My 1939-Mercedes draws more attention on road than a new one,” says vintage car connoisseur Pradeep V Naik. “So, why should I go for a new model?” And this is true of every vintage car-owner in the country — mileage or pick-up can go for a hike — but it’s the pride of owning these classy models that makes people want to possess vintage cars.
“These cars make you realise how aesthetically superior the car-makers were then,” says KTS Tulsi, president of the Heritage Motoring Club of India (HMCI). “My Super 8 Packard can still give my BMWs a run for its money; the vintage still performs well,” adds Tulsi, who is the proud owner of a 1939-Austin — the one that the Nawab of Lucknow had got for his daughter on her birthday.
Though everyone may agree to their beauty, owning a vintage has always been perceived as rich-man’s hobby. “It’s actually about the passion and not how rich one is,” says SB Jatti, vice-president of HMCI.
But how interested is the young generation actually? “Sports cars like Jaguar XK or a Ford Mustang are hugely in demand,” says Jatti. And he’s not wrong. “I was fascinated the day I saw the Mustang at a rally, and would really want to have one someday,” says banker Prateek Sengupta.
And even though many would want one, not everyone knows how to go about it. “Websites and auto magazines are for the starters,” says Naik, whose fleet of cars has recently been used by film-maker Ashutosh Gowariker in a period film. Or else, “Just go and ask whether it’s up for sale,” adds Jatti.
Rolls Royce cars are the most sought-after among all vintage cars. Austins, Fords and Packards are also in demand.
The HMCI National Autojumble, an annual event, is a great place to look up for vintage cars. Parts are also on offer.
Even two-wheelers like the Lambretta and Vespa are also sought after. A car can cost anything between R1.5 to R12 lakhs