Igniting a childhood passion

Igniting a childhood passion

Igniting a childhood passion
Eshwar Suresh Naidu’s liking for vintage and classic cars goes back to his childhood when he would spend hours staring at an old rickety, rusted and abandoned car.

This car caught his attention whenever he played hockey with his friends and the ball would always hit the car. “I used to play hockey at Defence Colony Grounds in Indiranagar and there was this dusty, old car right behind the goal post. Whenever the ball hit it, I used to go near it, touch it and try to understand the make of the car but I could never make any progress,” explains Eshwar.

One day, determined to know more about the car, Eshwar headed to Gangarams (then on MG Road) and gathered enough information about the vehicle. “I found out that it was a 1935 Plymouth. Little did I know that one day, many years later, I would own it. This was the first vintage car that I bought and restored and the rest is history,” recollects Eshwar.

An aircraft maintenance engineer by profession, Eshwar along with his wife Rohini has managed to put together a rare fleet of vintage and classic cars in their stable. Their grand line-up includes a 1935 model Ford V8 Convertible, 1946 Dodge Fluid Drive, 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible and a 1965 Ambassador Mark 2. 

Every car has an interesting story behind it. The 1935 model Ford V8 Convertible has a functional 8-cylinder engine which was manufactured in Canada. “It was restored by my mentor and friend from Delhi. The 1946 Dodge Fluid Drive was restored in Bengaluru and is one of the few cars which has a functional fluid drive in perfect working condition,” he explains.“The 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible was part of a few Bollywood films and a few movies in the South as well,” he reveals. Eshwar bought the 1965 Ambassador Mark 2 when the couple was out on one of their evening strolls. “My wife and I were out on a Sunday evening when we found this car parked outside on the street. On inquiring, we gathered that it was for sale and we instantly sealed the price and bought it,” explains Eshwar.

The maintenance and restoration of the cars has never been an issue with Eshwar because he adores being around them. “It’s definitely not easy to maintain them but the joy of being involved in restoring, maintaining and driving them around is inexplicable. You must experience it to know what it is like to be associated with these beauties,” he says.

A good network of friends and like-minded vintage and classic car collectors have made the task of procuring the spares an easy process, shares Eshwar. “We have a well-connected circle of collectors who also procure spares and help each other. We import the parts that aren’t available here,” he adds.

Rohini, an artist and an antique doll and toy collector, incidentally shares her husband’s passion for vintage vehicles. Eshwar and Rohini reserve the second Sunday of every month to drive around in their vintage beauties. “These cars have now become a part of our lives.

We take time off to drive around in them over the weekend. It actually allows us to unwind from our busy work schedules,” Rohini pitches in. The couple hope to add on to their collection, if they find the kind of vintage cars that they have been looking for. “It’s nice to get these old cars back on Bengaluru roads,” adds Eshwar.  

Looking back, Eshwar recalls that there was a time when his parents thought that he was crazy when he thought of owning an old car at the age of 16. “But now my parents and family back me to the hilt,” he says.

(Eshwar can be contacted on eshwarnaidu3@gmail.com)

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