Cars of various makes and models right from 1927 to 1975 were lined up on Elliot’s Beach
Great-looking vintage cars aren’t just long, sleek and stylish. Their elegance is also reminiscent of a charmed age. On Saturday morning, nearly 54 classic cars made heads turn at Elliot’s beach in Besant Nagar, as they were readied for a drive along the ECR, as part of the 2014 edition of The Hindu Chennai-Pondy Heritage Rally. “This is the thrill of real motoring. Every car in that era was hand-made, hence unique,” said Ram Pradeep, a city-based doctor who owns five vintage cars.
Visitors flocked to get their pictures clicked with the heritage cars, even as their owners, many accompanied by their mechanics, flaunted their restored spares. The cars on display included models of Chrysler Town, Packard Clipper, Ford Prefect, Ford Anglia, MGB, MG-TD, Morris Z Van, Morris 1000, Jaguar SS, Austin Cambridge, Austin Chummy, Dodge Kingsway, Mercedes SL6 and Riley.
Collecting vintage cars is an expensive hobby, said Balraj Vasudevan, president, Madras Heritage Motoring Club. “Restoring the cars after they have been dumped in a corner is very challenging. But buying, and restoring vintage cars is an addiction,” he added.
Organised by The Hindu along with the Puducherry Tourism department and Madras Heritage Motoring Club, the event’s fifth edition kicked off from Chennai with 61 cars, though only 54 made the 160-kilometre drive to Puducherry. The rally has grown in strength from only 25 cars in the first edition, said Mr. Vasudevan.
Cars of various makes and models right from 1927 to 1975 were lined up as part of the rally. They will return to Chennai at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning. One could spot coupes, jeeps, quaint horns, leather seats and sleek steering wheels.
According to Kylas Swaminathan, secretary of Madras Heritage Motoring Club, the rally, a drive to Puducherry, was a true test of endurance. “With no power steering, AC or auto transmission, the drive should be interesting. The handling of these cars is not very difficult, proving that cars made decades ago can very well compete with contemporary motors.”