There isn’t any significant entity that pulls your attention to the Chandigarh Carnival that kicked off on Friday at the Leisure Valley, Sector 10. The display is more or less the same, which also includes the vintage car rally, which has always been a part of it.
As you enter the premises of the Government Museum and Art Gallery, located right across the Leisure Valley, an exhibition of vintage cars greets you; and there is certainly something that strikes you, other than the ageless beauties on wheels. You then realise that the owners of these vintage cars are senior citizens instead of jazzy youngsters.
One such gentleman, BS Manco, 69, shares about his contribution to the popularisation of vintage cars. Says the owner of two such four-wheeled machines; “I founded a Vintage and Classic Car Club in 1990 with just 11 members and eight cars. Now, we have 20 members and 40 cars. The first rally took place in 1992, which was organised by the UT Police to celebrate traffic week. Since then, the club has been quite active. Recently, in March 2012, the longest rally took place, from Chandigarh to Palampur.”
What attracts him to these cars, says Manco, are mostly the happy memories attached to owning them in that day and age. “It was love at first sight; I saw it and fell in love. Also, it’s question of hobby. I have grown in such cars and have happy memories related to these. These represent the country’s heritage that we have maintained. So, we display these cars to educate the new generation about the evolution of the automobile industry. And we love answering interesting questions asked by the youngsters,” he says.
Emotional attachment to these cars is a sentiment that stands out. Tapesh Sharma, 61, says, “I am emotionally attached to the classic cars and remember each and every moment spent in them. Recently, when we had to drive for the rally to Palampur, every mechanic told me that it’s unsafe to go on my car. And since I was to go to Switzerland after my return from the rally, I also started fearing for my safe arrival back home. But nothing stopped me from participating in the rally, despite the fact that I faced a hard time on the way.”
It is apparent that classic they might be, the cars are no longer in a condition to be driven. And they require a lot of maintenance. Agrees Captain Charanjeet Vohra, 61, “During the summers and the rainy season, I can’t run my cars. They are usually parked in the garage for almost seven months of the year and even the batteries die. They need regular maintenance.”
When offered with such difficulties, what keeps the owners stick to their treasured possessions? “Nobody cares if the latest car passes by. But our cars are certainly head turners on the roads. From being clapped at to receiving a thumbs up on while driving, such adulation fills us with pride,” Vohra smiles.