At a time when youngsters are taking a fancy to swanky modern cars boasting of roaring horsepowers, the "21 Gun Salute International Vintage Car Rally and Concours Show" that opened here today, drives in the passion for "slow" and "old" automobile greats. The heritage show that was inaugurated today at India Gate here, has over 100 vintage cars on display - from the grand old Benz (1914) to Moon Motor Car's last surviving model Tourer (1922), besides a handful of military vehicles. The seventh edition of the three-day rally saw car enthusiasts from across the city and beyond, flaunting their rare marques. Ranjit Pratap, a vintage car enthusiast who owns a fleet of 50 such cars, is participating in the rally for the first time with three of his cars. "I love cars. I have been on the shopping spree for classic cars for over a decade now. I have a garage and dedicated staff to make sure my vintage cars are kept in pristine condition. "This is the first time I have come to Delhi for a vintage car rally.
I have three vintage cars here which includes Fiat Spider (1962), Ford Mustang (1967) and TD (1953)," Pratap said.
The rally, which will be flagged off on February 19 at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida here, will be judged by a 20-member jury on different categories.
With the event showcasing some the best foreign automobile brands from a bygone era, Adil Jal Darukhanawala, is endorsing the Indian automobile brand 'Hindustan Motors' with his 1960 Ambassador.
"You don't need to have a Rolls Royce to own a vintage car. Here we are celebrating cars. This 1962 car has run good 1,53,000 kms, and this is no normal feat.
"This car has played a significant role in shaping social history of the land, and the world in the last 20-30 years has started taking cognizance of this fact," Darukhanawala said, taking pride in his ownership.
Besides showcasing the vintage vehicles from across the globe, the event also appreciates the challenges of maintaining and restoring the iconic car models.
Gurpreet Singh who owns 14 vintage cars including a 1928 Rolls Royce model of Phantom One that is on display here, said he had "to buy made in Chennai tyres from England because of proprietary rights". "The tyres which were originally made in Chennai, were sent to England for certain proprietary issues and we had to pay a whopping 120 per cent customs duty to buy tyres that were made in our own country," he said. Darukhanawala, on the other hand had to roam across "whole of India to find the tail lights for his car". Another major challenge in fixing vintage cars is the reluctance of young mechanics in India towards learning the "job on older cars". "New mechanics cannot touch these cars as far as the engine is concerned. None of the youngsters want to learn on older cars, they want to do the easy stuff. "They can only remove and replace and for repair and fit there are very few," he added. The event was inaugurated by Vinod Zutshi, Secretary of Ministry of Tourism.