This 1935 Austin is not all it seems to be. It's a secret that's well concealed, but this car is a Dolphin at heart

This 1935 Austin has been divested of what would really make it a 1935 Austin. An engine made for a Dolphin has usurped the original's place. The vents on the bonnet which once let the air in, providing the original 1125cc, 10hp ,four-cylinder side-valve engine (now securely locked away in an attic) relief from heat, have been closed. The wooden platform has been edged out by a metal replacement. But Dhanasekhar does not care two pence about the car's originality and winning the concours d'elegance at a vintage rally is as removed from his list of ambitions as sun from earth. He only expects the car to ferry him from point A to point B through gushing city traffic without much ado, and occasionally strike an aesthetically pleasing pose for the camera. Because he runs a garage, the man has been able to prepare the car for city-driving conditions and the screen without much expenditure. The 71-year-old has been lucky to have co-starred with a bevy of celluloid beauties. Dhanasekhar's son Ganesh, who `chaperones' the car on shoots, reads out a list of scintillating performances. In Ghajini, Asin rests a foot on the car's front bumper even as she launches into a cheerful song. It has done a more intimate scene with Simran. The actress perches herself on its bonnet during a song in New. It exchanged glances with Kiran, during the making of Diwan. It is sharing a frame with Aishwarya in Guru, yet to be released. This four-door likes to travel. Last year, it chilled out in Munnar, having gone there for a Santosh Sivan film. It knows its limitations, and therefore does not take slights to heart. It was given a left-handed compliment in `Kundaka, Mandaka'. Comedian Vadivelu takes a shine to the car and bids for it. His nemesis-in-films Parthiban joins in the bidding and raises the amount. At the end of the auction, an upset Vadivelu shells out 6 lakh rupees. The implied line: "only a duffer will pay so much for such a car". Any vintage car lover who is a stickler for originality, will agree with that conclusion. PRINCE FREDERICK

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