Living up the royal passion

Vintage Lover

As a child when Madan Mohan would see the Maharaja of Khetri leaving his palace in his beautiful Dodge VI, 1925, he never thought that one day he would be the owner of this beauty along with many other vintage cars.

Born in a service class family of Rajasthan’s Khetri Nagar and now settled in Gurgaon, Madan has acquired about 200 cars, jeeps and 88 bikes of bygone era – over the last 11 years.

“I used to live in front of the palace of Maharaja of Khetri, when I was about 10 years old. When I would see the Maharaja leaving the palace in his royal car, I desired to have it as a toy. But really, I never thought that I would actually own the same car one day,” he reminisces.

The sub-conscious fetish for cars that grew in Madan’s childhood continued till he became a professional and it was Maharaja of Khetri’s Dodge VI, 1925 that he acquired as his first vintage car in 2001 after his car rental company started doing well. Madan had come to Delhi in 1996 to pursue his MBA and settled here. After working as a sales executive in an automobile company, he started his own company but the penchant for vintage car was alive. The passion turned into an obsession soon.

“I channelised the profit of my company, into buying the Dodge VI, from the mechanic of the palace. Then for two years I did not buy any cars. Since 2003, I have acquired vintage vehicles almost every year. I loved the way technology in cars has evolved from 1900 till date. I also love the excitement and joy that one gets on seeing these royal beauties,” shares 38-year-old businessman.
The Rolls-Royce Phantom I, 1925, that once belonged to the Maharaja of Darbhanga, West Bengal, is his proudest acquisition of all.

Madan stores the fleet of his vintage cars, bikes and scooters at his farmhouses in Gurgaon and has hired about 80 engineers for the restoration of these vehicles. Madan’s eight-year-old son takes an equal interest in his cars and loves to take care of them.

“I am not worried about who will take care of my collection after me because my son and my bother’s son love them equally. What worries me is the lack of workers who do restoration work. All workers are in their 70s or 80s and the younger generation is not getting attracted towards this profession. After 10 years, many workers may not be there for restoration work,” he says.

“The spares of these vehicles are not available in India. They have to be imported from the US and England. Besides, all vehicles, in the climate control room, have to be started and cleaned every week,” adds the managing director of Deneb & Pollux Group.

He organises a rally of his vintage vehicles every year but very soon the fleet will be available at a museum in the pipeline. “The museum will be in Gurgaon and is likely to open for one and all by 2014. The car lovers won’t have to for the rally to see these vintage beauties,” he laughs.

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