysoyev, a Russian national working here, said “These vehicles have been crafted with love and experience. Since I have an engineering background, I can see the magnificence behind the revving engines. ”

A notable number of Army jeeps also took part. Maya Ganesh was at ease behind the wheels of a World-War-II-era Willys jeep. “Hidden from the eyes of the visitors is effort that goes in to keep these cars running. Sourcing spare parts is a huge issue. I had to handcraft a replacement for the jeep's faulty brake drum yesterday just to participate in the rally,” she said. Director-General of Police Letika Saran flagged off the rally. The event is likely to become an annual affair.