After lying defunct for nearly two decades due to unavailability of its engine parts in Indian market, the Mercedes Benz 170 V Roadster—an irreplaceable vintage car—belonging to Ranchi’s reputed Jaiswal family is all set to hit the roads again.
Owners said they have managed to import the spare parts required to run the engine again from Germany and mechanics have managed to fix the trouble. In a matter of couple of weeks, the vehicle would be ready to drive on the streets.
The wheels are being rearranged and the body is getting a new coat of polish to retain the shine.
Owners are excited and so are the vintage car lovers of Jharkhand. This being the rarest of rare cars and only 11 of them available across the world—two of them in India-- vintage car lovers are more than eager to see and get a drive on it if possible.
Says Arsh Sahu, a vintage car enthusiast; “Old is gold. Riding on a vintage will give the elevated feeling that no other modern car will give you. I am desperately looking forward to see the vehicle moving and hitch a ride on it.”
Manufactured in 1936 by the Mercedes Benz Company, the Jaiswals procured it way back in 1944. “My great grandfather, Laxminarayan Jaiswal had imported it from Germany. It cost him somewhere around Rs. 25,000 that time. It was shipped to a nearest port- I don’t remember which port-and then driven to Ranchi,” said Manoranjan Jaiswal, a fourth generation member of the family.
Originally from Uttar Pradesh, the Jaiswals had migrated to Ranchi more than a century ago and set up their liquor business. Soon their business spread to various parts of the country and they became one of the leading liquor manufacturers in the trade.
Way back in the 1930s and 1940s, the family acquired a fleet of imported cars from the Ford T Series to Mercedes Benz V, S, SB and DS models. However, over the years as the family’s businesses diversified and members started migrating, the vintage and priceless cars were left ignored.
Aditya V Jasiwal, fifth generation scion of the extended family, took up the cudgels to get cars repaired and renovated under the guidance of his grandfather, Sheo Narayan Jaiswal, Ranchi’s first mayor.
“The vintage cars lying in our garage always fascinated me from childhood. As I grew I began trying my hands on them. But due to improper upkeep, they failed to run long. We are now gradually restoring them getting the parts imported, which is indeed a cumbersome and expensive affair,” he said.
About the Mercdes Benz 170 V, he said, the company had produced only 271 pieces of this model. “It was the best seller before and after the World War II. Up to a speed of 50 km per hour, the tyres run tilted. Beyond that speed the tyres automatically get straightened.”
He said with the 170 V model, the developers took a completely new approach to automobile design within comparatively compact dimensions. The chassis was based on an oval-tubular X-frame which was more torsionally rigid and also 80 kilograms lighter than a comparable box-frame.
A common feature of the 170 V bodies was external storage of the spare wheel on the car’s rear panel.