The grand wheels

The grand wheels

The grand wheels
Cars always fascinated Amarnath, a businessman and proud owner of a fleet of classic cars and two wheelers. He grew up watching his father drive around in the most expensive of cars and as a child, he always dreamt of owning one of his own someday. As the years passed by, Amarnath’s interest in cars grew into a passion.

Walk on the sprawling lawns that lead to Amarnath’s bungalow, tucked away in HBR Layout, and the first thing that catches your attention are a row of cars and bikes — all neatly polished and parked in line. The spick and span vehicles are those that have stood the test of time. “I’ve consciously made space for all these cars and bikes to be parked in my compound. There’s enough room and shade to keep them way from the heat to prevent any damage,” he explains, pointing to an enclosure that he has constructed exclusively for the cars to be parked in.

Among the prized possessions in his stable is a 1963 model of Standard Herald that he bought a while ago. Explaining how he stumbled upon it, Amarnath says, “I was always drawn to two-door cars. They are grand and look like an Indian Ferrari.” He then points towards a 1952 model of a Morris Minor, “It was in a pitiable state when I first saw it two years ago. It had to be brought back to life, so I found the perfect restorer in my friend Sripathy, an expert on just about any car. He helped me restore it and bring it to perfect running condition.”

Walk further on and a 1952 model Hillman Minx catches your attention. “That’s my father’s car,” he explains, “My father always wanted to own a Hillman. He didn’t miss the chance to buy it as soon as the opportunity arose.” He also has two Mercedes standing at the far corner. “These are 1973 (yellow) and 1982 (blue) models of compact Mercedes which you now see only in the movies. They are in perfect  condition and we usually drive around in them only on the weekends,” he says.

If you think his collection ends with cars, you’ll be in for a surprise when he shows you a 1970 model of a Bobby Rajdoot. The Bobby moniker was later added after the bike did a little acting stint in the Raj Kapoor movie of the same name. “I first spotted this bike on Gujli Street in Shivajinagar six years ago. A closer examination and I was overjoyed that I had found the Bobby I had been hunting for a long time. I paid Rs 3,000 and bought it almost immediately,” he says. At a time when people focus on making modifications to bikes and cars, to make them look slimmer and swankier, Amarnath intends to retain all his classic beauties in their original shape. “I don’t want to bring in unnecessary modifications and spoil the originality,” he reasons. He also owns a 1972 model of Suvega as well.      

Amarnath’s older son Varun has taken after his him and spends a lot of time washing the cars and keeping them clean. “I am proud of our collection and some of my friends come home just to see our cars and I occasionally ride the Bobby Rajdoot as well,” says Varun. Amarnath’s wife Rajashri is also supportive of him every time he adds on to his existing fleet.

(R Amarnath can be reached at ramarnath1969