Vintage cars blaze colourful trail from Gurgaon to Neemrana Fort

December 2nd, 2008 - 9:55 am ICT by IANS  

Gurgaon/Neemrana, Dec 2 (IANS) The stretch of the Delhi-Jaipur highway between Gurgaon and Neemrana in Rajasthan looked like the set of a period film as vintage cars and bikes cruised along, each vehicle with its own story to tell.A colourful motorcade of Chevrolets, Mercedes Benz, American World War Jeeps, Studebakers, Austin, a variety of convertibles, Pontiac, Buick, Chrysler, Wolseley, Ford and old Italian and American two-wheelers, including a vintage Harley Davidson - travelled a distance of 100 km from the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Gurgaon to the heritage Neemrana Fort in a vintage car rally Sunday organised jointly by the Heritage Motoring Club of India and the Standard Chartered Bank.

The rally, which was flagged off by Punjabi Sufi singer Rabbi Shergill, flaunted 33 cars and 26 two-wheelers spanning a period of 50 years from the 1920s to the early seventies.

The competitive rally was hosted on the “Time-Speed-Distance Format” where each vintage and classic automobile was given a specific time to cover the distance of 100 km at a specified average depending on the cubic capacity and age of the vehicle.

However, the average speed did not exceed 45 km. It took the cars roughly two and a half hours to cover the distance. Every car had a story to tell.

A flame orange single-door French Pontiac convertible of 1939 make - belonging to former royalty Fateh Singh Akoi - made history in Bhopal when the Begum of Bhopal drove it to the airport while escaping from India for present-day Pakistan during partition.

“The Begum dumped it at the airport and fled,” Fateh Singh told IANS. Since then, the car has changed several hands before it reached Akoi this year.

A 1920 Wolseley model with rumble seats - or mother-in-law couple seat - was one of the oldest cars in the rally along with a 1929 Chevrolet model.

“The car, which has a magneto start, represents the generation of automobiles that were in fashion in England towards the end of the Edwardian era between 1826 and 1920,” H.W. Bhatnagar, former chairman of Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited, told IANS.

An assortment of heritage two-wheelers like Vespa and Lambretta scooters, Ariel motorcycles and a white Harley Davidson also fought for attention, along with the cars.

“Joining a car club gives motorists, vintage car lovers and collectors the chance to mingle with enthusiasts as well as check out new acquisitions. It also allows people to take part in car rallies,” Diljeet Titus, general secretary of the Heritage Motoring Club of India said.

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