Citroen, Studebaker, Lagonda shine at vintage car rally (Roundup)

February 8th, 2009 - 11:51 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 8 (IANS) With a slow yet loud heartbeat of the engine, a melodious gurgle of the carburetor and a careening sway of the wheels complimenting the post-Edwardian restored body - the aged but timeless vintage beauties dazzled the onlookers and passersby on Delhi roads Sunday as part of the 43rd Statesman Vintage and Classic car rally.
Ranging from the 80 HP John Morris 1914 - the oldest in the lot of 136 entries - to improved versions since 1919 like the Citroen, Wolseley, Cadillac, and Dodge to name a few, the evergreen maidens sprinkled the mundane roads of the capital and its neighbourhood with colour, passion and history.

Flagged off by Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta on the chilly but sunlit morning, the 98 cars that managed to hit the roads traversed a route mapped anew since the rally’s inception in 1964 before rolling out to their land of mystery at the sunset.

Beginning from the Statesman House in Connaught Place to Noida Film City followed by a halt at YMCA, Greater Noida, before returning to the Modern School grounds on the Barakhamba Road for the prize distribution ceremony, the machines left a great deal of heads turning with their sustained royal aura.

Sparkling at the ceremony were vintage makes like the 1,452 cc Citroen 1919, the 27 HP Studebaker 1930, the 4,517 cc Lagonda 1936, the 4-cylinder Mercedes Benz 1937 and the Rolls Royce 1937 bagging two trophies under multiple criteria.

Among the classics, it was the Buick 1947, Chrysler Windser 1948, Mercedes Benz 1951, Cadillac 1952 and Ford 1954 that made their presence felt.

While, the Ford 1943 was an eye candy among interesting cars and jeeps category, the Chevrolet 1947, Jaguar 1948 and Dodge King’sway 1957 to name a few shone their way to glory in the post-War cars category.

The trophies were handed over to the winners under the vintage, classic, post-War cars and special categories by Rama Dewan, wife of Vice Admiral D.K. Dewan, chief of personnel, Indian Navy, and the chief guest at the distribution ceremony.

Malika K. Shahani, who drove a 24.6 HP Ford 1932, won the Mrs. Kanti Kathpalia Trophy for the best performance by a lady driver fourth time in a row.

“This is my fourth win in a row since 2006 and I will try to get the whole trophy engraved with our family name over the course of years. The feeling cannot be defined. It’s good, ecstatic and entertaining. I feel great to take forward the family name after growing up watching these cars,” she told IANS.

Dimpy Kapoor, chairman of the Automotive Heritage Trust under which 18 cars participated in the rally, could not hide the gleam in his eyes from showing.

“Collecting vintage and classic cars has been in our (the connoisseurs’) blood. It’s now crossed the limits of just passion. In my case, as of now, we have more than 150 cars under different categories in our trust and I am looking forward to expanding it to as many cars as possible in times to come,” he said.

The rally saw its share of visitors too.

An 8HP Ford 1938, an 1,800 cc Mercedes Benz 1959, a 6-cylinder Chevrolet 1956 and a 28 BHP Desoto 1931 from Kanpur, Moradabad, West Bengal and Bangalore respectively graced the event.

The Desoto, a first time participant at the Delhi rally that was purchased from the Nizam of Hyderabad by C.V. Jayaram, also won the T.C Heritage Trophy for a car entering the rally for the first time after restoration.

While the Chevrolet from West Bengal didn’t stay behind in bagging the HMCI Trophy for the most authentically restored post-War car manufactured in the US.

A 36 BHP Singer Roadster 1939 and 21 cc Hudson Torrplane 1940 also earned their due credits for functional loyalty since the times of yore.

While the former won the highly recommended car by the judges, the latter was given a special award by the judges respectively.

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