ASAVARI SHARMA & HARITA DAVE
Twenty-two old beauties gave a pleasant surprise to “Amdavadis” as a vintage car drive march passed city roads on Sunday morning, as a part of the World Heritage Week celebration in an initiative taken by a voluntary organisation.
The city woke up to an impressive line-up of 22 vintage models, some of which were 1962 Chevrolet Impala, 1947 Buick-8 Roadmaster, 1947 Armstrong Siddeley Lancaster, 1967 Volkswagen Beetle, 1967 Fiat 1500, 1971 Compact Mercedes w115, 1949 Jaguar Mark V and 1960 Willys CJ3b.
The event was organised by Gujarat Vintage and Classic Car Club (GVCCC) and was flagged off by Deputy Municipal Commissioner Dilip Gor from near Ellisbridge in the morning. The cars powered up from Ellisbridge, surpassing the Walled City and commercial areas like Ashram Road, Mithakali and C G Road before finally stopping at Sports Club, Navrangpura.
Navroz Tarapore, co-founder of GVCCC, who owns a 1937 Buick-8 Road Master – the oldest of all the displayed cars – said, “The purpose of the rally was to motivate individuals to come out with their cars and exchange ideas. Due to the on-going Heritage Week, we also wanted the citizens to know what Ahmedabad still preserves. It was very exciting to see Amdavadis being so curious and enthusiastic.”
Rizwan Memon (36), who works in a grocery shop at Ellisbridge, was fascinated with the vintage cars. “This is the first time I have seen something like that. The colours are more attractive as compared to the new cars. I wish I could drive one,” he said.
Ramesh Soni, a Krishna Nagar resident, stood near Sidi Saiyad Masjid with his son to take photographs of the cars passing by. “We usually don’t have such kind of rallies in the city. So I tagged my son along,” he said. However Soni was a little disappointed to see the turnout of cars. “Witnessing something like this is rare. So I was expecting to see more variety of cars,” he added.
The drive gave a reason to Bharat Rajput, a Shahibuag-based mechanic, to enjoy his cup of tea. “I came out of my garage to have tea and then I saw the cars passing by. I personally feel that look wise, these cars are much better than what we have today,” he said.
Ashwin Panchal waited for a while near Subhash Bridge before he caught the glimpse of the cars. “My brother called and told me about this. So my children and I hurried to the nearest location. I wanted my children to see those cars that they see only in films or photos. Looking at them in real is a whole new experience,” he said.
A pan-wala near Gandhi Ashram, Vinod Pivariya, had a wide smile on his face. “For the first time in my 50 years, I have seen so many vintage cars. Though I had a customer to attend, I came out of my shop to watch the cars. Images of olden times flashed in my mind,” he said.
Jeetubhai Vachheta, a laundryman, was on his way to work when he saw the cars passing by him. “I parked my scooter at the side of the road to see the cars properly. Such opportunities don’t come so often. I am glad I made the most of it,” he said.
Navrangpura-based medical store owner Amrit Purohit stopped his daily routine in-between to take photographs. “How can you work when such cars are passing by in front of your eyes? I think this is a very good way of letting the young generation know the cars of older times,” he said.
Like the city dwellers, the owners-cum-drivers of these vintage cars too were excited.
“It was a marvellous experience driving through the Walled City after 25 years. I could see how people were going crazy when they saw the cars at Ellisbridge. It is and it will always be a matter of pride to own a vintage car,” said Shreyak Pannalal and Shrenik Pannalal, owners of the 1947 Chevrolet Fleetmaster.
A regular user of 1960 Willys CJ3b, Chirag Mehta said, “I drive my vintage car from home to workplace everyday. My father had purchased the car in 1960 and it is still in a good working condition. This jeep was basically made for wars but was also used for civilian purpose. I cannot put into words how proud I am to have two vintage cars in the family.”
Anurag Mehta, younger brother of Chirag, and the owner of Fiat 1100B, which used to be the most common sedan in 1960, said, “Out of 100-150 vintage cars in Ahmedabad, only 1/10th of vintage cars have been used in the rally because some of them are not in working condition. To drive a vintage car runs in our blood. Driving a vintage car gives a different feel. It is definitely an expensive hobby.”
Although the rally was a hit, Tarapore felt they had a bitter experience because of the police’s non-involvement at places. “People were blocking the way by coming in-between the cars. We had no support from the police department and got a late reply for permission to organise a rally. They could have provided PCR vans just to stop people coming in our way,” the organiser said.
Published by The Indian Express, Ahmedabad (Late City edition) on November 25, 2013.