Sunshine down the streets

Sunshine down the streets

Most vintage cars have a story to tell and an impressive one at that. In a charming house on Cubbon Road lies a canary yellow 1929 Ford Coupe that has an interesting story behind it. This four-cylinder vintage machine of 24 horse power was bought by Jagan Muthanna in 1973.

“My grandmother gifted a similar looking Coupe (in green) to my father and his brother after they graduated. This was in 1929 during the British Rule. My uncle kept the car thanks to his love for history.” Jagan says that his father was “more practical” and used the car during his days as a forest officer. “Those days, the roads weren’t proper and within four years, the car was not in good shape. Also, since he lived in a forest area, he couldn’t get it repaired. So he sold it.”

But the passion that his father had for the car left an impression on him, says Jagan. “I wanted to buy the car back. I used to attend many car rallies and events related to vintage cars in Delhi and Kolkata in the 1960s and 70s. My work then required me to organise many car events and I would keep looking for this particular model,” he says.

Prod him about when he finally found the car and he continues, “It was in 1973 in Secunderabad that I found Major Huffton, an Englishman, driving this car. I followed him, went to his house and asked him if he was interested in selling it. That is when he informed me that he was planning to go back to England and already had an American buyer for it.”

When Jagan found out that the car was heavily priced, he was left disappointed. “But after a couple of months, I saw the same car being driven by the ‘Major Sahab’ once again. He said that he was unable to sell it as he was unable to export thanks to the rules of the government. I asked him if I could buy the car for one-fourth of the price he had quoted and he wasn’t happy. I sent a boy from work also later on to just check if he was interested.” To Jagan’s luck, Major Huffton was about to leave the City in a couple of days and had to sell the car. “He wasn’t pleased about the price but I narrated my sentiments about the car and he understood. He asked me if I would look after the car well and I promised him that I would.”

After the Major bid an emotional goodbye to the car, Jagan proudly brought it home. “My wife Sagarie was shocked when she saw me coming home in it. She was worried about how expensive the car was. But when I explained the story to her, she understood,” he recalls.

   Till date he takes it out at least once a month for a drive on Kanakapura Road.
“There are so many memories attached to the car,” says Jagan, who would even drop his sons Nirad and Adit to school in it. Nirad recollects how “the car was a favourite among schoolmates” and many would request a ride in it. “And now, I take it to the Bangalore Club often,” he notes.

For Jagan, the Coupe is a member of the family. “I have gone for many outdoor activities in it. The car has never failed us on the road. Only sometimes, the battery gives a little trouble. But that is when it hasn’t been used for a few days.

Otherwise it has been an important part of our family.” While talking about the specialities of the car, he says that it has a ‘mother-in-law seat’.

   “So when a couple sits in the car, the mother-in-law can sit on the outside seat and hear the couple’s conversation!”

Though many people have approached Jagan for photoshoots and a number of filmmakers have asked him to rent the car out, he has refused. “The car with its bright colour and vibrancy was meant to be a fun family car. And that’s what I want it to remain as.”

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