Going retro, the king's way

Going retro, the king's way

It is not proven if a passion is passed on from genes. But the passion for vintage machines is surely in the genes in Sudhir Hegde’s family.

 A businessman by profession, Sudhir is also a mechanical engineer who shares a close bond with vintage automobiles. His family of four is incomplete without its other three members — 1956 Dodge Kingsway, 1971 Volkswagen Beetle and the 1946 Matchless
motorcycle.

Sudhir loved vintage cars since he was a teenager. This love was passed on from his father who owned a 1946 Austin.

His love towards these royal beauties turned into a passionate collection only after he “knew how to take proper care of them”. His first vintage car was a 1946 Citroen Traction Avant that he bought 20 years back. “I bought the 1946 Citroen from a French lady. But I had to let go of this car due to health problems,” says

Sudhir. The Citroen was handed over, but the memories of the car still remain in the family. It was a hard goodbye to the 1946 beauty, particulary for his daughter Manali.
“I was seven years old then. I did cry when the car was given away as I had grown up with it and I knew how much that car meant to my dad,” says Manali, daughter of Sudhir, who is now an architect.

It is his daughter’s love that made Sudhir come to a decision, who then thought, “the first opportunity I get, I will buy a vintage car.” It was 10 years back that this decision was put into action when he bought the beastly beauty — 1956 Dodge Kingsway.

Apt to its name, this long car, surely deserves the ‘king’s way’. The next one in line, bought seven years back is the Volkswagen Beetle, known for its chic look. A family car, this is often driven by son Varun and daughter Manali. “We take turns in driving this car. And we have had fights among us  to drive the Beetle,” says Manali. These fights soon became less frequent after Sudhir bought another two-wheeled beauty — 1946 Matchless 350cc motorcycle. A single-seater bike, she is taken out on the roads of Bengaluru by his Varun.

Very well taken care of, these vintage machines are made to look and function as brand new by mechanic LC Khannan.

“He is a mechanic who helped keep my father’s cars in working condition and he has been helping me do the same. He is almost 75 years old now, but he still helps me in maintaining these machines,” says Sudhir. A mechanical engineer himself, Sudhir also does minor repairs of these machines when required. “His bond with these machines are very special. He always makes sure to keep them spotless,” says Sudhir’s wife Krupa Hegde.  

A proud asset of the family, these antique automobiles are taken out during rallies and for vintage displays. Admitting it is an expensive affair, Sudhir says, “The joy of owning these beauties is worth much more than the money spent on it.”     

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