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Want to be king for a day?

india Updated: Mar 19, 2010 13:45 IST
Sneha Mahale
Sneha Mahale
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

If you love the vintage or designer look but hate the price tag, this one’s just for you. High-end luxury products including designer bags, vintage cars and even a yacht can now be yours. At your disposal for a few hours and without leaving too-deep-a-hole in the wallet, these ‘hire options’ make for a truly entertaining, challenging and ultimately fulfilling luxury experience. Old-time hire is a popular idea for people, who enjoy the ‘good life’ but can’t afford it .

Ride in style
City club offers vintage cars on hire. It was circa 1900 when the first car came to India. Within 10 years, there were several thousand vehicles, driven by the many Maharajas, princes, industrialists and philanthropists in the country. Now, more than a century later, you too can be king for a day as several of these vintage cars are being let out on hire.

In the club
Enter Vintage and Classic Car Club of India (VCCCI). Pranlal Bhogilal founded this Fort-based club with the objective of preserving the rich heritage of cars in the country. Incidentally, Bhogilal owns the largest collection of vintage cars in India.

All vintage classic cars owners from across the country are eligible to become members. The club also helps its current 158 members with restoration of their vehicles and sourcing spares. Apart from these services, the club also helps the public hire some of the vehicles under its purview.

Nitin Dosa, honorary secretary of VCCCI, who lets out his own vintage cars, says, “We are aware that several people would like to ride on a vintage car as it is something special. And there are only that many vintage cars in the city. So we thought we’d rent out a few so that others too could enjoy the experience.”

Once the club is approached with a request to hire the car, they immediately circulate the caller’s details to the club members. Those interested in letting their car out can get in touch with caller. Dosa says, “ We do a thorough background check. Also, members have the right to refuse the request or require more information from the caller before agreeing.”

While film shootings are mostly frowned upon, weddings are looked at more favourably. Dosa recalls how he once turned down a film production company, as they wanted to suspend the car as part of the shoot.

The distance the car has to travel matters too. “I was once approached by a woman who wanted to drive the car from Borivli to Juhu. I turned it down as I wasn’t sure that the car could handle the journey,” says Dosa. He also feels that it isn’t worth taking such a risk as it could damage the car and risk upsetting the clients if the vehicle breaks down mid-journey. He says, “Also, it is very difficult to source spare parts in case things go wrong. It just isn’t worth it.”

The club offers several types of vintage cars on hire including Rolls Royce, Bentley, Mercedes, Buick, Packard, Ford, Morris, Chrysler and Dodge. The cost varies according to the car, number of hours and the occasion.

Apart from this club, there are also several people who let out their personal vehicles. And some are not even from the city. Chennai’s Tanvi Karnik is one among them. She says, “I am happy to let people in Mumbai use my Bentley so long as they are willing to bear the truck charges from Chennai to Mumbai.” This apart, the client also has to agree to take care of the car and ensure that it returns in the same condition.

Facts Straight
Most people get confused between a vintage and a classic car. A vintage car is commonly defined as a car built between the start of 1919 and the end of 1930. A classic car is a term used to describe an older car, but the exact meaning is debatable. The Classic Car Club of America, maintain that a classic car is one that is 20 45 years old (over 45 years fall into the antique class).

Vintage and classic cars include:
Ferrari
Rolls Royce
Buick
Vauxhall
Alvis
Cadillac and De Soto
Jaguar
Lincoln
Ford
Morris Eight Mercedes
Pontiac
TVR
Chrysler
Dodge

Out at sea

No boat? No problem! Just rent one from a private yacht club.

Despite paying insane rents to live near the sea, only a few have the luxury to access it. Club Privada has changed that. A private membership yacht club, which also has charter cruises, Privada has helped many wannabe sailors fulfill their dreams. “When you’re on our boat, it’s really about you,” says Karan Valecha, whose family owns the club.

The yearly memberships are on a time-share basis with Valecha designing special programmes to suit your needs. Non-members can also take the boats out for chartered cruises like the sunrise cruise, where you might be lucky enough to spot dolphins. It lasts for about two to four hours and costs anywhere between Rs 30,000- 50,000. The sunset cruise is favoured by young couples and corporates and has a similar cost structure. If you don’t want a pre-described cruise planned out for you, rent out an Azimut or a Larson for about Rs 15,000 per hour. “We charge as per the fuel consumed, so even if you take it out for a day, if you’ve kept the boat docked for most of the trip, you will be charged accordingly,” explains Valecha.

The age group of people who rent out the boat is usually between 21- 60 years and Club Privada has members from the real estate, banking, industrial sectors… and Bollywood. “Yes, celebrities do rent out our yachts,” he confirms, “But we can’t say who.”
– Rochelle Pinto