Wonders on four wheels

Wonders on  four wheels

Swirling in a world which is rushing past the warp of a modern life and hardly admires the past gone by, is Anil, an industrialist who has a passion for the old-world charm.

Nestled in his house are two monstrous classic beauties which Anil probably takes care of more than himself! In fact, he takes these  cars out at least twice a week.

Like most young boys, Anil too grew up with a strong liking for automobiles and an urge to possess and drive a vintage beauty around the City. At that time, one of his friends in Madras owned an Austin and Anil got it shipped from there. However, he soon found out that the car wasn’t in a good condition and disposed it off. But his fascination for an Austin remained and he soon began searching for another one. He found a convertible in Pune and decided to own a sleek Austin from England, also called ‘Baby Austin’.

“It was an old piece of junk,” he describes, which he then restored in Bengaluru. “I bought the Austin 1937, which is 78 years old now. The mechanic who restored it was Kannan of LCK Garage. He is older than the car itself and still active! We needed tyres for our Austin and couldn’t find them in India. So we looked for them in every automobile shop abroad but in vain. I finally found a contact in the United Kingdom and called up a shop there for tyres. When I told him that I was calling from India, he laughed and said that they were from India itself. The cost of shipping them was more than the cost of the tyres.”

However, in the process of looking for an Austin, he got another surprise. The lover of convertibles came across a stunning red 1952 Morris Minor, a British convertible and picked it up from Pune.

Apart from religiously participating in rallies and other events which the Vintage Car Club organises, Anil takes his cars out at least twice a week — when he goes for his morning walk to Cubbon Park and practise golf at Bangalore Golf Club. Manoeuvring the serpentine, pot-holed roads in his classic cars isn’t much of a problem as he doesn’t stay very far from Cubbon Park or the golf course. He says, “One has to take the cars out regularly and drive them. It’s not practical to drive classic cars always in this kind of traffic but the cars don’t require much maintenance if one takes them out regularly.”

It is a labour of love and his cars are now like his babies. Initially, he did find it difficult to drive classic cars and constantly shift to a modern-day car but he is used to it now. “There is a sea of difference between ancient and modern technology in vehicles. They can’t be compared because science has advanced. However, there lies a charm in a classic car. It is much more difficult to drive it as the ride entirely depends on the driver. One has to know their car and understand it until it becomes a part of them.”

Anil doesn’t forget to mention that the cars receive their fair share of stares and attention when they roll on the road. “People make way for drivers when they take their classic cars out just like they make way for a grand old lady. People can drive at their own pace, like a king, when they drive a classic car.”

His neighbours also ask him a lot of questions whenever he takes his cars out as
they are always in awe of them and want to listen to stories about them. “Classic cars require space and I park them at home while I park the regular car outside,” he laughs. His passion doesn’t stop here as Anil is looking to add a Ford or Chevrolet convertible to his collection.

(Anil Kabra can be contacted on 9845022311)

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