Hema Malini’s car steals vintage show-cum-sale (With Images)

February 26th, 2009 - 11:18 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS) Carnivals cram the capital’s winter and spring calendar, but Autojumble was a fair with a difference. It was the country’s lone automobile spares and vintage vehicle display-cum-sale.This year, the second edition of the day-long sale was held at Mehrauli on the outskirts of the capital Feb 22. The talk of the circuit was Bollywood actor Hema Malini’s 1959 Zephyr Sedan (Ford model) which perched like a gleaming butterfly at the entrance to the sale in a picturesque farmhouse.

The sleek lavender automobile with an alpine dashboard, reminiscent of sixties Bollywood, was on sale. The vehicle, said the history card, was given to the actress by a fan from Kolkata. She kept it for many years before selling it to a Delhi-based collector.

Seven vintage and classic automobiles and 14 vintage motorcycles were on offer - including a 1964 Mercedes Benz, an MG of 1949 make, a 1936 Plymouth Convertible, 1932 D.K.W, 1949 De Soto and a 1957 Chevrolet-Bel Air station wagon.

The fair, organized by the Heritage Motoring Club of India, featured 105 counters that hawked almost everything pertaining to vintage automobiles from expertise in the form of restorers, locksmith, key makers, metal mascots, antique carriage horns, lights, upholstery, car paints, engines, carburettors, towing services, vintage driving wheel replicas, World War vehicle fittings and accessories.

The spread also included old music, vinyl records, lifestyle and Bollywood memorabilia associated with vintage cars.

Bollywood, said old-timers at the Autojumble, had always fallen back on classic and vintage vehicles to add to glamour.

The Morris was the favorite escort car, which accompanied Sedans and the Chevrolet Impala Convertible, which were known as the assassination cars. They were used by villains in the 1970s blockbusters, like the Alpha Romeo of James Bond movies.

The Buick was the hero’s car in Bollywood, along with the Mercedes.

“This carnival is the only place which brings experts and spare parts sellers together under one platform to help collectors pick up the best,” general secretary of HMCI Diljeet Titus told IANS.

Pointing to a heap of engines, old automobile badges, headlights and old car horns in one of the kiosks, he said: “Old cars can be restored in three ways - the base level, which is functional, the touring car which is restored to near original for use on road and the show car which is the mint original.”

“The spares on sale in this fair are primarily meant for base level restoration and for the touring car,” Titus said.

Some of the glasses and mascots, which are sometimes more prized than the car itself, bore the elite Lalique labels.

“Lalique, a French manufacturer, made the best car mascots in the world. The head of the Greek goddess Rah, used in the Stutz car, was made by Lalique,” Ranjit Malik, a vintage car collector, told IANS.

A Bugatti mascot of an elephant from the 1930s, on sale, was designed by one of the Bugatti brothers, Rembrandt. “During the 1930s, Bugatti was an exclusive car sold only to the royalty. There are seven vintage Bugatti models from the 1930s left now,” Malik said.

The company, founded in 1909 in France, is now owned by the Volkswagen group.

An array of Greyhound mascots used by the French car company Delage for their vehicles was also on sale. The company was founded in 1905. The gleaming steel mascots of the leaping Greyhound can now be fitted on many vintage cars because Delage has shut shop.

A parachute bike, a portable version of the present-day motorbike with a small engine, was the highlight of the collection.

“Paratroopers who made landfall off the English coast during the war could carry the miniature bikes in their parachutes and ride into enemy lines,” Malik said. These motorcycles were manufactured by the British company Villiers.

On display were World War II thermos flasks carried by the soldiers in their armored jeeps.

“The GIs carried portable stoves in their jeeps,” said Rajesh Gupta, an antique spare parts dealer from Kanpur, showing off a portable stove which could be folded into a box. They were tea-stoves - with a little oil tank and a miniature burner.

Also displayed were dinky replicas of vintage cars from the 1930s and 1940s from England.

“I sourced them from a family of collectors from Kolkata, who have more than 20,000 vintage dinky toys,” Gupta said.

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