The old-world charm

The old-world charm

Vintage pride

The old-world charm

A kitchen is supposed to have only utensils and equipment related to cooking. But in DRS Prabhu’s house, every time you open any of the cupboards in the kitchen, you will see spares and accessories for cars leaping out. The dining table has a carburetor placed right in the centre and the living room is a parking lot for vintage cars.

A businessman, Prabhu has a collection of 12 vintage cars and a couple of old bikes as well. He even altered his home to make place for this passion of his. The wall was broken and a huge space was created, for the cars and bikes. “It is indeed unusual for cars to be parked inside the house but they are a part of my family,” he says.
Prabhu doesn’t get bored of talking about each of his car’s and confesses that he was exposed to vintage cars when he was in school. “My father held a deep interest in cars and I grew up watching him work on them. By the time I reached my teens, I knew the mechanics of these cars and learnt how to dismantle and reassemble every single car parked in the garage of our house.” 

Coming to his own collection of cars, he says, “They were in a pretty bad condition when I first bought them. I had to first dismantle the car, mend every broken part, paint it and make it look brand new. I can also identify any problem and fix it without wasting much time.” 

Among the collection is the Ford A, a 1930 model that was previously owned by a European family that lived in Whitefield. “The family sold it to me as scrap. I paid Rs 25,000, which was later given to charity. It took me 11 years to find the spare parts and bring the car to a running condition,” he explains. He spends a lot of time studying the structure of the car and understanding its working condition. “Even if one of the bolts is lost, I know exactly which one and how to replace it,” he adds.      
Then there is the maroon 1946 Chevrolet Fleetmaster, which he bought from Mysuru. “This car was literally abandoned. I happened to visit the house of the previous owners and fell in love with the car and didn’t think twice before buying it.”

He also has a ‘Studebaker Champion’, which is a 1955 model previously owned by Tamil film star MG Ramachandran’s (MGR) brother Chakrapani. “When MGR was shot at during the making of one of his films, he was rushed to the hospital in this car. He has also driven this a couple of times,” he says.

Prabhu also excitedly talks about the 1946 model of Skoda Popular 1100. “This is the only car with an independent suspension, attached with a special lubricant. When you pump three times, the lubricant automatically greases the whole car. You don’t have to worry about it getting stuck or even rusted,” he shares.

The motorcycle parked inside his house is a M20 model (1939 make) which was used during World War II. “I first saw this bike parked under a tree, not very far from where I stayed. It was evident that it hadn’t been used for a long time because the rear wheel had literally sunk into the ground. I asked the owner if he wanted to sell it and after a round of discussion, he readily agreed,” explains Prabhu, who says that the bike is in a perfect working condition.

Prabhu’s family is just as excited about the collection. “My wife Chandrika likes anything vintage and my son Balaji has chosen to specialise in mechanical engineering just to understand the working of these cars. I’ve taken care of the cars very well and would always worry if the coming generation would have as much interest in them. Thankfully, my son has developed a keen interest in them and I am more than proud to hand over my collection to him.”

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