An American dream comes true for brothers Sri Kumar and Jai Kumar
Following World War II, Windsor was the car of choice for most cost-conscious Chrysler buyers. It was a time when automobile majors were careful not to price themselves out of the market. And the six-cylinder Chrysler Windsor came with an attractive price tag.
For Sri Kumar and Jai Kumar though, the dream of owning a Windsor Chrysler proved expensive. But then, they bought their Windsor in 2008. A 1946 model, this car had been subjected to nearly four decades of neglect. After the previous owner died suddenly in 1973, the car lay entombed in a garage, gathering dust and rust for 35 years. In 2008, when Sri Kumar opened the creaking doors of the garage, he was greeted with an unforgettable sight. “A thick layer of dust and sand, accumulated over the garage floor, reached up to the car’s running board,” he says.
The majority of Chryslers, immediately following WWII, were known for their rock-solid bodies and Windsor was one of them. The two brothers found this out the hard way: Following a failed attempt to pull the Windsor out with a crane, a bigger crane was brought in to finish the job. Now, you see, in the making of Windsor, durability and functionality were given prominent positions and aesthetics, the backseat.
After the car was taken out, Sri Kumar proceeded to inspect it. He opened the glove compartment to discover a sheaf of documents and bills, including one from the last service done by Super Service. Who cares for the old service records of a car that is a pathetic non-runner? To his delight, Sri Kumar found out that the Windsor was not bereft of any parts; only that most of them were unusable.
Servicing these parts would take some doing, but the brothers considered themselves equal to the task. They had grown up on Indian classics such as the Hindustan 14, but the new challenge of restoring an American car excited them. And then, diehard antique car collectors, which they are, love to work on a car that offers some resistance. It took a laundry list of repairs and improvements over four years, including engine re-boring work and six- to twelve-volts electrical conversion, for the car to be back on the road. And the brothers now enjoy driving the Windsor. Sometimes, just for its fluid drive. (All through the 1940s, Chryslers came with this feature). On city roads, anything that leads to minimal use of the clutch is a boon.