A bevy of beauties

A bevy of beauties

Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience,’ said American author Mark Z Danielewski. Having an unaltered passion for antique beauties is Ashwath Narayan, an automobile engineer. A collector of vintage and classic cars, Ashwath bought his first car when he was 15 years old. “My first ride was a Morris Minor,” Ashwath says proudly. An automobile consultant then, his career doubled his love for cars, which he says will never perish.

“The love for cars dates back to my childhood. My father had Dodge, Rampage and Plymouth...then. I grew up with these cars and this is the root to my enduring passion,”  he explains. A youthful person, he now owns the 1936 Austin, 1956 Super 10, 1949 Morris Minor and 1964 Morris Traveller. The list does not end there as he has a unique and a popular two wheeler — Rajdoot Runabout. “This bike was not very popular at the time of its manufacture. But it became a household name after Dimple Kapadia and Rishi Kapoor’s movie ‘Bobby’. In the movie, the hero and the heroine elope on this bike. It is after the success of this movie that this bike came to be called as ‘Bobby’ bike and everyone wanted to own this then,” he explains.

Parked with utter care in his garage, the Super 10, a raven beauty with red upholstery, is as good as it was during its time of manufacture. “This car was restored completely by me from scratch. I am its only owner and I have done everything from suspension, gear box, tinkering, painting and upholstery. It was in complete clapped out condition when I bought it,”  he says. The Morris Traveller, an English beauty with wooden framed doors, was directly imported from the UK in its original form. The other convertible car — Austin, is part of a family as his sons Sanjay and Rajeev say, “We have grown up with Austin.”

Sanjay adds saying, “Austin is a very reliable car that has a rich heritage. We have spent our childhood in this and there were times when the car has given up on us, especially during the rallies. But the power of this car is such that people came readily to help push it to start. However, these things are very rare to be experienced now. There is no such camaraderie anymore and there is no human touch to all of it, which I sometimes miss.”

As the phrase goes — like father, like sons — Sanjay and Rajeev both share a connection with the classic machines and Rajeev puts it across as, “We have this passion in our DNAs.” While Rajeev is enthusiastic about these cars, Sanjay has added more to this inherited passion as he has developed an ultra-lightweight road bike Colnago Master, which is the only surviving bike of its sort in India. The passion bug has also smitten Ashwath’s wife Sulochana and Ashwath says, “My wife is very supportive about my passion and she is equally enthusiastic about these cars.”

The rallies are also a time for family outing in these cars. Ashwath, has also driven his Super 10 and Morris Minor till Mysuru to take part in the rallies.

Maintained in first-rate condition, Ashwath says, “I am sometimes scared to take these cars out on the roads as there is a lot of attention pouring in while driving them, which sometimes becomes disturbing.” He comments on the technology of these cars as rough and tough. “It is a costly affair. But once restored and maintained well, they will not give you any problem,” he adds.

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