Vintage beauties sparkle on Delhi roads

February 8th, 2009 - 6:02 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 8 (IANS) They may not have the state-of-the-art engines but they possess the beauty and the grandeur of the past. A Citroen 1919, Graham Paige 1922, Willys Knight 1928 and Rolls Royce 1937 - all connoisseurs’ delight - purred and wove their way on the capital’s roads Sunday participating in the 43rd Statesman Vintage and Classic car rally.
“The old cars run very well but the traffic in Delhi is a concern for us. Most of these cars have mechanical brakes and so it takes some time for them to come to a halt and considering the traffic here, it might be a bit difficult in times of emergencies,” Appasaheb Alur, a former participant and now a rally judge, told IANS.

“Also, there are chances of the cars getting overheated, which might further add on to the problems. And then, there is always the puncture problem, among others, which just might cause trouble mid-way.”

The aged-but-timeless beauty, an Austin 1928, was a case in point. It had to be pushed for the flag-off.

The race was flagged-off by Naval chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta.

The rally chose a new route this year from the Statesman House in Connaught Place to Noida Film City followed by a halt in Greater Noida before returning to the Modern School ground on Barakhamba Road for the prize distribution ceremony.

Technically, cars manufactured from 1919 till the end of 1939 are called the ‘vintage’ cars while cars made between 1940-1956 fall under the ‘classics’ category.

Those made between 1945-1962 fall under the ‘post-war cars’ bracket.

The rally was opened by the the Nizam of Hyderabad’s fire engine of pre-World War I era, a John Morris 1914, the oldest in the car age-groups.

A total of 98 cars were flagged off here with 56, 9, 26 and 7 cars under the vintage, classic, post-war and special categories respectively. A total of 136 cars participated in the event.

Despite the slow acceleration in these cars vis-a-vis modern times, they have a time limit to abide by during the rally.

“There is a time limit for all the categories and a car has to complete the one-way 43-km journey under the specified time limit to remain in the competition,” said Anirudha Mitra, also a rally judge.

Driving old beauties like Singer 1934, 24.6 HP Ford B 1932, 500 cc Fiat 1937 convertible, 3500 cc Buick 1947 and Dodge Kingsway 1957 hard top - a total of 10 women drivers joined the rally, not counting others of the fair-sex as add-ons present at the event as friends, family and co-passengers.

“This time around there are 10 women drivers in the rally and there is a special trophy for them as well apart from other awards for different categories,” he added.

A few of the cars to make some special notices at the flag-off were the pink-coloured Cadillac 1959 that reminded people of Elvis Presley, cream yellow Buick 1947 that was boarded by Admiral Mehta and family, and a 1942 Ford jeep with the only animal co-passenger - a dog called Roxy.

The car parade also saw the 4517 cc Lagonda 1936 sports toro that has won over 60 trophies over the years and the Cadillac 1952, once owned by Maharaja of Tehriwal.

The car had to its laurels the first position in classic cars in the November 1997 Mumbai rally.

The rally also had its regulars with cars like the Ford 1938 convertible that has been participating for the last 30 years and the Ford 1928 model A that has been participating in the rally since 1976, till date missing the event only once in 2003.

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