Did you know that the Cadillac 1947 62 series was driven by late Bollywood actor Shammi Kapoor? The 7th edition of the vintage car rally, held over a period of three days at India Gate recently, was not only an automobile enthusiast’s paradise, but also opened up a pandora’s box of memories.
While International beauties such as the 1912 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, 1967 Rolls-Royce Phantom V, bedazzled everyone, other saloons and convertibles, from the imperial houses of Rolls Royce, Stutz, Buick, Ford, Chevrolet, Austin Martin and Bentley, the 1922 Moon, 1927 Lanchester and 1933 Cadillac V12 7 Passenger Limousine, in fully restored and in excellent mechanical and cosmetic condition too shone through at the rally.
On the Cadillac 1947 62 series, Nitin G Dossa, President, Vintage and Classic Car Club Of India, said, “It’s been with me for the past forty years. It’s a 2. Convertible and only four of its kind exists in India today. It can go up to 80 miles. It’s been used by several Hollywood and Bollywood celebrities. Events, like these, create awareness and people are now restoring their cars. Many cars that were in junk condition have been restored back in its glory.” Dossa now owns 50 vintage cars.
Not just the vintage beauties, Rajasthan’s Ghoomar, Haryana’s Banchari dance, Bharatnatyam and folk dance performances from Nagaland and Uttrakhand, were also a part of the event and a delight to watch.
From being driven by celebrities to maharajas, the owners and restorers opened a basket full of anecdotes when we spoke to them about their treasured assets. Ramesh Babu from Madurai, sharing an anecdote about his 1914 Benz that has been in his family for over 100 years now, says, “It’s the oldest Mercedes Benz in India and this particular car is one of four cars in the world. This car was in the family when my grandfather hosted a party for Lady and Lord Willingdon in July 1920. He later became the Governor General of India and they attended a function in our family bungalow then. It was used till 1960. In 2013, we put the car out of hiding and did the restoration.”
Founder of the rally, Madan Mohan, whose love for vintage cars blossomed with 1928 Dodge Victory 6, now owns around 300 vintage cars. He said, “The 1922 Moon is precious and important because it is the car of the owner of the Moon Company. Every year, as a tribute to the golden era of the automotive industry, we organise this International Vintage Car Rally and Concours Show. This year, we have received immense support from National and International Tourism Boards and the Ministry of Tourism.”
Gurpreet Singh of Delhi, speaking about the 1928 Rolls Royce Phantom 1, which he procured it in early 90’s, says, “It was Maharaja Sahib of Bhavnagar’s car. It was given by Maharaja to Bhavnagar municipality to be cut up as a fire engine. The car has a rare body structure. During those days, the company, Rolls Royce gave you a car, which was a rolling chassis, and it could be customised.”
The third day saw the rally, flagged off from India Gate, August Kranti Park by chief guest General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff, Indian Army which later culminated at the Buddha International Circuit, Greater Noida where over 100 classic and vintage Cars and 20 bikes rallied on the roads of Delhi.