'I always dreamt of owning the best cars'

'I always dreamt of owning the best cars'
Personal diaries have always been around. Confidential and distinctive, personal diaries capture some memorable moments, in the life of an individual. However, VP Manohar. a passionate hoarder of machines of all ages, has a list of cars written down in his diary!

It all started when he was a kid. Manohar would write down the names of the cars that he liked and the ones he saw on the roads. Not only did he know the names of the best cars that roared on the streets of old Bangalore, but would also write down the information about the owners of these cars. “I always dreamt of owning the best cars,” says Manohar, currently the managing partner of Southam and Company. He says, “I remember that my father owned just one car. I made sure I washed it regularly.” However, it was in 1967 that Manohar was gifted his first car — the Triumph Herald. He later owned a few more beauties, including a Ford and a Contessa, after which his love shifted to vintage and classic machines.

His first classic car was a 1966 Mercedes Benz, a royal blue queen, which ruled the automobile markets for eleven years. “These cars are called classic for the obvious reasons. They were strong and weighed over two tons,” he explains. The second entrant into his collection was the very stylish 1984 Jaguar XJ6 Sovereign. A rare car with twin fuel tanks, it has the glass headlight cover, which is not to be seen in the present-day models.

“The old models of Jaguar are better built than the newer ones. This car has twin fuel tank with a button that can switch from one tank to the other. The 1984 model is premium when compared to the recent models,” he opines. After the ‘panthera’ beauty came the beastly wagon — 1946 Chevrolet Fleetmaster. A synonym for luxury, it has a fastback styling, comfortable upholstery and white-walled tyres. A roar of the car is enough to know its majesty. “I have the original keys for this car. I have the bill from 1946 with me too,” he quips.
 
A love for these classic beauties has turned his house into a workshop of sorts. “The Benz was in a pretty good condition. But the other two needed complete restoration. I would never leave my cars at the workshop. Instead, I would get the mechanics home and my house was altered into a workshop,” he informs.

   His Mercedes Benz has driven one lakh miles. He says, “The Germans built this machine ahead of technology and hence it has remained intact, without any rust or wear and tear.” While most of the parts of Jaguar were imported from the US, the Chevy’s parts were available in the country. “I even have the original petrol cap for my Chevy,” he says.

A member of Karnataka Vintage and Classic Car Club, he takes out his cars every Sunday and says he likes the attention he gets while driving these old cars. He has been a part of rallies for many years now. Drawing a parallel to the rallies of the old times, he says, “The rallies of the olden times were tougher. Now it is just a 600 to 800 km rally. But I have taken part in 2,000 km rallies and one had to be a strong driver to take part in them.”
 
  It is his passion that has brought him thus far and inspired him to learn a great deal about cars, from assembling to reassembling. He concludes saying, “I want to own a vintage Rolls Royce in future.”

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