Early this morning I chanced upon an interesting article from Sify News. It caught my attention because of this one obvious reason – the release is all about my passion – vintage car collection.
The saga happened in Pune, India…
Zaheer Vakil, 73, bought his first car out of his pocket money when he was still in school, a 1928 Fiat. It took him 2 years to restore it. On his 18th birthday, when he got his license, he drove it to college.
That’s how the Pune resident’s journey of collecting vintage cars began. Today, he is the proud owner of 20 vintage and classic cars. While he still has the Fiat, among his other prized possessions are a 1947 Chrysler, a Windsor and a 1947 Buick, Super Convertible.
"One has to be born with a passion for cars, only then can you become a collector of vintage cars. Some people get pleasure in collecting paintings and art, but for me it’s cars. I take pleasure in restoring these cars," Vakil said. “He is the only one in his family who is still interested in cars. His daughter used to take part in car rallies but not any more.”
Another interesting tale came from the Poonawalla family, one of the oldest vintage car collectors in Pune. The clan’s collection may not have the oldest Dodge bed rail caps but the repertoire is jaw-dropping and could make many a heart skip a beat.
At present, the family has a fleet of 25 cars. According to Yohan Poonawala, collecting vintage cars is in his blood. At the car rally, he caught everybody’s attention when he rolled in his latest addition, "The Phantom" - a 2005 Rolls Royce worth Rs 35 million.
Poonawalla, a Rolls Royce fanatic, also owns Phantom III. He said that in the pre-independence era, Indian maharajas used to import 25% of the Rolls Royce cars.
In 1950’s, a number of vintage car collectors from various countries around the globe arrived at Pune to buy those priceless collections at much cheaper prices. To safeguard India’s auto industry as well as vintage car collectors, the Indian government banned the exportation and importation of such cars.
"It was a very good move at that time, but now times have changed; we would like to appeal to the commerce ministry to lift the ban on the import of vintage cars. That will not affect the Indian car industry any more and at the same time we can also import vintage cars from abroad," said Poonawalla, who is a member of the Rolls Royce Enthusiast club in Britain.
"Beggars can’t be choosers - finding a good vintage car has become increasingly difficult with time," added Poonawalla.
In the last 15 years, the Poonawalla clan has added 15 cars to its collection. But Poonawala feels that with the increasing population in the territory, driving these expensive cars is no more fun. He is forced to drive his 2006 Lamborghini Gallardo, only in the middle of the night. This is because daytime the traffic is pretty bad.
But no matter what, there’s no stopping them… They know priceless beauties await them.